Benitez: No surgery for Torres
Rafael Benitez insists Liverpool have no intention of sending Fernando Torres for an operation on his hernia problem.
The Anfield chief has reacted to suggestions Spain would like their star striker to have an operation now rather than risk a further breakdown that could affect his chances of playing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Torres has played two full matches since his return from extensive treatment but along with skipper Steven Gerrard, has not looked at his best.
But the striker is expected to lead the attack again on Boxing Day with Benitez hoping Gerrard and Torres will soon find their true form. And Benitez has again refuted claims Torres will need an operation.
Benitez said: "An operation is not in our minds, I was surprised to hear such suggestions from Spain because we have a good working relationship with their medical team. We will continue to manage Torres' problem and assess him on a game-to-game basis."
Liverpool go into the match at Anfield with just four wins in 17 matches and with Liverpool eight points adrift of a UEFA Champions League qualification spot. Their season is going from bad to worse with Benitez's position constantly questioned but the Spaniard consistently declines to discuss his own future.
Asked if he would resign if things did not improve, Benitez ducked the question by saying: "We must start winning, against Wolves certainly, and then we will see a change."
With Manchester City chief Mark Hughes axed last weekend despite being in sixth place, Benitez said: "I do not like to see any manager fired, it is important to give support to managers and to wait, to give them time. But things are changing in football, especially in England, however it is important that people retain confidence in a manager."
Asked if his own record of seven defeats in the league this season made him fear for his position considering Hughes' lost only twice, Benitez again dodged the question saying: "I am just concentrating on Wolves and preparing the team for the next game."
Benitez could bring in Italian midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who missed last weekend's defeat at Portsmouth with a calf injury. Aquilani, a £20 million summer signing from Roma, has yet to start a Premier League game for Liverpool having battled to recover from an ankle injury.
But even though he is over that problem, Benitez has mystified fans with a stubborn refusal to use the 25-year-old. But with Javier Mascherano suspended, Aquilani could be plunged into the Wolves match.
Benitez said: "Alberto picked up a calf injury in the win against Wigan and was not able to travel to Portsmouth. He is getting better but we will have to see how he progresses, but he is certainly in contention to play against Wolves."