Rafa leaves fitness call to Torres
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez will let Fernando Torres decide if the star striker is fit to face his old club, Atletico Madrid, in Tuesday'sUEFA Champions League clash at Anfield.
Torres has not played since scoring two goals against Manchester City on 5 October because of a hamstring injury which ruled him out of Liverpool's 1-1 draw away to Atletico in Madrid last month.
Were Benitez's compatriot to play, it would be the first time the Spain international had faced Atletico since leaving them for Liverpool in July 2007.
"We were watching Torres today (Monday) in training and he was doing really well," Benitez told reporters. "We have to talk to him and at the end of the day it will be his decision. If he is fit and has confidence then he can be involved. If he's not then we will wait and won't take a risk."
Dirk Kuyt, who has scored six times this season, believes there is no need to rush Torres back following Liverpool's recent form.
"I think Fernando is one of the best players in our team. He has showed his ability already by scoring a lot of goals," said the Dutch international. "It will be really important when he is back, but the most important thing is that he is fit and ready."
Liverpool, who have three games remaining in their group, can qualify for the last 16 of European football's leading club competition on Tuesday if they defeat Atletico and other results go in their favour.
However, the five-times champions of Europe, were defeated for the first time this season last Saturday after conceding a late goal away to Tottenham, bottom of the English Premier League.
That defeat cost Liverpool their place at the top of the table, Chelsea overtaking Benitez's side on goal difference. But Benitez believes his team's chances of winning the domestic title for the first time in the Premier League era will increase if they can become the first English club to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League.
"It would be fantastic if we could go through early. It will allow us to concentrate on other things."
Liverpool have seven points from the opening three group games yet they face Atletico on the back of their first competitive defeat since April.
The Merseyside club's title credentials were called into question after they lost 2-1 at Tottenham.
Benitez admitted he was still trying to work out how his side failed to secure at least a draw. But the Spaniard believes there is no cause for panic in the wake of the defeat. "I couldn't understand how we lost at Tottenham. But I don't think we need to worry about this. We just need to show the character and the quality we have been doing all season."
Kuyt added: "It's a long season, but we're still level on points at the top of the Premier League table and we're still level on points at the top of our group in the Champions League."