Football

Benitez shrugs off defensive worries

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Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is convinced that his defensive injury problems will clear up before next weekend's opening league game of the season at Spurs.

Jamie Carragher and Fernando Torres picked up ankle problems in the Reds' 2-1 friendly defeat to Atletico Madrid, and will be carefully monitored this week ahead of Sunday's trip to north London. Benitez, who has lost Sami Hyypia and Alvaro Arbeloa this summer, also has injury problems over defenders Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and Fabio Aurelio with which to contend.

"We will keep an eye on him (Carragher) for two or three days to see how he reacts, but I feel he will be OK. Hopefully, Agger or Skrtel will be fit too," said Benitez.

"Jamie's injury is not serious, just a twisted ankle. But with our injury problems which include Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel, we felt we needed to take him off as a precaution, just in case."

And the Anfield chief insists that he knew full well that new signing Alberto Aquilani would miss the opening weeks of the campaign, and is equally certain he will become an instant hero with the fans.

Aquilani, who was able to convince Liverpool after a stringent medical, that his ankle injury is not a long-term worry, will miss the first four to eight weeks of the campaign.

Benitez said: "When we were talking (to Roma) about Aquilani we knew he was recovering from an operation and would not be able to play for the first weeks of the season.

"But we can wait for him. We have enough midfield and offensive players to cope, and when he does start to play everyone will see what a clever player he is.

"Aquilani has great quality.

"We had to think about players who could make a difference for us. He is a very good player on the ball, and hopefully he can produce the sort of passes that we missed last season. Certainly at home against packed defences when we could only draw important matches."

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Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Sami Hyypia
Football
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Daniel Agger
Fabio Aurelio
Jamie Carragher
Alvaro Arbeloa
Martin Skrtel
Liverpool

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