Rafael Benitez has defended Liverpool's use of a controversial Serbian clinic to get four of his top players fit for a crucial week that will shape the troubled Anfield club's season.
Glen Johnson, Fabio Aurelio, Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera have all visited the Belgrade clinic run by physiotherapist Mariana Kovacevic, having previous been ruled out for up to a month with calf and hamstring injuries and are no in-line to face Manchester City on Saturday. The unusual treatment involves massage with placenta.
Benitez said: "We knew of other players at Premier League clubs who have been to Belgrade for treatment with this lady, and we were made aware that it was very effective. (Manchester City full-back Pablo) Zabaleta told Riera about it."
He added: "She has been working for seven years with top-class sportsmen, not just footballers. So she has the experience.
"We felt it was a good opportunity to send some of our players. We sent two, Benayoun and Riera and they came back and started training straight away. So we decided to send two more, Johnson and Aurelio, and the same thing has happened. They have been training and all four will be in the squad against City.
"Arsenal's Robin van Persie went earlier, but now there are several more top players who are going to have treatment in the same way.
"City have sent two, (Vincent) Kompany and Zabaleta beforehand, and they were playing within days.
"There have been no injections, it is a placenta cream applied with a (massage) machine that creates waves of pressure."
"Many top players have been going there for seven years, it has been successful and I believe it is safe.
"It means we have players available and training that we expected to be out for several weeks. Can we guarantee that they are fully fit? We will see, but they have trained with the rest of the team for three days and they are OK."
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