Benitez: Torres must take it easy

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is handling Fernando Torres' comeback from injury carefully as he intends to get the best out of his star striker over the coming months.

The Spain international was left on the bench for Wednesday night's 2-1 victory over Wigan, although his 64th appearance, off the bench, proved to be timely as he scored the crucial second goal 14 minutes later.

Torres scrambled home his 61st Liverpool goal on his 100th appearance for the club after David Ngog had put his side ahead with a glancing 10th-minute header.

Charles N'Zogbia's injury-time consolation caused some concern but the Reds held on for only their fourth win in 16 matches and just their second at Anfield since September 26.

"I wanted to keep him back because he was really tired after the last game (Sunday's defeat to Arsenal)," said the manager.

"I told him I wanted to protect him and it would be good for me to play him at the end and he was good too. I think he will be ready for Portsmouth."

Benitez admitted victory was the most important thing on an emotional night when the club marked the 50th anniversary of legendary boss Bill Shankly's first game in charge with a host of former stars were paraded at half-time.

"It was very important to win, to get three points, with a lot of positives," said Benitez.

"It does not matter if we couldn't score more goals and be more relaxed in the second half but, at the end of the day, three points is key.

"We needed to get these three points and be ready for the next game. We are thinking about one game at a time so now Portsmouth (on Saturday) is the target."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez's side have now won only two of their last 10 matches and are just two points clear of the relegation zone, having conceded the most goals in the Premier League with 17 in their last four away games.

Martinez said: "I have mixed feelings. The first goal is really soft for our standards, it was a lapse in concentration. When you come to places like Anfield if you do that you are going to make things very difficult for yourself."

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Fernando Torres

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