Liverpool boss keeps faith in striker

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is backing striker Fernando Torres to end his European goal drought and fire his side into the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

The Spain international drew another blank in the 1-0 defeat in Lille on Thursday night, although that was partly due to the brilliance of goalkeeper Mickael Landreau.

He produced a superb low save from Torres' six-yard header just before half-time which meant Eden Hazard's 85th-minute free-kick was enough to secure victory.

Benitez said: "The main thing is the attitude. Any player in our team has attitude and they are good players and they can play well like Fernando. He is a top-class player, he has a good attitude and he can score and be a problem for all defenders."

Torres' record in European competition is nowhere close to matching his domestic form, as in 30 appearances in the Champions and Europa League he has scored just 10 times.

He has not found the net in Europe since the 3-1 Champions League quarter-final defeat by Chelsea at Anfield on April 8.

However, Benitez was pleased with Torres' performance in Lille and believes could well prove to be the key figure as they attempt to overturn a one-goal deficit when the French club visit Anfield next Thursday.

"At home normally you are attacking more and have more options and opportunities so for a striker it is easier.

"Statistically you have more chances. Away it is more difficult because sometimes you have to play on your own and your team-mates have to go and support you so it is different.

"He was doing well in Lille but it was difficult for him because they have pace, are comfortable in possession and going forward are a threat - so we had to defend.

"You cannot defend against a team with this pace too high because they will get men behind but you cannot defend too deep because they have ability. So for our defenders to defend and then go and support Fernando was not easy."

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