Liverpool still uncertain over Torres injury

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Liverpool striker Fernando Torres will return to the club's Melwood training ground on Thursday where his injured right knee will continue to be assessed.

Specialist Dr Ramon Cugat has said rest should allow Torres to feature next week, meaning Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez and his medical staff will have to decide whether their star striker will be fit enough to face West Ham on Monday.

Torres is desperate to face former club Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final in the Spanish capital on Thursday and so he - and Benitez - may consider the Hammers game too much of a risk.

The Spain international travelled to Barcelona at the weekend to see Dr Cugat, the surgeon who in January performed the operation on the torn meniscus which kept him out for a month.

Spain are certainly keeping a keen eye on developments with the World Cup less than two months away.

"Until the rest period imposed by the doctor has passed, we will not know the extent of the injury," said the Spanish Football Federation's sporting director Fernando Hierro. "I talk to Torres every day and he is optimistic. I am too. Hopefully the problem is due to a knock, because it reduces the risk."

The future of Benitez himself has come to the fore again with Juventus, who made him their number one managerial target to take over from caretaker boss Alberto Zaccheroni three months ago, reportedly giving the Spaniard 10 days to express an interest in moving to Turin.

Benitez distanced himself from the Italian club at the time and despite disappointing Barclays Premier League and Champions League campaigns, winning the Europa League remains a possibility.

Despite the new speculation, Benitez's agent Manuel Garcia Quilon has denied meeting with officials from the Italian club.

"I haven't met with Juventus, I was here in Madrid," Quilon told "I reaffirm that Benitez has a four-year deal with Liverpool so he remains there. But in the coming months I don't know what will happen."

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Fernando Torres

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