Hodgson mulls over Torres dilemma

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Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has some big calls to make in terms of his team selection for Sunday's Barclays Premier League opener at home to Arsenal.

The likes of striker Fernando Torres, Spain counterpart Jose Reina and Holland pair Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel have yet to feature in any games as a result of their late return to training because of the World Cup final. The temptation will be to play Torres but even his own medical staff have told the Liverpool manager it is not the most sensible course of action.

"Do we take the risk of putting him in early or do we keep him back to go through a more strenuous pre-season programme?" mused Hodgson.

"Fernando has made a remarkable effort to get himself fit and ready for Premier League football and he has a chance but that has been played down by the sports science people who said in an ideal world he would have a longer preparation period.

"They are rightly concerned if he plays too early he could have a recurrence of a knee problem which could keep him out for longer.

"Of course the player's feelings also have to be taken into account so it is quite a delicate mixture.

"A large part of the work he has been doing has been outside of work with the team in the ball work we have been doing and has been much more geared to physical preparation and less to football and team preparation and that is the major consideration."

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Ryan Babel
Jose Reina
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Dirk Kuyt

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