Liverpool woes continue with latest Torres news

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A bad weekend for Liverpool was compounded after their worst fears were realised when striker Fernando Torres was ruled out of the rest of the season.

The Spain international underwent an operation on torn cartilage in his right knee, a similar operation to that which sidelined him for five weeks in January.

"Fernando saw a specialist in Spain and it was decided he would need surgery on a torn cartilage in his right knee," said a club spokesman.

"The usual rehabilitation period for this type of procedure is around six weeks."

The news will be a crushing blow for Torres, who was desperate to play against former club Atletico Madrid in this week's Europa League semi-final after injury forced him to miss their previous meeting in the Champions League last season.

Having fallen further behind in the race for fourth place after Tottenham's victory over Chelsea and then dropped to seventh spot following Aston Villa's victory over Portsmouth, Torres' operation capped a miserable couple of days for manager Rafael Benitez and his squad.

However, with Barclays Premier League strugglers West Ham due at Anfield on Monday night Benitez has to lift his players for their penultimate home game.

Even four successive wins from now until the end of the season looks increasingly unlikely to help the Spaniard deliver the "guarantee" of fourth place he made back in December.

"We have had too many injuries this year - not just Fernando, we've had seven, nine, 11 players at the same time. It has not been easy," said Benitez.

"It is something you have to analyse carefully and try to do the right things for next year. My responsibility now is to prepare for the game against West Ham."

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