Benitez ponders Torres and Gerrard surgery

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez will not rush to decide whether Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard should have operations.

Torres yesterday underwent tests at a Liverpool hospital on the serious groin injury which is threatening to ruin his season, and according to reports this morning has flown home to Spain to seek further advice.

Benitez fears Torres will eventually need surgery, however Liverpool are loathe to go down that route until every other avenue has been explored.

If Torres has an operation he could be out until after Christmas, and any further problems could even affect his participation in the World Cup finals for Spain.

A Liverpool spokesman said: "Fernando attended a Liverpool hospital for further tests.

"It is nothing more dramatic than that, it is just further tests as part of his rehabilitation programme."

Torres played 87 minutes of Wednesday's Champions League match in Lyon and Benitez will wait to see how that affects the striker before formulating his plans for Monday's Barclays Premier League match against Birmingham.

Benitez said: "Fernando played with pain and after the game he still had the same problems that have troubled him for a few weeks.

"He wants to wait, rather than have an operation. He wants to work with the physios to try to solve his problems, but still he has pain.

"He told me he needed to keep stopping because of the pain. Whether there is the need for him or Steven Gerrard to have an operation is a decision we will not take straight away.

"We must see how he can improve, and by how much. Then we will decide about any possible operation."

Liverpool may have Martin Skrtel back for Monday's match, following a virus, however Glen Johnson and Fabio Aurelio will miss out with calf problems, while Albert Riera (hamstring) and Martin Kelly (ankle) remain sidelined.

Major doubts remain over whether Gerrard will have overcome his groin injury.

Benitez was at least happy to witness a vastly-improved performance from his team in the Stade Gerland, with Ryan Babel's stunning strike cancelled out by Lisandro's late equaliser.

Benitez said: "We should have Martin Skrtel back for Monday at least. And we have some days now to work with the rest of the injured players.

"It is too early to say who else may be fit, the physios have a lot of work to do."

Speaking about the match in France, Benitez added: "Everyone could see that the team was working very hard.

"You can make mistakes, you can play better or worse, but if the team works hard we will win games.

"The injured players are on their way back and that will at last give me team selection issues and a different sort of problem.

"I am happy with the performance of the players and that gives me great confidence.

"The team deserved to win, they could not do any more. Our fans in Lyon were also happy with the performance, if not the result."

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