Rafael Benitez is not expected to risk starting with Fernando Torres for Liverpool's Europa League second-leg tie against Unirea in Bucharest on Thursday, despite the striker having come through 15 minutes at Manchester City without problems and Liverpool needing goals from somewhere.
Torres is likely to be on the bench, despite the fact that Liverpool, 1-0 up from the home leg, have mustered a mere nine goals in 10 games this year. David Ngog will play up front, having recovered from the twisted ankle his manager said he sustained before the goalless draw at Eastlands,
The unexpected decision to play Torres on Sunday was a response to the intensity of his training on Saturday. "Our idea early on [Saturday] morning was 'no chance' but he was tackling, challenging, going to the floor," Benitez said. But the Spaniard is loath to commit either Torres or Yossi Benayoun, who also returned from the bench at City after a five-week lay-off, to too much football. "Fernando will need to improve his match fitness and Yossi will be the same," Benitez said.
Benayoun, who might have won a penalty had he gone down under a challenge from Vincent Kompany in the later stages of Sunday's game, underlined the need for more creativity. "We need to create more and do more up front," he said. "Hopefully the defence will keep playing well. We have got the best defence in the league. Now we need to create more and then the goals will come."
Javier Mascherano will not face a violent conduct charge for his challenge on Gareth Barry in which his studs appeared to rake the England midfielder's leg in the second half on Sunday. The referee, Peter Walton, saw the incident and took what he considered to be appropriate action at the time. Mascherano had already been booked when the incident occurred.