Liverpool woe as Torres out for six weeks

Liverpool's hopes of salvaging their season have suffered a serious setback with key trio Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun all being sidelined.

The club confirmed this afternoon the three players, all injured in last night's humiliating FA Cup loss to Reading, will be out for varying lengths of time up to six weeks.

Star striker Torres is the worst affected, ruled out until the end of February with a torn knee cartilage that will require surgery.

Inspirational captain Gerrard is out for a fortnight with a torn hamstring while Benayoun has fractured a rib and will not play again for around four weeks.

The news is a hefty blow for manager Rafael Benitez, who is under increasing pressure following his side's latest disappointing result.

The Reds' 2-1 loss to the Championship strugglers in an FA Cup third-round replay last night all but ended the club's chances of winning domestic silverware this season.

Liverpool are seventh in the Barclays Premier League and now out of both cups as well as the Champions League.

Having begun the season with high hopes of winning a first title since 1990, it has been a hugely disappointing campaign.

The priority is now securing a place in the top four and there is still the Europa League to play for.

Yet without players they have been regularly criticised for relying too heavily on, Benitez and his team are now facing a major challenge.

All three will miss games against Stoke, Tottenham and Wolves with Gerrard hoping to return to face Bolton on January 30.

If Benayoun is out for three weeks, he will also miss Bolton and possibly the Merseyside derby with Everton on February 6.

Torres will not feature in any of those games or further Premier League matches against Arsenal and Manchester City and the two-legged Europa League clash with Romanian team Unirea Urziceni.

A club spokesman said: "Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres both underwent scans earlier today after coming off in the FA Cup tie against Reading.

"Steven has a hamstring strain and will be out for a fortnight, while Fernando has torn a cartilage in his right knee. The injury will require surgery and he is expected to be sidelined for six weeks.

"Yossi Benayoun also suffered a fractured rib in the game and will be unavailable for between three and four weeks."

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