Torres advised to take a three-week break

Liverpool striker told by Spanish consultant that rest will help avoid hernia surgery
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The Independent Football

Fernando Torres has returned from his flying visit to a medical clinic in Valencia to tell his manager, Rafael Benitez, that he still wants to avoid surgery for the hernia injury which restricted his movement in Liverpool's agonising Champions League draw at Lyons in midweek.

The 25-year-old is expected to undertake light training today, though reports in the Spanish press yesterday suggested that he has been advised by the specialist he saw in Valencia on Thursday, Dr Ramon Cugat, to take a three-week break – which would could rule him out of the home match against Manchester City and the derby with Everton at Goodison as well as the Champions League game against Debrecen in Hungary.

Reports in Spain suggest Torres had been advised in Liverpool to undergo surgery, hence his eagerness to seek a second opinion in Spain. The Spanish press has also concluded that he will miss Spain's friendlies against Argentina next Saturday and Austria four days later.

Benitez, who hopes to have Torres fit to play a role against Birmingham City on Monday, said the striker now wanted to work with Liverpool's physios on the injury. "He wants to wait rather than have an operation," Benitez said yesterday. "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 during the game [against Lyons] because of the pain."

Liverpool are also reserving judgement on whether Steven Gerrard should undergo surgery for a strain of his own to an adductor muscle which is causing him persistent pain. "We will [first] see how much they [both] can improve and by how much," Benitez said. It also remains unclear whether Gerrard will be fit to face Birmingham, a side who have managed only eight league goals all season. Only one team in England – Darlington, in League Two – have scored fewer.

Daniel Agger, who made his debut against Birmingham in February 2006, has admitted his side must show more application in seeing games through to the final whistle, following Lisandro Lopez's 90th-minute equaliser in Lyons.

"We might have controlled the game [in Lyons] but it's no consolation," said Agger, who is still recovering from a back injury. "You've got to keep working hard until the last minute."

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