Torres fit for derby and Kuyt fears ease

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The Independent Football

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres is fit to face Everton in Sunday's Merseyside derby but Dutch international Dirk Kuyt has been ruled out for a month, their manager, Roy Hodgson, said yesterday.

Torres, who has struggled for form in a dismal start to the season for Liverpool that has left them in the bottom three of the Premier League, injured his thigh in the league defeat by Blackpool on 3 October, but will return to the starting line-up along with left-back Paul Konchesky.

"Konchesky has made a good recovery, as has Fernando Torres, so, all being well, we can welcome those two back," Hodgson said. "We get two good ones back, but lose a good one in Kuyt."

The Dutch forward injured his ankle when he landed awkwardly in the Netherlands' 4-1 victory over Sweden on Tuesday. "The initial rumours coming out of Holland were that it was going to be a really long injury, maybe months," Hodgson added. "But our doctor and our sports science people are much more optimistic. They think it is more likely to be one month – or if we are lucky three weeks."

Kuyt has a record for quick recovery, having returned at least a week early from a shoulder injury also sustained on international duty to play against Sunderland last month." He does recover very quickly and the thing about Dirk is that he is always anxious to get back on the football field," said Hodgson. "If it can done in three weeks it will be three. If it can be two he'll do it in two – but we are looking at a lay-off. It's disappointing because it is the second time he has gone away with the national team and come back and missed weeks for us."

Hodgson could also welcome back Fabio Aurelio, who has not played since 26 August, after his recovery from an Achilles tendon problem, but Daniel Agger remains a doubt after sustaining a back injury playing for Denmark.

"Aurelio has made a good recovery and could be considered at the weekend," said Hodgson. "He's been out for so long it would be unlikely I would use him, but medically speaking he is physically fit to be selected.

"Agger missed two weeks with the injury he picked up after Sunderland but recovered in order to go and play for Denmark, where he got injured again. I don't know what the state of play is with him yet."