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Torres plans to stay at Anfield

Fernando Torres "will continue at Liverpool" next season, according to his agent. There has been much speculation that the Spanish striker would leave Anfield this summer, although the club has always been confident he would remain, but his departure now seems less likely.

Torres has in recent weeks expressed the need for the Merseysiders to match his own ambitions by bringing in quality signings, but he has never voiced unhappiness about being at Liverpool. His agent, Jose Antonio, has now offered assurances about the player's commitment.

"For the moment I can assure fans that Fernando will continue at Liverpool next season," Antonio said. "Everything is down to Liverpool's attitude but for the time being Fernando is happy at the club and has a good contract. Liverpool have not spoken to us about his future, so he is just concentrating on playing at the World Cup."

Torres has endured another season hampered by injury as first he struggled with a hernia before a knee problem resulted in two operations, the second prematurely ending his domestic campaign last month. But the 26-year-old still underlined his importance to Liverpool with 22 goals in 32 appearances, including scoring 18 in 22 Premier League games.

It was not enough to prevent the club slumping to their worst league finish – seventh – for 11 years. But, having been out of action for nearly six weeks, Torres is trying to salvage something from his year with success at the World Cup. "I've put aside the club, the bad season, and I want to finish in the best way possible by making history with my country," he said.

With the future of Torres seemingly no longer a worry for Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager can concentrate on other summer targets.

Having already set up a pre-contract agreement with Standard Liège's Serbia forward Milan Jovanovic, Benitez must find a new left-back after Fabio Aurelio's widely expected departure was confirmed. "Fabio's contract is nearly finished and he is going to leave us," Benitez said.