Fernando Torres could make a surprise comeback for Liverpool FC as they take on a Beşiktaş JK team keen to prove their Group A win in Istanbul was no fluke.
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Fernando Torres could make a surprise comeback for Liverpool FC as they attempt to climb off the bottom of Group A by claiming a UEFA Champions League victory against Beşiktaş JK at Anfield on Tuesday.
Back to fitness
The Spain striker has resumed training after overcoming a thigh strain he suffered when he returned to the team after another injury in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal FC on 28 October. "He could be in the squad," said manager Rafael Benítez. "We are checking how fit he is and he could be OK." Liverpool have just one point and their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage took a huge blow when they lost 2-1 at Beşiktaş a fortnight ago.
Benítez continued: "We go into every match thinking about winning but we made a big mistake for the first goal [in Istanbul] and that made a difference. [Now] we play at Anfield and we are favourites because we want to win, we have confidence and we think we have enough quality to win." The Spaniard shrugged off suggestions that the loss of revenue would be catastrophic if Liverpool failed to reach the last 16, saying: "You must think about football first. We want to progress. We were in two finals in the last three years ... clearly the problem is not the money. It is just to score goals and win."
Although they are unbeaten on the domestic front, six draws from eleven matches in the Premier League have left Liverpool six points off the pace set by Arsenal and they were held 0-0 at Blackburn Rovers FC on Saturday. Centre-forward Peter Crouch performed well as a substitute and he may start on Tuesday, with Torres possibly a substitute. Midfielder Xabi Alonso and defender Daniel Agger are definitely out with foot injuries, as is winger Jermaine Pennant who needs leg surgery.
Beşiktaş were beaten 2-1 at Istanbul rivals Fenerbahçe SK on Saturday, leaving them fourth in the Turkish Süper Lig, four points behind leaders Galatasaray AS. The defeat of Liverpool at the Inönü Stadium gave the Black Eagles their first points of this European campaign and coach Ertuğrul Sağlam is in positive mood for the return. "This is one of the most important games in the group and it may have an effect on who is going to qualify. To get ourselves into a better position for the last two matches, we need to leave here with a good result," said Sağlam.
Visiting midfielder Rodrigo Tello is still out with an ankle injury, while defender Gökhan Zan has a muscle tear in his foot and could be sidelined for a month. Márcio Nobre and İbrahim Akın are also missing but Sağlam promised to be bold, despite the absentees. "We are playing against a team full of stars but we showed two weeks ago how to win against Liverpool and we are hoping to repeat that. You can't come here and just defend for 90 minutes – we know that. As well as defending, we will also be playing our attacking game," he said.