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FERNANDO Torres and Martin Skrtel have handed Liverpool a major double boost by declaring themselves fit to start tomorrow’s FA Cup clash with Preston.
The star duo have missed large chunks of the season so far through injury but are now ready to return, and Reds boss Rafa Benitez will see how they fare in today’s final training session before deciding whether or not to pitch them in from the start at Deepdale.
Skrtel was given a brief 11 minute run-out in the closing stages of Liverpool’s 5-1 rout of Newcastle last Sunday and has taken a full part in training this week after recovering from a knee ligament injury sustained at Manchester City at the start of October.
In the three months the Slovakian has been missing, Sami Hyypia and Daniel Agger have taken it in turns to operate alongside Jamie Carragher.
But with Carragher currently playing at right back due to the absence of Alvaro Arbeloa because of a hamstring injury, the Liverpool manager will be delighted to have his central defensive options boosted by Skrtel’s return.
The 24-year-old has been a massive hit at Anfield since moving to Liverpool from Zenit St Petersburg in a £6.5m transfer a year ago.
Torres has not featured since Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Marseille in the Champions League at the end of November.
Persistent hamstring problems have meant the Spanish striker has only been able to play in half of the Reds fixtures so far this season, and having had to do without the services of last season’s top scorer on so many occasions Benitez will be keen to see Torres back in action.
The Reds boss must now decide whether to give his fit again stars immediate recalls to Liverpool’s starting eleven or to ease them back into action more gradually.
Having adopted a safety first approach with Torres in a bid to ensure he comes back injury free, Benitez will not be willing to risk Liverpool’s record signing unless he is 100% convinced that his latest hamstring injury has totally cleared up.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are set to conclude their first business of this year’s transfer window by snapping up Icelandic starlet Victor Palsson.
The midfielder, 18 yesterday, will celebrate his coming of age by completing a move to Anfield from Danish club AFG Arhus for a fee in the region of £300,000.
Palsson has made 10 appearances for Iceland’s under-17 and 18 national sides.
Source: Liverpool Echo
Edit: Can't seem to get the LJ Cut or tags to work today....lol