'Torres could face Arsenal'Roy Hodgson is hopeful Fernando Torres could play some part in Liverpool's Barclays Premier League opener with Arsenal.
The boss admits the Reds will take every precaution to ensure the striker enjoys an injury-free campaign but has not ruled him out of featuring against the Gunners just yet.
"He's only been back a few days and needs to do a lot of work to make sure he recovers from his holiday and the injury he picked up at the World Cup," Hodgson told reporters at Melwood.
"We won't risk him (against Rabotnicki) but we are still hopeful that, come the Arsenal game, it won't be out of the question to use him then - though I do realise the sports science people may tell me it's still too early."
He added: "We believe he wasn't fully fit going into the World Cup and that may have affected his performance and been the cause of the injury he picked up at the end, so we want to be careful this year to make certain that we prepare him - not just for August 15 but for the whole season."
Next up, Liverpool face FK Rabotnicki in the second-leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie on Thursday night.
A young Reds side secured a 2-0 victory in Skopje to put them firmly in control but Hodgson revealed that he is likely to field a more experienced line-up at Anfield.
"We are stronger on paper than in the first game because players I couldn't consider for that game have now played at least 45 minutes against Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday.
"That gives me a chance to throw them into the game. One or two are just back from holiday, so we won't risk them, but we will have a stronger squad on paper than the one we took to Skopje.
"So yes, if they are senior players and they have been training with us for the past week or so - and the medical people are confident it won't prejudice their future, then we will use them."
Asked about speculation linking Liverpool with a variety of names over the past few days, Hodgson said: "There are lots of players being linked with us, but that's part of being manager of a big club. Agents of big players are anxious to get their names linked with Liverpool.
"I take most of it with a pinch of salt. We try to do our business properly with the targets we have and say as little as possible until the time is right."
I'd be really happy to see him play on August 15, but I think that the most important thing is his health. I rather he won't play the first game but come back fit as a fiddle. They ran him too hard in the WC and it annoys me. ):
Roy Hodgson today hailed Fernando Torres's commitment to Liverpool Football Club.
Roy hails Nando commitment
The No.9 revealed his desire to play his part in restoring the Reds to the summit of English football in an interview with Liverpoolfc.tv. on Monday, leaving the boss to express his delight at the news.
"I have to say that ever since I took the job, that in my discussions with Christian Purslow, he told me he was always confident that Fernando would stay," the boss told his pre-match press conference at Melwood.
"He told me there's nothing to worry about, that there is a lot of speculation but that he'll play for Liverpool next season - so we don't need to worry.
"But it's nice that the speculation can finally end and even better that Fernando gave an interview yesterday in which he spoke about how committed he is and how keen he is to have a good season with the club."
Major squee. Nando looks great here.
Pfff, I'm so sore down there. I know Nando missed me, but he wore me down last night. Oh well, it was worth it. (;