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Torres ready to tackle United

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1 Torres ready to tackle United on Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:12 pm

Fernando Torres is confident he will be fit to tackle Manchester United despite requiring a pain-killing injection to get on the field against Real Madrid.

Liverpool's star striker had not played since he limped out of the first leg of the UEFA Champions League clash at Santiago Bernabeu with an ankle problem.

The former Atletico Madrid ace was so eager to face Real he badgered manager Rafa Benitez into gambling on his fitness and took to the field with the help of heavy strapping on his ankle and the jab.

Torres' persistence paid dividends as he produced an inspired display, opening the scoring and causing Real's defence problems all night as Liverpool romped to a 5-0 aggregate success against the nine-time European champions.

Next on the agenda for Benitez's troops is Saturday's showdown against Premier League leaders Manchester United at Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports 1 and HD1, and Spain international Torres expects to start again.

"The pain was not important. I have three days until the game with Manchester United and I think I will be fit," he said.

Intensity

"The Champions League victory was a big night for Liverpool and we showed Madrid why Liverpool try to win everything.

"After the first goal it was very difficult for them to score two and the penalty sealed the game.

"The plan was to play with intensity and a high tempo. Iker Casillas is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and every game I have played against him he has been brilliant.

"But I think we played well, we prepared for the game better than them and the goals were brilliant.

"We showed that from the first minute. And Stevie (Gerrard) makes me more happy when he is playing, and he had a fantastic game.

"We have confidence now for the Champions League and a massive game against Manchester United at the weekend.

"I hope to win that too. We know it is important to win there because if we do not Manchester United will strengthen the advantage they have over us."

Passion

Benitez revealed he had reservations about including Torres against Real, but was delighted with the striker's performance.

He said: "Fernando had only light training for three days but he desperately wanted to play.

"He caused so many problems for their defenders, they could not handle him or his passion. But there was great commitment from all of my players.

"Fernando did his best to convince me to let him play. We talked a lot about it beforehand and he kept telling me he was 100 per cent.

"But he still needed an injection in the ankle and it was heavily strapped up. Playing against Real, particularly with his past at Atletico Madrid, was so important for him. The strapping was very strong, but we felt it was right to take the gamble."

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