Rafa: Torres injuries cause of title tilt wilt

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has identified the injury problems suffered by Fernando Torres as the main reason the club's title challenge has wilted.

The Spanish striker will be missing again when Liverpool face Sunderland on Tuesday when they hope to close the seven-point gap to Premier League leaders Manchester United.

An ankle injury picked up in the Champions League victory at Real Madrid last week is the latest knock for Torres who has managed just 15 league matches for Liverpool this season.

"The worst thing has been the injuries to Torres," Benitez told the BBC on Monday. "He is our striker. He scored a lot of goals for us last season and this season could have been totally different with him.

"(His ankle) is improving but it's still too early for him," added Benitez, who is hopeful that the Spaniard will return for the Champions League second leg against Real next week.

Liverpool have managed only 10 points from their last seven league games and have watched champions United pull away at the top on the back of 10 consecutive victories.

"We must keep going in the title race, to try to win each game as it comes along," Benitez said. "There are still lots of points to play for."

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