Benitez: Torres not fit for Spain

LIVERPOOL - Liverpool striker Fernando Torres is not fit to play in Spain's friendly against Argentina next weekend even though he could feature for his club on Monday, manager Rafa Benitez has said.

Torres, who has been troubled by a groin injury for the past month, travelled to Spain following Liverpool's 1-1 Champions League draw with Olympique Lyon in midweek to see a specialist to ascertain if he needs surgery.

Although Benitez is refusing to rule Torres out of Liverpool's match with Birmingham City, he has informed the Spanish national side he does not believe the 25-year-old is fit enough to face Argentina in Madrid on November 14.

"No, I don't think so," Benitez told reporters on Saturday when asked whether Torres would play for Spain.

"Yesterday I was talking with the Spanish clinical director and fitness coach and they know that Fernando needs to work hard with the physios and improve his fitness condition."

Yet with Liverpool's season in turmoil, Benitez said he may once again have to turn to Torres, who has been playing through the pain barrier, when Birmingham visit Anfield.

"Torres has gone to Spain to see a specialist," added Benitez. "We know that he was a little bit better than before. There are still some problems and he will be working with the physios.

"We'll have to make a decision whether he can play against Birmingham."

The five-times European champions are in danger of being eliminated from the group stages of the Champions League while they start the weekend nine points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea after losing five of their first 11 games.