Torres could return next week

Fernando Torres could return to action as early as next week, according to the specialist treating the Liverpool striker’s latest knee injury.

Torres was ruled out for a month with an injury to the same knee earlier in the season and there had been speculation this latest problem could rule him out of the remainder of the campaign and even the World Cup.

Torres, whose absence was keenly felt by the Reds in their goalless stalemate with Fulham on Sunday, has travelled to Barcelona for treatment from Dr Ramon Cugat, who supervised the player’s recovery from recent hamstring problems.

"The problem is not serious but he needs to stop and rest to avoid more risk because it’s the same knee on which he had surgery in January," Dr Cugat was quoted as saying in the Liverpool Echo.

"But in normal circumstances, he could be ready to play next week, depending on how it settles down.

"The decision is now up to Liverpool’s medical staff and the manager."

Liverpool face West Ham next Monday with the club in need of a positive result to keep alive their pursuit of a fourth-placed finish in the Barclays Premier League.

Whether Reds boss Rafael Benitez wants to risk Torres for that match remains to be seen, with Liverpool set to face Atletico Madrid – Torres’ former club – in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie three days later.