Roy stands by Torres decision

Published Dec. 16, 2010 9:11 a.m. ET

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson offered an apology for not playing Fernando Torres in the goalless Europa League draw at home to Utrecht.

On Wednesday Hodgson had pledged to play his one fit star name but admitted he had been persuaded to see "the error of his ways" by the club's medical staff.

The Spain international sat on the bench for the entire game and watched his team-mates labour against the Dutch visitors in their final Group K game, which was a dead rubber as Liverpool had already secured top spot.

"With discussions with the conditioning people in particular they persuade me to see the error of my ways even though I had this vision of Fernando going out there and having a great 45 minutes and maybe scoring a goal and giving him a lift," he said.

"He was quite looking forward to playing but when I got back to the club in the afternoon (after his press conference) and started to talk about it again it seemed to me the potential disadvantages far outweighed the potential advantages."

Liverpool gave away free tickets to youngsters for the game but Hodgson denied he had tried to increase interest by raising the prospect of Torres' involvement.

"There was no question of needing a name to sell the game. I did honestly think it was a good thing," he said.


"I didn't mean to mislead you. The physical conditioning people said to me that in any game there is a risk of injury.

"We want to do a good training session tomorrow and if he had played 45 minutes he would have been doing a warm-down instead of a major session.

"If he had had a wonder 45 minutes and scored a couple of goals it would have been really worthwhile but if he had played 45 minutes with the way they were playing the ball across the back it would have been a complete waste of time for everyone.

"I am glad I was persuaded to change my mind on the subject."

On the match itself Hodgson admitted there was very little to say.

"I think we are all a bit disappointed by the game, it wasn't for want of trying," he added.

"The problem is we lacked the technical quality in the final third.

"We got the ball into areas where we should have been capable of doing something and we didn't produce the pass.

"I was hoping, with so many people in tonight - and some for the first time - we would produce a sparkling performance but unfortunately we couldn't."

Utrecht boss Ton du Chatinier felt his side did themselves justice but was disappointed to lose leading goalscorer Ricky van Wolfswinkel to a suspected broken collarbone.

"It was said this was Liverpool B players but we still see them as part of the top league," he said.

"We set out to play a good game and come away with out any injuries but Ricky van Wolfswinkel has gone to hospital and it is a possibility they may have to operate on him here.

"He could be out for six, seven or eight weeks."