LIVERPOOL // The injury problems continue to mount up for the Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez after striker Fernando Torres limped out of Sunday's goalless draw at Aston Villa. With the Reds' captain Steven Gerrard already missing following a groin operation, the last thing Benintez would have wanted to see is Torres suffer a hamstring problem which forced him out of the game after only 30 minutes.
He pulled up suddenly clutching his right leg and immediately signalled he was unable to play any further part in the game. The Spanish international was due to have a scan last night to determine the extent of the injury and how long he is going to be ruled out for. He had been scheduled to play for Spain in World Cup qualifiers before Liverpool return to action against Manchester United and then, in the Champions League, against Marseille.
Benitez said: "We will have to see what the scan shows. When you lose Steven Gerard and then Torres, it is always a problem. "We will have to see the extent of the injury. If it is like Gerrard's, it could be 10 to 15 days and he may only miss one game. "We will just keep our fingers crossed that it is nothing too serious." Benitez admitted that the game with Villa could have gone either way as Liverpool surrendered their 100 per cent league record for the campaign, although they still share top spot with Chelsea, trailing their London rivals on goal difference.
He said: "It was a top game. We could have won, but we also could have lost. One point is good for both teams." The Villa manager Martin O'Neill was pleased to register his side's first clean sheet of the season after conceding five goals in the previous two league games with Manchester City and Stoke. He said: "We would usually be more free flowing than that. We normally create more chances than that.
"We have kept a clean sheet which is something pretty unusual for us. "I felt beforehand that if we did that, we would win the game because even the very best sides will struggle to keep us at bay for 90 minutes." John Carew missed Villa's best chance as he had a shot saved by Pepe Reina, and O'Neill added: "We have produced one glorious piece of football from which we should have scored. But Liverpool are a class side.
"We limited them to very few chances and we think we can improve even more. We want to try and get better." O'Neill praised the performance of Gareth Barry who came close to moving to Liverpool this summer during a long and protracted period of negotiation. He said: "Gareth did very well. He has had a lot to cope with during the last few weeks. "It didn't bother him at all and I'm delighted to have him for the foreseeable future." * PA Sport