x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Torres injuries cost Rafa dear

Rafael Benitez is convinced that the Premier League title race would be a lot closer were it not for injuries to Fernando Torres.

Rafael Benitez is convinced that the Premier League title race would be a lot closer were it not for injuries to Fernando Torres. Liverpool were seven points behind the leaders Manchester United, having played a game more, before last night's home game against Sunderland. "The worst thing has been the injuries to Torres," said Benitez. "He has been our main striker and scored a lot of goals for us last season.

"And this season could have been totally different with him." Torres has been sidelined with hamstring and ankle problems and has played just 15 league games this season, scoring eight goals. After the 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough on Saturday, Benitez declared that he will mount his own inquest into Liverpool's likely title failure. Liverpool have won only one of their last seven league games. When asked on Monday at a gloomy media conference if he will look at individual players, the tactics and himself, the answer was clear: "At everybody."

Meanwhile, the Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell thinks that clubs should have points deducted if their fans are guilty of racist or obscene chanting. Campbell has been the target of abuse from Tottenham fans, who he angered by joining bitter rivals Arsenal in 2004. He believes it is time the authorities take control. "I think that they are going to have to do more," Campbell told The Guardian. "My situation is a small part. But also, you have the racial abuse in the rest of Europe.

"The only way you can stop it from happening is by taking points from clubs. Then it would definitely stop." * PA Sport