Football - Liverpool FC: FERNANDO TORRES is convinced he will be ready for the World Cup – as his agent sought to allay fears the striker will quit Liverpool after the tournament.
Torres admits he has endured a “very difficult season” after missing significant periods through injury as the Anfield outfit were left without silverware and failed to qualify for the Champions League.
The striker is currently working hard to regain fitness after his domestic campaign was prematurely ended by a second knee operation in four months in April.
And Torres is optimistic of being fit for Spain’s opening match in South Africa against Switzerland on June 16.
“I’m very well, happy with the progress of the injury,” he said. “Since January I’ve had two operations, and that isn’t easy.
“After the second the objective was to be ready between six and seven weeks, and I’m at the start of the sixth.
“I will do a few more days of specific work and, God willing, I’ll be 100% for the first game of the World Cup for sure.”
Despite his injury-hampered campaign, Torres netted 22 goals in 32 appearances but was forced to sit out the closing weeks as Liverpool slumped to their lowest Premier League finish in 11 years and slipped out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage against former club Atletico Madrid.
“It’s been a very difficult season,” he said. “When you start a campaign you hope you will be able to fulfil your dreams, winning titles, not having injuries, enjoying yourself, and it has been just the opposite.
“But there is always a tomorrow in football and this summer, the World Cup.
“I’ve put aside the club, the bad season, and I want to finish in the best way possible by making history with my county.”
The uncertainty at Anfield has led to speculation linking Torres with an imminent departure, with Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City all considering £50million-plus bids for the 26-year-old.
Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton has promised supporters the striker will not be sold to serve the club’s debt while Pepe Reina revealed earlier this week Torres remains committed to Anfield.
That belief was yesterday reinforced by the players’ agent, Jose Antonio Peton, although his statement fell short of giving a cast-iron assurance of his future plans.
“For the moment I can assure fans that Fernando will continue at Liverpool next season,” said Antonio Peton.
“Everything is down to Liverpool’s attitude but for the time being Fernando is happy at the club and has a good contract.
“Liverpool have not spoken to us about his future, so he is just concentrating on playing at the World Cup.”
One player definitely leaving Anfield this summer is Fabio Aurelio, with the injury-prone Brazilian unable to agree a new contract.
Liverpool had offered a new pay-as-you-play deal but the player was seeking the security of a more permanent arrangement.
Aurelio missed the start of this season after sustaining a freak knee problem and a thigh injury in February prematurely ended his season.
“Fabio has given us absolutely fantastic service,” said Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez. “The one problem we had with Fabio was that he suffered too many injuries and it was such a pity because he has great quality.”
Aurelio, who was signed on a free transfer from Valencia in 2006, made 110 appearances and scored three goals.