Rafa Benitez is prepared to gamble on Fernando Torres today as he tries to get Liverpool's season back on track against Arsenal.
Benitez is ready to throw Torres straight into the firing line despite the £25million striker not having played since tearing an abductor muscle on duty for Spain three weeks ago.
Torres, Liverpool's top scorer this season with seven goals, missed Liverpool's midweek Champions League trip but has been involved in full training since the rest of the squad returned from Istanbul.
Benitez faces one of the most difficult team selections in his three years at the club with Jermaine Pennant joining Daniel Agger on the injured list while Torres and Xabi Alonso (metatarsal) are short of match-sharpness although they may be medically fit to play. The Liverpool manager is likely to turn to Yossi Benayoun to replace Pennant on the right-hand side to avoid another conflict with Steven Gerrard, who is happiest playing in the centre.
Benitez insisted yesterday that Gerrard has volunteered to play anywhere for the good of the team but the manager is unlikely to test him yet with Pennant out for the rest of the year with a stress fracture to his right tibia.
The Liverpool manager said: "Gerrard is playing in the middle at the moment. But we have had a conversation and if I need to do something, I will do it, no problem. He is OK.
"Before the Everton game last weekend, we spoke about possible situations and he was saying he could do different things. He was disappointed to be taken off but he came back strongly against Besiktas and was our best player."
Benitez is also worried about the number of games 34-yearold Sami Hyypia has had to play recently. The Finnish centre-half has scored own goals in his last two games but the manager is short of options at the back with 19-year-old rookie Jack Hobbs his other alternative to partner Jamie Carragher.
Peter Crouch could be given a rare part to play after scoring a hat-trick against Arsenal in the Premier League last season.
utusanLFC : I want to see those arms of Torres spread again like that tonight. I want to see him score against those kids.