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This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool will monitor Yossi Benayoun’s fitness over the weekend in the hope he will be able to make an immediate return to action against Portsmouth.
The Israeli midfielder missed Thursday night's Europa League defeat in Lille after he picked up a knock to his ankle during the 1-0 reverse at Wigan three days earlier.
It had been hoped Benayoun would make the trip to France but a fitness test at Melwood before the Reds flew out for the first leg of their round of 16 tie ruled him out.
He has since undergone intensive treatment and is responding well but boss Rafa Benitez will leave the decision on whether Benayoun features on Monday as late as possible.
Benayoun enjoyed a terrific start to the campaign but since damaging his hamstring in a 2-2 draw with Birmingham City in November his form has ebbed and flowed.
Benitez, though, will be anxious to get him back in his starting line-up as Benayoun had been linking well with Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres before this latest setback.
Maxi Rodriguez will also return to Liverpool's squad after ineligibility ruled him out of the Lille game to give Benitez more options, as the club aim to get back into the top four.
If that is going to happen, much will depend on the form of Torres and Gerrard, who only had brief sightings of goal against Lille.
Torres, however, showed signs that he is not far from hitting top gear - his link play with Ryan Babel was excellent - and Benitez took great encouragement from his efforts.
It has been a difficult campaign for Torres, with injuries ruling him out for large chunks, but his manager is confident the Spaniard can end the campaign with a bang.
"There are signs Torres is coming back," said Benitez. "He was working hard today and maybe his pace is coming back. There were still a lot of positives.
"The main thing for me was the team, but there were some individuals that were playing at the level that is expected of them."
The club continue to be in talks with Javier Mascherano over the possibility of him extending his stay on Merseyside.
A deal was offered to Mascherano last week that would tie him to Liverpool until 2014 and one of his advisors returned on the official flight back from Lille on Thursday night for further discussions.
Benitez stressed last week that he is "confident" Mascherano will follow Pepe Reina's example and commit his future to the Reds.
Meanwhile, youngster Stephen Darby has joined League One side Swindon Town on loan for the rest of the season.
This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the views or position of Liverpool Football Club.
Author: The Liverpool Echo Tagged:
, yossi benayoun
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