Gerrard and Torres could start, says Benitez

September 14, 2008

MARSEILLE, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres could start Liverpool's Champions League opener at Marseille on Tuesday, manager Rafael Benitez said on Monday.

Captain Gerrard played the last 22 minutes in Saturday's 2-1 win over Manchester United on his return from a groin injury while Spanish striker Torres remained on the bench after suffering a hamstring injury last month.

"Both players are in good form and could play a part in the game and even start it," Benitez told reporters on the eve of Liverpool's Group D opener.

"The manager did the sensible thing with me (against United)," Gerrard told Liverpool's official website.

"It was hard to sit and watch from the bench, but I'd only had on full training session.

"My heart was saying I was desperate to play, but there are another 40-50 games hopefully this season.

"I wasn't ready to start. I'd been training on my own for the last 10 days. The most I could have played was 20-25 minutes.

"I'll have a few more sessions under my belt before Tuesday's game in Marseille and will be in better shape, but it'll be the manager's decision."

Benitez said a decision would be also made about Javier Mascherano after a final fitness test on Tuesday. The Argentine midfielder pulled up with a sore calf in Saturday's game.

Liverpool won 4-0 at Marseille in the group stage last year but Marseille coach Eric Gerets said his team would not endure the same setback this time.

"We start against the great favourites in our group but Liverpool will not surprise us the way they did last year," Gerets told reporters.

"We suffered from their physical impact in midfield but it will not happen again. We will not repeat the same mistakes."