Benitez remains hopeful over Torres hernia scare

<strong>LYON</strong> vs <strong>LIVERPOOL</strong><br /><br />LIVERPOOL boss Rafael Benitez is hopeful Fernando Torres will be able to avoid having a hernia operation.<br /><br />The Spanish striker has been playing though the pain barrier in recent weeks with some reports suggesting he may need surgery to correct the problem.<br /><br />But Benitez is expected to pick the hitman for tonight&rsquo;s crunch Champions League clash with Lyon, explaining: &ldquo;We know Fernando has a problem, and we have to manage it. He is improving, and he is in less pain each time he plays and trains.<br /><br />&ldquo;Hopefully if we can continue doing well with him, he will not need an operation &ndash; that is our idea. Yesterday he was better still and hopefully tomorrow he will be even better.&rdquo;<br /><br />Defeat at Lyon tonight would see Liverpool&rsquo;s woeful run stretch to seven defeats in eight matches &ndash; a 50-year low &ndash; but would also put the club on the verge of an early Champions League exit at a cost of around &pound;15m.<br /><br />But under-fire Benitez has still defended his reign, simply saying: &ldquo;I am very pleased to be here and I wish to be here for a long time.&rdquo;