Lucas buoyed by Torres return

Midfielder expects Spaniard to inspire Reds

Lucas: Inspired by Torres

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Liverpool midfielder Lucas recognises that Fernando Torres' return to fitness is a 'massive boost'.

The striker made his first appearance for several weeks when he came on as a substitute in Sunday's goalless draw against Manchester City.

He had been sidelined with a knee problem picked up in the FA Cup defeat to Reading, the latest of several injuries to blight his progress this season.

It has been a frustrating campaign for Liverpool as well as Torres but Lucas believes the Spaniard can inspire his team-mates to a strong finish.

"Having Fernando on the pitch is not only a massive boost for us but it is also a great advantage against the opposition," Lucas told the club's official website.

"Fernando is our main goalscorer and defenders know they can't give any chances away to him because he will take them.

Confidence

"He gives us confidence because he scores a lot of goals and wins us games.

"Unfortunately he has been injured, but we hope he will be fit between now and the end of the season and help us finish in the top four."

Yossi Benayoun also returned to action at the weekend and, with Glen Johnson nearing full fitness as well, Lucas is looking forward to the next couple of months.

He said: "We know how important they are for us. Yossi creates a lot of chances for us. He has great skill and ability and we are happy to have them back.

"We will also have Glen back in the next couple of weeks which is another great boost for us.

"When we have our full squad available again I think we will be even stronger and that will be important between now and the end of the season."

European challenge

Liverpool's immediate focus is Thursday's Europa League clash with Unirea Urziceni in Romania.

The Reds have a slender 1-0 advantage from the first leg at Anfield and Lucas is confident of finishing the job.

"We have the advantage and we didn't concede an away goal, which is so important in Europe," he said.

"We know it will be difficult as I thought they were well organised at Anfield, but they know they have to score and the game will be open. We hope to take advantage and score goals to take us through to the next stage.

"They have to attack us because if they don't we will qualify and be in the last 16 of the Europa League. Hopefully we will have more space to attack them and finish the game off."