Fernando Torres believes Steven Gerrard is one of a select group of players capable of dominating the World Cup. The Liverpool midfielder is currently struggling with a calf problem, raising fears over his involvement for England in South Africa.
The Three Lions will be desperate to have the influential midfielder available, as his experience and determination could be crucial. His Anfield team-mate Torres feels England should be praying Gerrard pulls through, as he is integral to any hope they have of securing global glory.
He rates the Liverpool skipper among the world's best and believes he could single-handedly lead Fabio Capello's men to glory.


Javier Mascherano claims Argentina will fear nobody at this summer's World Cup despite their recent troubles. Diego Maradona's side scraped through qualifying, with their passage to South Africa far from convincing.
They are, however, always a dangerous proposition and will be given the utmost respect by their rivals. Mascherano feels Argentina are deserving of a standing among the World Cup favourites and insists they are in confident mood heading into the tournament.



Fernando Torres is hoping to be fully fit for Spain's World Cup opener against Switzerland next month.
The Liverpool striker underwent surgery in April after suffering torn cartilage in his right knee and was subsequently ruled out of the end of the Premier League season, leaving him in doubt for the finals in South Africa this summer.
But the 26-year-old, who also underwent a knee operation in January, insists his recovery is on track and is optimistic about his chances of playing in Spain's opening match on 16th June.


Liverpool's Maxi Rodriguez scored twice as Argentina continued their preparations for the World Cup with a 5-0 victory over Canada.
Diego Maradona named a strong starting XI, with only Lionel Messi missing from the team that is expected to take to the field in Argentina's World Cup opener.
Messi was rested after a long season with Barcelona but his absence was not felt as Argentina swept aside their limited opponents.


England picked up a victory in their last game on home soil before the World Cup with a 3-1 triumph over Mexico at Wembley.
Fabio Capello continued his excellent record as Three Lions boss but despite goals from Ledley King, Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson, the Italian will want an improved overall performance against Japan in Austria on Sunday.



Michael Owen has admitted that it feels strange that he will not be involved in England's World Cup campaign this summer. The Manchester United striker, who announced himself to the world with a wonderful goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup in France, will not be a part of this summer's tournament after a hamstring injury in March ruled him out.
The 30-year-old, once a mainstay of the England squad before injuries blighted his career, has not been selected by manager Fabio Capello to play for England since the game against France in 2008, with many speculating his international career may be over. Owen appears not to have given up hope, and has stated that he still felt very much a part of the international set-up.



England striker Peter Crouch believes he has done everything he can to make sure he is on the plane to South Africa. Boss Fabio Capello is set to trim down his preliminary 30-man World Cup squad to 23 by 1st June.
Crouch, currently involved in the England training camp in Austria, is one of five strikers in the squad, which some believe may be trimmed down to four for the finals. The Tottenham striker feels he has done everything possible for club and country this term to justify his selection in the final party.
This includes scoring the decisive goal which secured UEFA Champions League qualification for Spurs, while on the international stage the beanpole striker took his goal tally to 20 in just 37 internationals with his double against Egypt at Wembley in England's last international in March.



Netherlands winger Ryan Babel left training on Friday with an apparent injury to his right hamstring.
There was no immediate word on the severity of the Liverpool forward's injury, which was reported by Dutch media attending the training session in Austria.
Babel missed the 2008 European Championship after tearing ankle ligaments on the eve of that tournament.



Chelsea are considering making a move for Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun, with the Israeli international touted as a possible replacement for the out of contract Joe Cole. Cole is apparently no nearer to resolving his contract dispute with owner Roman Abramovich, and the feelers are already out to find a suitable replacement, though Benayoun could even be recruited if Cole stays. There are ample suitors for Cole, but he would like to stay at Stamford Bridge if he can come to an agreement over new terms.
However, a list of possible replacements has been put to manager Carlo Ancelotti and the Israeli is highly thought of by the Italian coach, who has now a much clearer picture of the players in the Premier League after his first season in charge of the club. He is also clearer about what is needed to improve the team that won the Double, but fell short in the Champions League.



Fernando Torres will be the subject of a world record bid from Chelsea within days. The total package of transfer fee and salary will make Torres a staggering £130 million investment. And Soccernet has been informed that owner Roman Abramovich is personally taking control of the project to bring the Liverpool striker to Chelsea.
Torres has been linked with Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid for a some time but the Blues will be first to make a concrete offer. Abramovich is ready to release the cash following a Premier League and FA Cup double this season, but he is also acutely aware he could cut an alternative deal with Liverpool in need of new players.



Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque has named injured trio Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta in his initial 30-man World Cup squad, while uncapped Barcelona forward Pedro is also included.
Del Bosque has selected five goalkeepers in the list, with uncapped duo Victor Valdes of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid youngster David De Gea likely to be battling out with Villarreal's Diego Lopez to see who will be joining Iker Casillas and Jose Reina in the final squad.
Provisional Squad:
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), David De Gea (Atletico Madrid), Diego Lopez (Villarreal), Jose Reina (Liverpool) Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid) Cesar Azpilicueta (Osasuna), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Carlos Marchena (Valencia), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergi Busquets (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao) Marcos Senna (Villarreal), David Silva (Valencia), Xavi (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Juan Manuel Mata (Valencia) Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Dani Guiza (Fenerbache) Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Fernando Torres (Liverpool FC) and David Villa (Valencia). 


Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina offered no excuses after reflecting on a "hell of a year" at the club. A seventh-place finish was the Reds' worst performance in the Barclays Premier League since 1999, compounding early exits from the Champions League and FA Cup earlier in the campaign.
Reina was one of few to come out of the campaign with credit and that was recognised with him being overwhelmingly voted the club's player of the season. But he said that could not lessen the disappointment of a dismal campaign which saw Liverpool suffer 11 league defeats, eight of which came away from home.


Jamie Carragher and Joe Cole have been included in Fabio Capello's provisional 30-man squad for this summer's World Cup in South Africa. It will be reduced to 23 players by June 1.
Liverpool stalwart Carragher, who announced his retirement in 2007, returns to provide cover in defence with Gary Neville overlooked entirely. Chelsea midfielder Cole has been plagued by injury for large parts of this season but his goal against Manchester United helped convince Capello he is worth another look.
Provisional Squad:
David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham United), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), John Terry (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Matthew Upson (West Ham United), Michael Dawson (Tottenham Hotspur), Leighton Baines (Everton), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), James Milner (Aston Villa), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham Hotspur), Scott Parker (West Ham United), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Peter Crouch (Tottenham Hotspur), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Darren Bent (Sunderland), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur).



Rafa Benitez last night insisted he does want to lead Liverpool into a new season. The fact it will start little more than two weeks after the World Cup ends shows exactly what a pig's ear they have made of the current one. A week or so ago, Benitez' six-year reign on Merseyside looked certain to be over, with Juventus knocking on his door, a nightmare campaign drawing to an end, the club up for sale and the futures of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard in doubt.
Plenty of those doubts remain, after their worst campaign in a decade ended with a tame seventh spot, no Champions League place and Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea and Co sure to test the loyalty of Anfield's big names in the coming months. But as far as Kop boss Benitez is concerned, he has no doubts about his own future any more.



Spain national team coach Vicente del Bosque announced that he has finalised his list of 30 players for this summer's World Cup and has nearly decided on his final 23-man roster. Del Bosque revealed that much of the team will be holdovers from the Euro 2008 championship squad.
There are other youngsters that could yet receive opportunities, such as Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David De Gea. Barcelona goalkeeper, Victor Valdes, also received Del Bosque's praise. Del Bosque has already publicly declared that Iker Casillas is Spain's undisputed number one keeper while Pepe Reina is his backup.
Spain has three players over the 30-year-old mark in Joan Capdevila, Marcos Senna, and Carles Puyol and the Spanish coach highlighted the need to look for players to begin to fill those positions in the future. Some of the favourites mentioned in the press recently are Athletic Bilbao's Javi Martinez, Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Dominguez, and Espanyol's Victor Ruiz.


Australia midfielder Harry Kewell's hopes of arriving match-fit for next month's World Cup have dimmed after he suffered a relapse with his long-troubling groin injury, local media reported on Saturday.
Kewell, who played a few minutes for Galatasaray last week in his first competitive match since December, would miss the Turkish club's last two matches after re-injuring his groin, assistant coach Johan Neeskens was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Kewell, who returned to Australia for groin surgery earlier this year, is likely to be named on Tuesday in coach Pim Verbeek's 30-man preliminary squad for the finals, regardless of his fitness.
The former Leeds United and Liverpool player has only two weeks to recover before Australia's friendly against New Zealand in Melbourne on May 24, and will have just two other friendlies against Denmark and the United States to prove his match fitness.



Carlo Ancelotti insists Chelsea have no reason to move for Fernando Torres this summer as they have enough attacking options at the club.


Last week, Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton rejected suggestions Torres could leave Anfield when he said there is "no intention" and "absolutely no reason" to sell the player, but reports have persisted that Chelsea and Manchester City are set to make a bid.


Yet while Roberto Mancini confirmed City are still looking to sign Torres despite missing out on the Champions League, Ancelotti has said he has no reason to try to sign the Spain striker this summer.



Jamie Carragher is considering coming out of international retirement for the World Cup, while Ledley King is now almost certain of a place in next week's 30-man England squad. Carragher, 32, decided to retire from international duty to concentrate on Liverpool in 2007 when it was clear John Terry and Rio Ferdinand would be the long-term central pairing in England's defence. However, Fabio Capello has now asked Carragher to reconsider his decision and the player has indicated that he would consider coming out of international retirement for the tournament in South Africa.