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Liverpool warn Man City off bumper Torres bid

Spain striker Fernando Torres is happy at Liverpool, according to his manager Rafael Benitez.
Spain striker Fernando Torres is happy at Liverpool, according to his manager Rafael Benitez.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester City express an interest in signing Liverpool striker Fernando Torres
  • City manager Roberto Mancini says many teams in Europe would like Torres
  • Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez insists Torres is happy at Liverpool
  • Torres is currently sidelined with a knee injury

(CNN) -- Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez insists Fernando Torres is happy at the English Premier League club after Manchester City were linked with a multi-million dollar bid for the Spain striker.

Torres has scored 18 goals in 22 league games for Liverpool this season but will miss the rest of the campaign after having surgery on a knee injury, meaning the 26-year-old faces a race to be fit for Spain's opening game in the World Cup against Switzerland on June 16.

City spent over $100 million in the transfer market before the start of this season and are currently battling for fourth spot in the league, which would guarantee a lucrative Champions League place.

Liverpool, meanwhile, sit in seventh place and look set to miss out on qualification for the money-spinning tournament. It has led to speculation that Torres could be top of City's wanted list once the season ends.

City's Italian manager Roberto Mancini told reporters: "We are a top team and I think all the top teams are interested in Torres but sometimes it depends on the player because they want to play in the Champions League.

Fernando is a fantastic striker; all the teams in Europe would like him.
--Roberto Mancini, Man City manager
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"For me, he is with Carlos [Tevez], [Wayne] Rooney, [Lionel] Messi, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Cristiano] Ronaldo as the best in Europe. Fernando is a fantastic striker; all the teams in Europe would like him."

The City manager did admit a successful pursuit of Torres may only come about if the club can secure Champions League football next season: "If we don't get into the fourth position I think it will be difficult," he said.

Liverpool were knocked out of Champions League in the group stages but have progressed to the semifinal of the Europa League against Atletico Madrid. They lost the first leg 1-0 in the Spanish capital on Thursday.

After the game Benitez dismissed the possibility of Torres leaving the club. He told reporters: "Torres is happy. The thing he's thinking about now is being ready as soon as possible and that's it. From the beginning, he's said he's been very happy at Anfield.

"We have said repeatedly that Fernando is not for sale and he still has three years of his contract remaining, so how can they sign a player who does not wish to leave?"