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Torres may miss start of the season

Spain striker Fernando Torres failed to score in South Africa despite his country winning its first World Cup.
Spain striker Fernando Torres failed to score in South Africa despite his country winning its first World Cup.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spain have confirmed that striker Fernando Torres has suffered a "grade one" groin injury
  • Torres picked up the injury during his country's 1-0 win over the Netherlands at the World Cup final
  • Chelsea midfielders Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel are set to be fit for the new season

(CNN) -- English Premier League team Liverpool have been rocked by the news that striker Fernando Torres has suffered a "grade one" groin injury that may force him to miss the start of the new season.

The Spain international picked up the injury after coming off the bench in extra-time during his country's 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the World Cup final.

Torres may now miss the start of next season, which includes the opening home match against fierce rivals Arsenal on August 15.

A statement on the Spanish Football Federation's official website confirmed scans have shown the 26-year-old has suffered "a Grade 1 muscle fibre rupture in the left thigh".

But the club are hopeful Torres will not be out for too long with team doctor Peter Brukner expecting him back playing within the next month.

We will get them (Essien and Mikel) really firing before the season starts
--Ray Wilkins
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"He had an MRI scan yesterday which confirmed a small tear," Brukner told the club's official website.

"He should be able to resume training within two to three weeks and be able to play again within three to four weeks."

Torres joined Liverpool from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid in 2007 for a reported $30.5 million.

He became an instant hit with the fans and has gone on to score 56 goals in 79 games. However, Torres has been plagued by injuries since his move to England.

The World Cup and European Championships winner had to sit out the end of last season after undergoing surgery to help heal a persistent knee injury in time to play in South Africa.

His latest setback is a blow to new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson who has been handed the task of turning around Liverpool's recent fortunes.

The club have yet to win the league title since it changed to the current Premier League format in 1992.

The five-time European champions failed to secure a place in the Champions League last season after finishing seventh and will now have to qualify for the Europa League.

Chelsea's double boost

English champions Chelsea have been boosted by the news that Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel are set to be fit for the new season after returning to training.

Essien has been out of action since January after injuring his knee while playing for Ghana at the African Cup of Nations while Mikel, from Nigeria, also suffered a knee injury, missing the tail end of last season which saw Chelsea complete a first domestic league and cup double.

The injuries also forced both to miss out on representing their countries at this year's World Cup.

Chelsea begin the defense of the Premier League on August 14 at home to newly promoted West Bromwich Albion and the club's assistant manager Ray Wilkins is confident both players will be ready to play if called upon.

"There should be no problem whatsoever," Wilkins told the club's official website. "John Obi is slightly in advance of Michael Essien but they are both working very well indeed.

"They have been working double sessions for the last week and we will get them really firing before the season starts."