Liverpool striker Fernando Torres’ return to full fitness is ahead of schedule but the club’s medical staff do not expect him to reach his physical peak for another month.
The 26-year-old has been hampered by two knee operations in the first four months of the year and an adductor injury sustained in Spain’s World Cup final victory in July.
However, he scored his first Liverpool goal since April on Sunday as they beat West Brom, against whom he played 89 minutes.
And head of sports science Peter Brukner believes Torres, who is now away on international duty with Spain, will soon be back in top condition.
“He’s actually slightly ahead of schedule – he played a game earlier than we thought,” said Brukner, referring to the substitute appearance against Arsenal on the opening weekend of the season.
“He started off with a few minutes, then a few more minutes and then started the last couple of [Barclays Premier League] games.
“But for a kick on the shin against West Brom he would have played the whole game.
“We’re now at the stage where he can play the whole game.
“He’s still not at his physical peak, that will take another three or four weeks, but I think you can see in every game he’s played he’s improving.
“I don’t think it will be too long before the old Fernando Torres is back - and I’m looking forward to that.”