He may have scored at Anfield today but could Liverpool manage without the Spaniard?
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It was a signing that ignited the imagination of Liverpool fans. Fernando Torres. On top form he’s irresistible. One of the best strikers in the world. Since his arrival. He still nearly averages a goal every time he plays at Anfield.
But physically he is not as strong as he could be. Some would say injury prone. Shades of Michael Owen? Deadly when fit, but not fully fit for long enough periods. Owen is still displaying this trait. At Manchester United, he should have been prolific. By his own admisission he would say he’s been disappointing. Owen’s never been a bench warmer. Even at Real Madrid he shone. Although not seen as fashionable, he was lethal. The best goals per minute ratio in Europe. A goal in ‘El Grand Classico’. It was only Real’s circus style ownership that forced him out.
Torres has scored goals and produced performances that Liverpool fans will always remember. At Old Trafford when Liverpool destroyed United 4-1, he was imperious.
Transfer fees of £40 million are currently being talked about. This is a fee Liverpool should not turn down. Especially if his injury record does not improve. Benitez showed with the signing of an injured Alberto Aquilani, now on loan at Juventus. He is still regularly picking up injuries. Players should not be bought when injured. But they should be sold if the are injury prone but still in high demand.
Liverpool must not be drawn into Gallacticoism. Real Madrid proved in spectacular fashion that this does not work. One man can never make a team. If Torres was playing ever game it would not be an issue. When he is not on form he looks uninterested. He does not make tackles. He goes missing. We’ve all seen the dropped shoulders. He cuts a figure of a man who does not trust the quality of the players around him. Questioning the quality and ability to win trophies on a game-by-game basis. For the last 2 years, he can’t be blamed for this. He wants to win trophies. Steven Gerrard will empathise with him. 2004 illustrates this perfectly.
The great trophy winning sides were build on the idea of a squad, not just one of two superstars. True, Liverpool in the 70’s and 80’s were blessed with an embarrassment of riches. But the players were humble. They worked for each other. For a common goal, not individual recognition.
Liverpool fans want nothing more than to see him bang in 30 goals every season. But if Torres wants to win trophies, he may want to leave as well. If Liverpool are serious about backing young talent and turning potential into genuine quality, maybe a well spent £40 million could be just what Liverpool need. And a club should never keep a player who is unsure if he wants to be there.
Does the presence of Torres have a negative impact on other players, and ultimately the team? When he is out, Ngog is expected to come in and perform. And no matter how well he’s playing, when Torres has returned to full fitness, Ngog goes back to warming the bench. Footballers have to be strong, both physically and psychologically. But footballers are human. And a striker or 21 years of age must feel like he’s in an impossible situation. How can he build any confidence? Still unproven, the way he is currently being used could ultimately be very damaging to his career.
This also makes games when Torres is out even harder for Liverpool to win. Liverpool need a team and a squad. And no man is bigger than Liverpool football club. Every fan dreams of a team in which Torres lights up every games. Big Premier League games in the league. Massive European nights. But the time might still be right to say “adios”, to one of the most talented players to wear the Liver Bird on his chest.
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