Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Fernando Torres we loved you so...

His armband said he was a red, Torres, Torres. You’ll never walk alone it said, Torres, Torres. The ever endearing song the Kop used to belt out at its much loved striking hero, Fernando Torres, for the best part of four years summed up everything the fans thought of this great Anfield legend and great Liverpool number 9.

The former Liverpool number 9 was once simply adored by the fans for all his time at the club despite the fact that for the last two and half years almost the Spanish striker has been badly out of form as the club’s position and stature in the Premier League has plummeted. It seemed that even the arrival of another Anfield legend in Kenny Dalglish couldn’t convince El Nino to stay on and play for the club he once confessed to loving as he grew up as a child.

Fernando Torres for a time was the badly needed striker that could win Liverpool the title. In his first season he scored over 20 goals for Liverpool, a feat many Kop strikers at the time were struggling to accomplish. He linked up fantastically with the likes of Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Mascherano and even Dirk Kuyt. But as Alonso left for Real Madrid and Mascherano for Barcelona, Liverpool have looked like a shadow of their former selves and the “will he won’t he” sagas floating around Torres come every transfer window since his arrival seemed to test his seemingly unending loyalty to the club.

However his recent switch to the “Pride of London” Chelsea F.C. seems to reinforce what everyone thinks lately, that there’s no loyalty in football anymore. Many Liverpool supporters seemed to think Torres would never leave the club, that his contract was somehow like a marriage certificate, he couldn’t leave, it wouldn’t be allowed. The problem here lies in the notion of loyalty that hangs around Liverpool. The saying around Anfield is “no one is bigger than the club” and to ask for a transfer or go to a rival club is something that a Liverpool player simply does not do. Liverpool let’s go of you, not the other way round.

The truth is however, loyalty in Football probably doesn’t exist. The idea that Torres is a lifelong Liverpool fan has probably been taken too far by PR people and Liverpool fans. The sad, sad truth is that Torres’ heart probably never lied with Liverpool. His first love is and always will be Athletico Madrid and I’d dare say Torres still remains fiercely loyal to the club and probably the reason why he did not return to Spain to go to Real Madrid or Barcelona. Instead he chose Chelsea, and for a man who has won the European Cup and the World Cup, he’ll most likely want to win a League title at some point. With Chelsea it is more likely to happen unfortunately.

In reality Chelsea is the only club big enough and rich enough to afford El Nino and for Liverpool and for Torres himself, it was probably the right deal. To put it into context, Chelsea have paid £50million for a player that has been out of form for the past two years, injury prone and out of sorts. Torres will have to start scoring quickly and consistently for the London club otherwise he’ll quickly look like another expensive flop, another Shevchenko. Chelsea will also have to adapt their strategy for a striker who has expressed how he prefers to be the lone target man, in a team that combines the attacking trio of Drogba, Anelka and Malouda. Then of course there’s club captain, John Terry, who has a dislike for the Spaniard, which many Liverpool and Chelsea fans will know has a long history behind it.

As Torres leaves as Liverpool fans we have to look at the future. Luis Suarez made his debut against Stoke in good fashion, nicking a tidy goal, complete with nimble footwork and placement. Let’s ignore the fact it was unlucky the defender couldn’t clear it off the line quicker because even coming from the Dutch league, Suarez has more Van Nistelroy about him rather than another Afonso Alves. Then of course there’s the Andy Carroll, a true lad in every sense of the word, who jets off to Dubai to get over injury and gets smashed on 30 Jagerbombs only to aggravate his injury further by falling off a bar stool. His ability may be under scrutiny at the moment but at least the Liverpool Christmas parties will be significantly better.

At the end of the day Liverpool have lost one legend yet gained to promising talents, that potentially can link up together incredibly well and it will be the first time for a fair few years that the Merseyside club will have two damn good strikers in the team. Dalglish loves his striking duos and maybe just maybe, as Liverpool players we may finally see a striker play up front, rather than out wide and out of position. After all, that’s all we really want.

At the end of the day though, good luck to Torres at Chelsea, he may no longer be a Liverpool player but I’m sure he’ll receive a warm reception from Liverpool fans who still sing him a song: Fernando Torres! Terry’s bit on the side!

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