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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Looking at Liverpool - Post Fernando Torres

In the aftermath of Fernando Torres's departure to Liverpool FC rivals Chelsea, this article looks at his contribution to the dwindling fortunes of the Anfield outfit and recommends the way forward for the fans, supporters, manager and the entire LFC family.
 "People move and people come but the most important people at Liverpool are the ones who want to be here." These were the wise words that came out of one ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish, an Anfield icon who was recently called in to save the mighty Liverpool when they looked like they were on the precipice of extinction under Roy Hodgson.
Kenny said this in the midst of what has to go down as one of the most dramatic January transfer window deadline days. And it involved one Fernando Torres handing in a transfer request just three days before transfer deadline, his now previous club Liverpool, and his new employers, Chelsea.
And while his words could not prevent the 26-year-old former Atletico Madrid captain from joining the Blue side of London, it served the purpose of at least soothing the hearts of the Anfield faithful.
Torres has had nothing less than unwavering support from Liverpool fans. To the Kop, he was not supported but idolized. It takes a long, very long time for any LFC player to be ranked in the levels of Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and other Anfield greats like Kenny himself, Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler or even another ‘traitor’ Michael Owen. But Torres earned the respect to join that elite group in such a short while.
Prior to the 2010 World Cup, he sustained an injury that knocked him out of his perch and he ended up not scoring even a solitary goal for his World cup winning Spanish team. Many would argue the injury is still nagging him today. But even so, Liverpool fans continued to support him, singing his name, buying his replica shirts and using the argument; ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ to his favour even when he cut a forlorn figure on the field and his effort was, well, laughable.
These same fans must be feeling cheated and such tagging like Judas, traitor, twat, turncoat among others already tells enough of what they feel of El Nino. If Torres really respected these fans who composed songs of him and called him legend, he shouldn’t have shown his face or donned the colours of a rival Premier League team. And that includes Chelsea, bitter Anfield rivals Manchester United as well as Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City.
In doing that, he spit in the face of the fans and you can guess right the reception he will get from the Kop when he debuts against Liverpool on February 5 at Stamford Bridge.
Many would argue that if Torres was a class player that many don’t doubt, he could have led the renaissance of the Anfield club. A Torres-Suarez partnership at the front sounds formidable enough to scare and tear the best defenders in world football. Goals win games and goals is what Liverpool have been missing in a season that began with Torres being nothing more than lethargic and detached.
Under George Gillet and Tom Hicks, Liverpool was rightly viewed as a club that lacked ambition and grit to succeed. But with the coming of Fenway Sports Group, the club's current owners, splashing the cash and building a team for the future is no longer a just-say situation but it is backed with action. Buying Suarez for £22.7 million and Andy Carrol for a club record £35 million clearly attests to this. Promoting youngsters like Jonjo Shelvley, Jay Spearing, Martin Kelly and Daniel Pacheco into the first team attests to this. Managing to convince players like Steven Gerrard and Pepe Reina to stay and sign long-term contracts with the club attests to the fact that the club is determined to keep its best players at Anfield. By sacking an uninspiring manager in Roy Hodgson and bringing in a club legend who has seen Liverpool climb up the table from 16th to seventh in four games, the owners showed they value success.
So what is it did Torres want? Success? Can he achieve it with a fast-aging Chelsea team?
 Saying “it is the dream for every top class footballer to play at a top class club and now I can do that,” is surely an insult to the Anfield faithful. Was that really necessary and why take a swipe at a club that made you command such a high market value?
So who was Torres to steal all the headlines on a day that Liverpool captured Luis Suarez? What was the logic behind handing in a transfer request on the very day Liverpool announced the capture of the Uruguay international? Isn’t that what they call a ‘kick in the teeth’ in English?
But the time to talk about Torres has long past. There’s no need sobbing over a player whose heart is not in the team and whose form had been sulking until King Kenny came to the club. Torres’s best days with Liverpool, it seemed were over at the end of last summer.
For Liverpool Football Club, it’s now time to build for the future. Think of a partnership between Suarez and Andy Caroll, with David Ngog being thrown in for good measure. It’s time to think about winning as many games as possible beginning with a win at Stamford Bridge against Torres and his new employers. It’s time to think about reaching the Champions League this season, something that is difficult but not impossible, with 14 games worth 42 points remaining. It’s now time to think of current players who might also be tempted away, Pepe Reina increasingly becoming impatient. It’s time to rebuild a title-winning Liverpool Football Club for next season.
And most important of all, it’s time to build and inspire a team around club legend Kenny Dalglish, the man who has seen the Merseyside club register back to back wins for the first time since November last year. This in itself shows the Scot is doing a better job than his predecessor. Capturing Luis Suarez, Ajax’s former goal machine adds a little bit more feather to Dalglish’s hat and if he manages to get the team into the top four or five (this sounds hard but is not impossible), a permanent job at the Anfield dug out will surely be his to lose.
For Kenny, the transfer of Fernando Torres has to go down as one of his defining moments. Whether it will backfire or not is a matter of wait and see but either way, he won’t shoulder the blame considering that Torres handed in a transfer request to a club not willing to trade him.
 For Liverpool fans, it’s time to say ‘bye bye’, good riddance and hasta la vista to Fernando, thank him for the memories and say hello to a new era at Liverpool! It's not time for them lose their voices or stop singing the famous 'You Will Never Walk Alone' song to the players who break a sweat everyday to bring the Merseyside club to where it belongs: to the top.
And by the way, Liverpool Football Club was established in 1897, not July 2007 when Nando joined.
And That's thesteifmastertake!!