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Can £50m Striker Torres Recapture His Golden Form?

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Phil McNulty | 12:34 UK time, Friday, 16 September 2011

Andre Villas-Boas found a swift solution to one problem surrounding Fernando Torres - whether he is as successful in curing the major difficulty faced by Chelsea's British record signing remains to be seen.

Villas-Boas smiled as he announced an investigation into an interview Torres gave in Spain, which quoted him as making less than flattering remarks about the speed of his older Chelsea team-mates, was over.

The search for the world-class striker that terrorised defenders for Liverpool and Spain goes on and will continue when Chelsea travel to Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.

A visit to the champions and Chelsea's main title rivals should be a perfect fit for a £50m striker, but stark statistics tell the tale. Torres has scored once in 23 appearances for Chelsea, a brutal contrast to 81 goals in 142 games at Anfield.

At Liverpool Torres was the player you could almost hear as well as see reducing defenders of the highest quality, to rubble. On one memorable night when he destroyed Real Madrid in Liverpool's 4-0 win at Anfield, one Spanish journalist reacted to another devastating run with the words: "He is like a golden bullet."

Fernando Torres, hands over face

With only a single goal in a Chelsea shirt, will Villas-Boas persist with the £50m frontman? Photo: Getty

So why has Torres misfired so far at Chelsea - and can the 27-year-old ever recapture the menace and pace that elevated him to one of the world's great strikers two years ago?

Former Chelsea and Scotland winger Pat Nevin has never wavered in his belief that Torres simply needs the medicine of goals to cure his ills - while former Liverpool defender and Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen expresses concerns about whether the Torres of old will ever return.

Nevin said: "Fernando Torres doesn't look like he's got anything wrong with him that a couple of goals wouldn't solve. His movement was good against Bayer and he almost scored a phenomenal goal in the first minute.

"What I also thought was a good sign was the way he set up the second goal for Juan Mata. It showed he is a team player. He is desperate for a goal but that desire to score is not forcing him into making bad decisions. He worked out the percentages, which were that he probably had a 35% chance of scoring and Mata had a 95% chance of scoring, and reached the correct conclusion."

Nevin added: "Chelsea won 2-0 because Torres did that and that is what people have to understand. He knew to try and score himself was the wrong thing for a good striker to do, so he did the right thing and I happen to think he is doing lots of right things.

"I have not moved my position on Fernando Torres one inch. He is a quality striker. He was left on the bench for the game at Sunderland and I was gutted for him because that was the first game Mata and Raul Meireles were starting and I think these are two players who have the vision and creativity to find him.

"I really think these signings will help Torres and another player who was finding him was David Luiz, a good player with good vision.

"I was praying for Chelsea to sign Luka Modric to feed Torres and I wanted to see Yossi Benayoun playing with him last season, but now he has Mata and Meireles and I do think they will be a huge help to him.

"While others may be questioning Torres, the Chelsea fans aren't. They can see he is working his socks off for the team. They watch the whole picture, how he is on the move from side to side all the time and always seeking openings. I think there are more questions being asked by Chelsea fans about Frank Lampard than Torres at the moment - which I also think is very unfair as well.

"When you make a move like Torres did you either have to adapt to the system or the system has to be adapted for you. In the vast majority of cases you have to adapt to the system, but in the case of Torres I actually think it may be the other way around.

"The question of whether Torres plays in every game is still open because Villas-Boas has lots of options. He has Daniel Sturridge developing, Didier Drogba to come back and I thought Anelka looked superb when he came on against Bayer, but I don't agree with those who seem to think Torres has gone into some sort of decline.

"I haven't changed my opinion about Fernando Torres since day one. He is a class striker. Do not worry, by the end of this season it won't even be a debate."

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Hansen, while in no hurry to write off Torres, admits there have to be doubts simply because of the length of his struggle.

He told me: "When he had his sensational season at Liverpool everything was based around blistering pace and sharpness. This gave him the confidence to play in that one-touch and hit it way that brought him so many goals.

"Now that pace and sharpness isn't there so he's snatching at things. I'm not saying he will never get it back but this is not six to eight games we are talking about, this is 18 months.

"The Torres of old had that pace and you wouldn't see him for dust. People couldn't catch him but now they are. I can't remember him flying past anyone for about 18 months. I'm not saying for one minute he won't come back but this is 18 months, not a brief blip.

"He might have spells when he comes back and scores goals but if you are dealing in facts, and you can talk all you want about confidence, one thing is undisputable and the fact is he is not as quick as he was in his first couple of seasons at Liverpool."

Torres, because of the money spent and the lingering feeling that he was more vanity purchase by Roman Abramovich rather than part of a considered plan, will be central to the narrative of Chelsea's season. Villas-Boas will hope it has a happy ending.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    It's interesting. I think he's lost about 15% of his pace, maybe more, but he's still a predator and will be dangerous again. A few goals will aid his recovery, although as a MUFC fan I hope he doesn't score again :) I still have nightmares about him and Vidic...

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm inclined to agree more with Hansen that Nevin, and I'm a United STH. The old Torres has gone, the sharpness he had, and the sheer pace over the first five yards is missing, and that was a crucial part of his game. At 27, I don't see him getting that back. In the same way Michale Owen has done so, I believe he'll have to change his game to stay at the level he is, let alone return to former glories.

    When Ancelotti picked Torres and not Drogba in the QF of last season's Champions League, a satisfied murmur rippled around Old Trafford, and despite his age, I still rate Drogba as more of a goal threat. At least Torres is proving useful to the Chelsea team at the moment in providing assists and there is no doubt that he is an intelligent footballer with a lot to offer. But at £50m, he would need to be the Torres of a couple of years ago before the injuries robbed him of his immediate pace to justify the price-tag. And I for one don't think that's the case.

  • Comment number 3.

    Ah! The British media. Always creating something out of nothing. Even you, Phil.

    Examples: Last year was Rooney going someplace else, then Liverpool being relegated, then Arsenal. And the media now is going after Torres.

    Phil, did you even bother to watch Torres play last Tuesday? He was great.

    Now, do some real reporting and go after the real stories.

  • Comment number 4.

    Torres will be back...Maybe not to what he was with Liverpool but with Mata at Chelsea now he has someone who he can strike up a great understanding with just like Gerrard at Liverpool.

    Chelsea's narrow formations did not suit him last season but now with better, faster players we should start to see a more dangerous Fernando.

  • Comment number 5.

    Torres will never be the same player he was 2 years ago for Liverpool, but that does not mean he can not be just as good again.

    Due to injuries (and natural ageing) he has lost pace yes but even more noticeably he has lost that ability to turn and spin, his agility if you like. He is however a smart enough player to be able to adapt to this and will in time do so, making the transition from speedy to canny like a number of other top players have (Giggs is a prime example, Owen is a prime example of one that didn't).

    He does need confidence and to stop worrying about goals, ironically he will then start making better choices instead of trying too hard to do the job himself. Putting him up front with a partner (Anelka) for a few games might help.

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree somewhat with Tess, midweek Torres played a good game of football and with a bit more luck he could have had a hattrick. His teamplay for the last goal and set up for the first was not something you would find a player who is struggling making.

    The money Chelsea paid was silly money but it is done now and even if Torres has lost pace he is still a fantastic forward player. Malouda, Drogba and Anelka somewhat were not really effective in trying to stike up a partnership with Fernando but with new players (Ones he has played with before) It should be a different story in the next few weeks.

  • Comment number 7.

    CantonasCollar79 "In the same way Michael Owen has done so, I believe he'll have to change his game to stay at the level he is, let alone return to former glories." He must be delighted at the prospect of following Owen's example.
    It is a good comparison in another way, however, and I think it's that both players look(ed) a shadow of their former self when the pace they were once renowned for has gone. Similar career paths they have followed; first team from a very early age, blistering pace, and a glittering career, before injuries seemed to take their toll. I'm not sorry to say that I think the Spaniard's career is going to go the same way as Owen's and the best he will be able to hope for in a year or two's time is a place on the bench at a big club, being paid for past reputation alone.

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree with #2 (CantonasCollar79); a striker whose main asset is seeing space, getting into it and firing off a shot at lightening speed (rather than being "a presence", very clever or a goal hanger...a la Drogba, Romario or Inzaghi) is always susceptible to exploding on the scene then as quickly falling down the pecking order...unless they can combine one of the other elements (Lineker with pace and poaching, Batistuta with pace and power etc).

    That is especially true when injuries start taking their toll...and we are talking about true thoroughbreads here...which is why Owen is such a great comparison.

    I think Liverpool got the better of the deal (swapping Suarez and Carroll for Torres and Babel) purely because they now have more options up front as a result.

    Also agree that Chelsea have (very successfully lets not forget) played a power game based around Drogba as a battering ram and Lampard arriving to pick up the loose ball 20 yards out. In the process they have discarded clever players (a la David Silva or Dennis Bergkamp types) and guys with pace to burn. So buying Torres must mean a change of tactics, and therefore personnel, otherwise he is a luxury waste.

    In fairness to him he isn't the first and won't be the last (Real Madrid galacticos...countless Premiership buys) player to be someone's whim rather than missing piece...but if the rumours are true of Milan offering a player like Pato as a swap for Torres I would bit their hand off.

    Torres will come back (class is permanent etc) but in a different style of player (like Alan Shearer had to adapt) and not at Chelsea.

  • Comment number 9.

    Ex Chelsea player thinks Torres is world class, Ex Liverpool player think he's the new Michael Owen...hold the front page, this right here is the breaking news!!

    Seriously though, as a relatively objective United fan, I really want El Nino to be back - he was a class act in his first 2 seasons at Liverpool and a joy to watch (apart from when he was playing us!). We've already lost the likes of Ronaldo & Fabregas to other leagues and it'd be a shame to see another genuine world class talent fall by the wayside.

    One final note, don't write Torres or Chelsea off this season, there's life in the (literally) old dogs yet!

    Prediction for Sunday: 2-2, Chelsea jammy pen equaliser (as usual haha).

  • Comment number 10.

    He needs to dye his hair blonde...

  • Comment number 11.

    Class in his day but looks like time has caught up with him already. In the same way Carrager is on his last legs and Gerrard's best days are behind him it looks like Nando's finished. Sure they all might have the odd good game and remind us of the players they used to be but fact is time has tapped all three on the shoulder. Sad to see.

    On the flip side Fergies young guns look fantastic!

    Oh and Ian Lucas.... Do some work for once and stop reading blogs!

  • Comment number 12.

    He needs a placebo! Someone to say, take this pill it will improve your shooting by 35%. Basically, I think it is now pycological, and he needs to get over the barrier himself. Nevin said "Fernando Torres doesn't look like he's got anything wrong with him that a couple of goals wouldn't solve. His movement was good against Bayer and he almost scored a phenomenal goal in the first minute." But there must be something wrong, because before he would have burried it.

  • Comment number 13.

    anyone who know's football must understand due to the injuries he got multiple times he cant come back and immediately start his sharp turns and sprinting at full speed or he may buckle, so i think it's a case of slowly building back his injury to full fitness to make sure he is right and dont go twang again.

  • Comment number 14.

    First of all you've got all the garbage in the football media trying to run the De Gea angle on this week, with Kelly Dalglish cast as mouthpiece to be mocked live on tv by a manager who has won 12 league titles forcing her to trot out some pathetic gibberish about complimenting Lindegaard. Then Lindegaard himself mocks her and points out that he's said a thousand times that he isn't here to pick his nose, and hey presto, suddenly that's now worth a headline all of its own.

    Then today for some unknown reason they think Ferguson pointing out the simple fact that Chelsea will be contenders is worth reporting as if it's some kind of revelation.

    And now Torres: will he ever find form again?

    Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up even if you were still in the playground. I say couldn't. Wouldn't bother is probably more accurate.

  • Comment number 15.

    I am a Tottenham fan and i just wanted to say that this theory about him losing his legs is utter nonsense, they guy is 27 and not 30 coming along 31 like Sheva. Firstly, football is not a 100m race and hypothetically if Torres is on the shoulder of the likes of Vidic, Rio, Michael Dawson, Joleon Lescott, carragher, Skrtel etc and a ball is put through with a 50/50 chance of both getting it, i will bet by mortgage that Torres beats them to it.

    Also, on his first few days at Chelsea they did some tests and he was running at his personal best, so this myth from Liverpool fans and pundits is pure fantasy. Liverpool fans and pundits are extremely bitter that he left. Graeme Souness, Alan Hansen, Lawrenson etc all seem to be picking out the negatives rather than the positives and the fans are willing him to fail and are more concerned with him that their own team.

    When he played against Stoke he looked sharp, quick and his movement was bang on. Torres is not like Owen who was a speed merchant playing on the shoulder and was a good finisher, Torres is brilliant at making time for himself on the ball in the box and that is his best attribute.

    It is hardly like he is missing guilt edge chances but the fact that the team is not able to move the ball about quickly creating chances without the opposition defenders getting back quick enough. Drogba and Anelka have hardly been banging in the goals for fun which shows that it is not just Torres but the pedestrian tempo of the game dictated by the midfield. Eventhough his touch was not on point against Leverkusen, the presence of Mata and sturridge helped his game. At Liverpool, everyone looked for Torres. At Chelsea, Lampard has a shoot on sight policy if he gets a yard from 25 yards out as does Malouda.

    If Chelsea were able to create chances for him he will put them in the back of the net and when he scores a few the confidence will return and Confidence is massive in football. Just look at Wayne Rooney. was terrible in the World Cup and through the middle of the season and now he is better than ever

  • Comment number 16.

    @ Hackerjack; you contradict yourself in you opening paragraph. And as the article explains, he already does make good choices, opting for assists rather than goals midweek!

  • Comment number 17.

    Torres can only play in one role, thats his major problem. He plays nearly identically to the Owen of old, hanging on the shoulder of the last defender and bursting in behind on regular occasions. I suppose the word is instinctive.

    This is all very well and good, providing the team he's playing is geared towards defending deep and hitting on the counter (what Lafa Benitez is/was/will always be about). The tactic at Liverpool was always essentially the same, put 9 men in defence, wait until xabi alonso/gerrard or reina had the ball and lump it up field to "El Nino". Invarioubly he would catch the defensive line out of position or at the very least on their heels and he was in.

    At Chelsea, as in the Spanish national team and to a certain extent with Atletico Madrid, he doesn't play this role. These teams like to actually keep possession of the ball and work into goal scoring positions. Whislt effective from a team sense it does slow the play down sufficiently for defenders to double up or simply man mark the Spaniard out of the game.

    Injuries and a lack of confidence have definitely taken their toll on him, that extra burst of pace does appear lacking (along with his former exemploray first touch) and there is an aire of resignation about his body language too.

    He may get his confidence back, maybe even reclaim some of the trademark seering pace we used to see but whilst at Chelsea, in that system, with those players, he'll never be the Fernando Torres from the Liverpool days.

    Still, i'd rather have a £50m Torres in my side than a £35m Andy Carroll!!!

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm a MCFC fan and have to say Torres was excellent on Tuesday night, he set up 2 goals and ran his a**e off... yes Strikers live and die by goals but he's certainly getting better! couple of goals will renew his confidence and he'll start scoring again! Will he be as good as he was....maybe not but a world class striker is a world class striker and he is certainly that!

    The media should find something interesting to write about....maybe something with substance? come on I pay my license fee for this tripe?

  • Comment number 19.

    Can he recapture his form? Yes.

    Do Chelsea want him to recapture his form? Yes.

    Do Chelsea NEED him to recapture his form? Not necessarily.

    Step forward Daniel Sturridge.

  • Comment number 20.

    Why did Chelsea pay so much for a striker out of form and with a recent history of injuries. Liverpool saw them coming and bought IMO a better player in Suarez for less than half the cash (would've loved Spurs to have tried for him).

  • Comment number 21.

    Thanks for all your early replies. Quite a few strands to this one.

    Let me state my position first. I have always been a big fan of Torres and a couple of years ago he was in the elite group of strikers in the world. Since then, as Alan Hansen rightly says, he has had a poor 18 months and looks to have lost those crucial yards of acceleration that made him such a wonderful player.

    I live in hope, however, that he can come back to something like his best and the arrivals of Mata and Meireles may just provide the spark. I have not seen him lacking effort and would be very interested to see what a goal, particularly a vital one, would do for him. In others words, I do still think it can happen for him.

    I think it is too soon to dismiss a player of Torres' calibre, something Hansen is reluctant to do despite expressing understandable concerns about his recent form.

    So how many of you out there agree with Pat Nevin's assessment that by the end of the season there will not even be a debate about Torres and people will have forgotten the doubts expressed about him currently?

    Pat has never wavered in this belief. Be keen to know your thoughts.

    Or do Chelsea have to adapt to suit him, or is it simply a case of Torres not quite being the player he was?

    Love to hear thoughts of Chelsea and Liverpool fans in particular but all views welcome as ever.

  • Comment number 22.

    IMO, i don't think anyone would fault Fernando's motive for moving to Chelsea even though it came with a fair dose of controversy, any reasonable player should know only trophies you win count no matter how 1 is attached to any particular club, that explains why Torres, Fabregas & many others eventually left. A January move as is the case with Torres seldom help a player & his team due to inability to fit in instantly, & even worse for Fernando he was not only expected to fit in but to also save the blues from the dire situation Chelsea found itself at the time.
    I believe the logic "form is temporary but class is permanent" though i don't believe Torres will ever recapture the form that made him imperious at 'pool for the following reasons.
    1. At just abt 28,he's being having reoccurent injuries
    2. He's now unusually slow
    3. The team need to adjust to suit him which they hav only done little to help
    4. Was never really a 20league goals a season striker
    5. I doubt if AVB will keep faith with him if the drought continues, & that would make the situation even worse for him.

    The king might still show glimpse of what was expected by popping up with some spectacular goals once in a while, but i fear that's just about what we might get from him.

  • Comment number 23.

    #20 SleepingSpurs

    Vanity. And, because they can. (Rightly or wrongly.)

    Ultimately, Ancelotti sticking with mis-firing strikers last autumn is what led to Suarez being bought and led to the exit for Ancelotti.

  • Comment number 24.

    #10

    That is a good point! His form has faded ever since he changed his hair!!

  • Comment number 25.

    How many times have we seen Malouda with a good chance to square for Tores only to ignore him completely and have a pop at goal himself. There was a statistic somewhere that said Torres has had less chances to shoot so far this season than Rooney in just the Arsenal game alone.

  • Comment number 26.

    The idea that class is permanent is a myth. Everyone goes off at some point, some players earlier than others (whether because of injuries or just loss of a spark). Owen went off fairly early, so did Robbie Fowler. I remember Darren Huckerby in an England squad at a young age. Anyone recall Lee Sharpe? All these players lost a bit of pace, and were never the same. I suspect Torres is another one.

  • Comment number 27.

    #22 RedAlert96

    Let's assume you are right in your assessment that Chelsea were in a dire situation in January.

    It's sort of ironic then that up until the league game at Old Trafford, Chelsea were probably the form team in the country WITH Torres playing but WITHOUT Torres scoring.

    In people's ready analysis, we never hear how that came to pass.

  • Comment number 28.

    Torres has lost his lightening quick agility. I think that's what makes his first touch look more hesitant and sloppy than a few years ago. Before he had the quickness to turn and get to the ball before other defenders - not so much now. Defenders know this and are more confident against him.

    I also think that this is a valid blog subject - there's no better time to for him to prove his doubters wrong against Man Utd.

  • Comment number 29.

    Torres will never be the one of old,because of injuries and natural decline.But he could still be effective as a set-up man for another Central striker,assuming he is an intelligent footballer,and modifies himself in near future.
    But the question lies whether Chelsea will tolerate that or have patience with him for they had put up 50m (no player is worth that much;example Kaka,a bench warmer now) for him just to be their top hit man.
    I believe in another year he will be sold cheaply to a mid level Spanish or Italian outfit who could use his guiles and know-how for Goals.

  • Comment number 30.

    Sorry guys but the usual case of Loserpool not being able to look after a fine player and flogging them to death has ruined another career just like Owen and Gerrard heavy dependance on one or two players means they end up playing them when they are not fit, next one will be Suarez then Carroll. Your club ruins players and has done ever since the late 80's.

  • Comment number 31.

    im sure torres will find some of his best form but when i dont know. take rooney for example, he is enjoying some fine form at the moment, but looking a few months back he was struggling to match expectations.

    Footballers are like anything in life, they have their good periods but equally have their bad. Im a MAN U fan and cant wait for the match this weekend. Two great sides facing eachother so early in the season. But back to the blog...i hope torres doesnt shine so soon...i.e. this sunday!

  • Comment number 32.

    #30 lippyrich

    And yet Benitez was derided for 'resting' him.....?

  • Comment number 33.

    A more important question is whether Torres develops as a player in a successful Chelsea team, even if he has lost a yard of pace. Past players have done that, some haven't. I've got doubts though and play Sturridge ahead of him at this moment in time.

  • Comment number 34.

    Micheal Owen>Torres. Owen still has a 1 in 3 record for united with most of those apperances off the bench at 31. Owen relied heavily on pace but his main quality was his finishing which hasnt left him. Torres needs his pace to get him the extra space for the touch and finish. Ive seen a number of torres chances that owen would score in his sleep even now.

    I still feel confident everytime owen runs through on goal and he hasnt let me down yet in a united shirt except once but that wasnt a 1 on 1, i actually think its a shame we took him as i think he would easily get 15+ for any team if he played all the time.

    People forget that torres wasnt the same player even for liverpool a year or so before chelsea bought him. Rafa over used him terribly, same with gerrard which is why they have been struggling for form/fitness for 2 years or so.

    Im glad owen is our 5th striker rather than the one we rely on to win us the prem lol....

  • Comment number 35.

    #34 Mattdma

    I still feel confident everytime owen runs through on goal and he hasnt let me down yet in a united shirt except once but that wasnt a 1 on 1, i actually think its a shame we took him as i think he would easily get 15+ for any team if he played all the time.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    But maybe it's because Owen plays so rarely that he looks sharp. Perhaps the law of diminishing returns would come into play if he was played more often.

  • Comment number 36.

    why chelsea bought torres baffles me anyway. he had a poor first half of the season, and a poor world cup (surprising as he actually won the world cup) and spent £50million on him. i said at the time saurez who was half the price would be a better, even darren bent at £24million looks like a bargain in comparison to Torres.

    If you spend £50million on a striker you would expect them to get 30 goals a season, every season. Infact the only transfer worse than Torres is Ibrahimivic to barcelona for €70m plus eto'o.

  • Comment number 37.

    Torres did not become a bad player overnight. Before he came to liverpool his goal scoring record at Atletico wasn't all that impressive neither. At liverpool he benefited from Benitez' methods that were geered at creating chances for him e.g. having him hang around the last defender, staying close to the box as much as possible and releasing the ball to him as soon as possible. If you look at the goals he scored at liverpool most came from him knowing exactly what the team mate was going to do. That's because all was geered to that final ball to him. At chelsea that isn't the case. I have watched games where he would make runs and runs and not receive the ball early enough and naturally he stops making those runs and his body language says it all. Lets be honest he wasn't wrong in saying that chelsea's midies don't play it quick enough. It's a known fact as good as Anelka is, passing is normally his last resort, same can be said of Malouda, Lampard and Drogba. At liverpool, you had players who thought pass first, Gerrard, Benayoun, Alonso, Riera, Kuyt, Mascherano .. they all looked to play him on as opposed to shooting first. So it is the system that doesn't suit Torres and hopefully Mata, Sturridge and Raul can become what Gerrard, Alonso and Mascherano were for Torres and Liverpool and you will see him scoring as he did then. Play it early and accurately and see if his speed isn't there. When he tormented Vidic he was always one on one after being played early, when he scored his first goal for liverpool against Chelsea again one on one with Alex, and you could go back and see that was always the case .. as a forward when you know that your midfielders are gonna play you, you would make those runs and be more assured. The old Torres isn't done, he just needs selfless supporting cast and not Lampard, Anelka or Malouda

  • Comment number 38.

    Strange thing is that his goal scoring record was much better at Liverpool than at Ath Madrid, the Spanish Liga is meant to be easier to score goals in. Looked to be in good form last Tuesday I do not see a problem with him.

  • Comment number 39.

    The way Chelsea are setting up this season WILL benefit Torres there is no question about that, AVB like at Porto playes with 3 up top and with Mata, Torres, and either Anelka or Sturridge this will start to blossom in the comming weeks.

    Players like Drogba, Malouda and Mikel (Who I still think is nowhere near good enough to be playing 1st team football at Chelsea) have not been helping Torres for one reason or another but the players who have come in are vital to him this season.

  • Comment number 40.

    #37 footballita

    I could try and be clever and say that the selfless supporting cast at Liverpool never delivered them a trophy.

    However, the point I wanted to make was that in the BBC preview to the Sunderland Chelsea game last weekend, it said that Lampard had created the most scoring chances in the league, up to that point.

    Of course, what is a 'chance created' but this idea, perception even, that Chelsea's midfield don't contribute just does not seem to be borne out by the facts either last season or this season.

    If Torres wasn't responsible for Chelsea's form in the second half of last season when they came from well behind to catch up, was it Lampard's form as it was him that was out injured when they were dropping lots of points?

  • Comment number 41.

    I have liked Torres since his Atletico days. He is a fabulous player to watch and many rival fans admire him because he is such a tremendous talent. Has he lost it? I don't think he has. In fact I think it is impossible to lose it unless you suffer a severe injury or through age. Torres is only 27 and has had some injury problems but nothing major.

    I can't understand the comparisons with Owen or even Shevchenko. Owen was brilliant when he was young. He relied on his pace to get some goals but wasn't dependant on it. He went through a string of injuries which he was unlucky with. Had he lost it then? No. He wasn't performing at his usual high standards because he wasn't getting regular football through injury. He then had a major injury which reduced his pace and then age did the rest. Owen was still top quality.

    Torres's first two seasons with Liverpool were amazing. Then in his third season is when the media is saying he lost it. I can't understand this. He managed 22 goals in 32 appearances that season which wasn't far off the leagues top goal scorer (Drogba). Torres suffered various injuries during that season limiting his appearances. Liverpool decided not to rest him and play him risking further injury. This eventually happened ending his season short. He then stupidly went to world cup and played shortly after surgery on his knee and then injured himself again. It wasn't until the world cup where he looked a shadow of his former self.

    What I am saying is that he has only been off form for a season now. It takes time to recover from surgery and find your feet again. Unfortuantely for Torres he went from one unstable situation in Liverpool under Hodgson to Chelsea in their poor season. Confidence takes time to come back. We have seen very little flair or conviction in his play at the moment. He is playing very safe. However, he is looking much better than last season. As for his pace it may never be fully restored but I think he may get close to his previous. Pace is like strength. You have to work and train to improve. The goals will come just be patient and believe. Form is temporary, class is permanent.

  • Comment number 42.

    Torres has lost a bit physically - but his real issues are emotional and mental; not simply confidence, but (I believe) something approaching a real breakdown. I'm not sure how, or if, he can recover from that at the top level.

  • Comment number 43.

    I think that Mr. Torres will never be the player we saw when he arrived at anfield.

    this does not mean to say he is not a good player. however, Fernando is just one piece of an 11 piece puzzle which makes up a football team. with the right pieces, you can achieve all things in football. now lets take a look at some few examples:

    1. Arsenal, missing pieces in defense and experience, disillusioned fans and stubborn manager
    2. Man Utd, had missing pieces which were then fulfilled by the great Van der Sar
    3. Barcelona, Defense, we can see that their defense is like arsenal, all be it with better quality attackers
    4. Chelsea, slow midfield, aging team, bundles of experience
    5. Liverpool, lack of consistent team selection finished 2nd
    6. Real Madrid, lack of long term management to shape team
    7. England, Manager with poor communication skills or players who are not intelligent enough to play international football.

    all teams have missing pieces, MCFC i think have the right jigsaw in place to mount a challenge for all competitions, they have options and different style of player from inbetween the sticks to the golden boots up front. they can mix it up when required, just like MUFC, now that is a footballing model MUFC, all be-it aside from the glazers, they are an example of how modern day football has changed, 433 or 442 doesn't matter, they know how to play football and terrorize defenses

    Problem is that many teams in the EPL have failed to adapt and successfully deploy a variety of football styles, they tend to play same style of football week-in-week out, making them predictable and easy to defend against.

    Hence the reason Torres made comments, as internal comments can sometimes fall on deaf ears. Smart move on his part, I think, but then if you criticise your own team mates, one can also alienate themselves.

    Torres has been a fortunate player to have played for big clubs, many live for the opportunity, his shoulder shrugging days are now behind him and lets hope he will start hitting the net more often, as it is always sad to see such a spectacular player in decline.

    Dont hate a player who has left, honour the things they have done for your club and let them be, cos no-one player is greater than any football club and everyone is in today's world, ready to fill any void left behind!

    YNWA

  • Comment number 44.

    Agree with Pat Nevin. A voice of common sense as always.

    Torres is a player who's lost lots of game time due to injury, had a big-money transfer to a team who's style doesn't suit him. Those are the reasons for his struggle.

    He'll be fine once he regains his confidence and AVB completes his current reconfiguration of the team away from the power play Chelsea have used since Mourinho's time.

    However, the ex-Liverpool media mafia cannot forgive him for having the gall to leave Liverpool for what he described as a "bigger club" - Chelsea.

    They are now doing their utmost to punish him for that by continously being negative about him, trying to prevent his recapturing of his old form, claiming that at 27 he has lost his pace and ability to turn(!)

    Lat year they were saying that Rooney could be finished. He started too young and has now lost it etc.

    Journalists love to bring Politicians, footballers and all sorts of celebrities down. It makes them feel better about themselves.

  • Comment number 45.

    #40 MrBlueBurns

    I agree with you in that Lampard would get you goals when he is on, Anelka would do the same as does Malouda. However their shoot on sight policy negates the effectiveness of Torres. If they learned to mix it up i.e play him early and often and other times take those shots, Torres would be his old self, Lampard and Malouda would still get their goals and Chelsea as a team would be less predictable as they would have a firing Torres to keep defenders occupied, an unpredictable Lampard to pop up with an assist or goal ...

    If however Lampard and the likes continue to play the way they have always played it then begs a question why in the world did Chelsea buy Torres?

    He is a striker, he depends on his midfielders to create chances for him and create them early and often.

    Having watched enough games since he moved to Chelsea, it's not like the boy is missing easy chances or he looks lost, it's just not being played early enough. That's his game.

    Messi looks a world beater with Barca. Familiarity with his team mates. He knows he can drop deep, play quick one-twos with xavi, Iniesta and David Villa will make the run, Alves will make the run, Pedro would make the run and they will always look for that extra pass, that is Messi will continue moving knowing that there is more than a 50% chance that an extra pass would be made.

    Torres at Chelsea, when he does play that ball wide or to Lampard or Malouda, that chance of an extra pass is 2% if that. Even Bosingwa's looks to shoot and since he scored that one wonder goal, the likelihood of an extra pass from him is even lower now as he would look to shoot often.

    As for Liverpool not winning anything with him, that was simply due to Benitez' stubbornes. Liverpool were getting close to an irresistable team. Came second to Man U in a year where they should have won only for Benitez to rock the boat off went Alonso, tinkered with the team way too much when he need to add to it.

  • Comment number 46.

    20 -

    What about the £35mill wasted on A Carroll.

  • Comment number 47.

    Torres needs to be the main man. At chelsea he is not.

  • Comment number 48.

    My theory as a LFC fan is that at Liverpool he was told to play how he wanted to play with Stevie G providing the service, at Chelsea he's told to play in a system with other strikers and it isn't working for him at the moment. His quality is undoubted but I do feel as this barren spell goes on his sparkle will diminish.

    I'd happily swap Andy Carroll for Torres irrelevant of anything

  • Comment number 49.

    Maybe it's the training regime at Chelsea. When Shevchenko left he suddenly seemed to regain that yard of pace he had lost at Chelsea..maybe Torres will rediscover his afterburners once AVB sells him (probably next summer IMHO, unless we see a miraculous turnaround and he nets 20-25 this season -not likely).

  • Comment number 50.

    i honestly dont think he's lost that much pace. Well, not more than you naturally do as you get older, the only thing is his confidence, and i believe he said it himself in the interview but the slow build up play that chelski have just doesnt suit him. It'll be interesting to see what AVB actually does in terms of tweaking the system and style of play to make it suit Torres more, or will he just write off Torres because he doesnt fit into the style of play they currently have?

    I think it will have to be either Drogba and Anelka or Torres, i dont think you can have both.
    Play a front three of Mata, Torres and Sturridge (who btw looks class)
    the real problem chelsea have in my opinion is the midfield, meireles is a quality player and i'm gutted we let him go, Lampard is imo past it and shouldnt really be holding onto his starting place. maybe follow SAF's example and put faith in the youngsters? Mceachren for one?

  • Comment number 51.

    Torres was a beautiful player with speed and balance far ahead of the opposition. I'm really glad I saw it, but for all his skill and desire since he was injured he is not the same player. He's a good player, who will score goals again, but no longer a great player. Mr Abramovic has done a Shevchenko again, which is good for the Premier League's developing changes.

  • Comment number 52.

    To those saying this is a non-story, may I just remind the people that Torres was extraordinary at Liverpool scoring a prolific amount of goals, being the catalyst that saw him sign for Chelsea for £50m. With that comes expectations. And he has failed to deliver.

    The move wasn't even much of a risk as he would still be playing within England, wouldn't be too unsettled and knows the league inside and out. So what went wrong?

    To score once in 23 games is a woeful return, but even more so after being told you are worth at least £50m, and having such a reputation that saw you become an overnight legend at Liverpool.

    It is a talking point, and it deserves to be spoken about, so just because a story you don't like hasn't made the headlines, it is a bit childish.

    Torres wasn't bought to be a team player and set up goals for other players, so that point of view is irrelevant. He is there to score goals and he isn't doing it, and furthermore doesn't look like doing it anytime soon. £50m contradicts that as does his reputation, but his form speaks for itself.

    He needs Chelsea to worship him like Liverpool did. He's that sort of player. He was a trophy purchase and probably earning at least 50% more at Chelsea than at Liverpool. Plus, he's in the capital. It's easy to see why it's happened, but you can't quite help thinking he moved just for those reasons and didn't quite think it through as well as he perhaps could of done.

    He was a hero at Liverpool and now he's a donkey at Chelsea, waiting to have it's legs broken and then shot in the face. It's sad, but that's what happens when a greedy club buys an egotistical player for much more than their worth and then shoots them before they've even begun to settle in.

  • Comment number 53.

    24. At 16:01 16th Sep 2011, tux271 wrote:
    #10

    That is a good point! His form has faded ever since he changed his hair!!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It's like the tale of Samson, who gained his strength from his long, flowing locks. Ever since Torres turned up to the World Cup with a short, back and sides, his footballing strength and goalscoring prowess has appeared to sap, dramatically.

  • Comment number 54.

    He is the same player, but is stuck in an ageing team.

    As a striker if you dont believe you are going to be picked out 90% of the time, you are not going to run your arse off making intelligent runs, Mata and Meireles in the middle are going to make a difference, they are forward thinking and fast paced. Torres in a slow game just does not work. When you spend £50m on a player of Torres ability, its the managers responsibility to accommodate his style, if he couldnt do that he should never have bought him.

    I believe Roman Abramoviches thunder was being stolen by Man City, and this transfer was more about a statement than anything else, to say Chelsea were still on the map as a contender.

    I would like to see him start against United, I would bet on him shining too.

  • Comment number 55.

    #38 Tanglefoot Twitch
    He had to do much more than being just a poacher at Atletico, he was the captain hence carried more responsibilities plus atletico weren't exactly that creative-at least not at Barca or Real's level- hence the 15goals a seasn avg he had while at the club. LaLiga IMO is a lot more easier anyday anytime.


    #40 MrBlueBurns
    Fernando's presence even poor as it obviously was when he can in brought an air of tension esp in the mindset of the forwards which i think was properly channelled into workmanlike yet positive results, this also coincided with an avg run of form for Utd until that match at O.T which effectively killed Chelsea off.

  • Comment number 56.

    For a "Chief Football Writer" Phil really does tend to scrape the barrel looking for things to write about ..... but that said I think it should be clear that Torres will never again be the player he was in his first season with Liverpool.

    Will he score again? Without a doubt. Will he change his game - because that is what it will take - and recover his confidence and finishing touch, to score 15 - 20 goals a season? Very possibly. He is an intelligent enough player.

    Will he be "the Tores of old"? Never. He is older and slower - thanks to age and injuries - and Chelsea will never use him in the same role as Liverpool did in his first 2 seasons with them.

    Personally, I think that at 50 Million Chelsea overpaid by a long shot, but that comes from having a Billionaire owner who likes to chase after any player he feels will "make a statement".

    The rumours are that Athletico want him for 29 million, which is probably more like his real value. Most prices bear little resemblance to reality anyhow, so it is only my personal opinion.

    He is playing well enough, just not scoring at the moment.

  • Comment number 57.

    Phil,

    One thing that has to be understood about the Torres situation is that the whole Liverpool set up was to suit Torres's game. Torres was the first name on that teamsheet alongside Gerrard. The first thing a Liverpool player would think after receiving the ball is, where is Torres and how to I get the ball to him.
    When he went to Chelsea he became one of the strikers and no longer the focal point. When you have an extreme talent next to you in Drogba, a player that Chelsea teammates know inside and out, the thought is no longer Where is Torres.
    For as long as Chelsea have Drogba and Anelka, Torres will never be the way he was at Liverpool. Unless he is the focal point of the attack, then he becomes subdued.
    This is why i believe that Torres will never be a success at Chelsea.

  • Comment number 58.

    Torres can get back to his best form, if he puts his mind and heart in the game and play for Chelsea. But he still misses Liverpool and moving away from Liverpool was a big mistake. Like other star players who did move never performed like they need to do such as Kaka, Henry, Beckham, villa just to name a few. He's a star player and he will make the money worth. I'm a Liverpool fan commenting.

  • Comment number 59.

    Ok, I'd be the first to admit, Chris Sutton is no Fernando Torres but remember the mauling Chris Sutton took over his one goal season at Stamford Bridge, is it just me or is there a Chelsea whoodoo on good players coming in for big money. Chris Sutton was awesome for Celtic and yes, against English Premier League clubs too...

  • Comment number 60.

    Fernando Torres will not recuperate that blistering swiftness, agility, acceleration and mobility that he performed with for Liverpool, he's been plagued and blighted by too many injuries to sustain that sort of physical exertion.

    What doesn't help is that given he's been supplied with golden chances and spurned it terribly, he doesn't even have that clinical edge that he was imbued into Liverpool, I thought last season there were brief glimmers of his potential, against Spurs at home and Stoke this season but he's been overwhelmed by this pressuring transfer-value, relegated from the Spanish international team, in short being outclassed by the Chelsea firepower and Spanish strike-force has not served his confidence well and it only highlights his flaws and weaknesses.

    This also strengthens my viewpoint that one day he will be enveloping the red Liverpool jersey, and will be brandishing his old class once more, and as an avid Liverpool supporter I would be delighted.

    Fools can always be forgiven, after all.

  • Comment number 61.

    What also doesn't help is the poor supply of possession by the Chelsea midfielders, who aren't as inventive, crafty, tenacious or especially mobile like the Liverpool midfield of '08 and '09, this means Torres rather than operating from on the same line as the defenders where his acceleration gives him a yard of advantage, he's venturing deep to forage possession, he needs Mata or Meireles or Ramires to step it up, considerably.

  • Comment number 62.

    If you just look at the old? MOTD title sequence you will see FT in full flow. As a red I cannot remember anyone who was so graceful and athletic. At full throttle he must have sent the fear of Chr*** up opposing defences. Injury has curtailed this, but his skill have not lessened. A good financial deal was done by LFC but I would still have FT back at Anfield because the feeds he would receive from those around him would show his grace, poise and ability and would be a boon to the team.

  • Comment number 63.

    55. At 17:19 16th Sep 2011, RedAlert96 wrote:
    LaLiga IMO is a lot more easier anyday anytime.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Nonsense. Torres was playing for a team a good to average team with aspirations of a top 4 finish in Spain, and moved to a good to average team with aspirations of a top 4 finish in England.

    His free-scoring antics for a couple of years at Liverpool need to be closely examined, vis a vis the level of competition he was playing against, just as Aguero's likely astronomical goals-to-minutes tally in England will have to be looked at differently to his record in Spain (although that's slightly different, as he's moved up a peg from a top-4ish side in Spain to a top-2ish side in England).

  • Comment number 64.

    Liverpool fans chortling about selling Torres to Chelsea for £50m need to temper their schadenfreude with the realisation that they probably paid Newcastle £25m more than Andy Carroll's worth.

    We constantly hear how the two deals were somehow inexplicably linked during the last day of the January transfer window, but, of course, there was no reason for them to be.

    Liverpool weren't going to be challenging for anything - other than the Europa League - so why fork out a ridiculous transfer fee for a player who they could get in the off-season for a sensible and less extortionate price?

  • Comment number 65.

    The problem for torres is that he is at the wrong club.

    Chelsea don't stick with a manager and allow him to build anything. They expect instant results and this is why most of their young players are sold on (even when they do well). Terry remains the only youth product to establish a place in the team for a generation (and that was before the Roman effect). I doubt McEachran will make it big.

    There is no time for failure, so players and managers are dispensed with like a Prem player righting off ferrari's - NO BIG DEAL!

    Roman is so egotistical that he has the temerity to buy a player without asking the manager. I hope Roman continues to waste this sort of cash on bad judgements. To this end, I hope Torres continues to fail in front of goal. As chelsea fans say - it doesn't matter anyway, we'll just replace him!!!

    How many more years will it take for chelsea to operate within their means? I for one CANNOT EVER envisage that day! Like a drug addict, chelsea are 100% reliant on Roman and always will be. Who would buy the massive loss making club anyway? You could buy leeds utd or many other clubs like newcastle, villa, spurs, everton, forest for much, much less. Chelsea were a medium club before Roman and when he eventually throws the towel in that's what they'll be again! Now Roman has city to contend with as well as utd, chelsea are not going to be as successful in the next 8 years as in the last.

  • Comment number 66.

    Didn't he speak about his problem recently in an interview?
    Oh Yea
    Chelsea's midfield is too slow

  • Comment number 67.

    "As Alan Hansen says" has Torres left Liverpool? Okay I'll start laying into him, then. Lend me your new line about £50m being great business for Liverpool football club would you please Lawro.

    2 years later: £35m for Andy Carrol? No wonder Roy Hodgson was sacked.

  • Comment number 68.

    To show pace, one needs SPACE. How can he hope for space, when 99% of games opposition is pinned back to their penalty box and with 7 Chelsea players around him? Even in a game against ManU, they've retreated back after quick goal by Hernandez. That's a type of games that Drogba thrives on, overpowering and outmuscling opposition defenders.

    Liverpool's counterattacking play with a lone striker was suiting Torres more. Hence, I doubt he will ever be useful (or worth 50M pricetag) for us.

  • Comment number 69.

    I agree with most of what @52 had to say (donkey shooting analogy aside); the apparent failure of a league's most expensive player constitutes a story, even if you don't like it.

    It is interesting that the ex-Chelsea and the ex-Liverpool players hold exactly the views you would expect them to. The truth for me probably lies somewhere in between. Comments regarding Chelsea's slower build up and shoot on sight players make sense too. Torres will not replicate his best Liverpool years at Chelsea with the current system but that doesn't mean he isn't capable given the correct conditions.

  • Comment number 70.

    Torres was one of the best strikers in the world in his first 2 years at Liverpool, unfortunately Chelsea did not have someone like Gerrard to thrive forward an make Torres to get into goal scoring positions and create space for Torres to trouble the defence. However with the signing of Mata, Torres may find goals this season but he will never be to his prime best of what he was at Liverpool. So glad liverpool got £50 million for him and signed SUAREZ!! who was cheaper, is younger and has more stamina (shame about Andy that 35mill has not showed his price tag)

  • Comment number 71.

    Maybe De Gea will let a deflected Lampard mis-hit bounce off him and Torres will tap it in. Ferguson will then sub the keeper and use his post-match BBC interview to praise Kelly Dalglish for spotting Lindegaard's potential.

  • Comment number 72.

    I quote "He worked out the percentages, which were that he probably had a 35% chance of scoring and Mata had a 95% chance of scoring, and reached the correct conclusion."

    really... really????

    I'm sure Torres arived in the box, got out his abacus and evaluated a mathermatical equasion before setting up Mata. Get a grip!

  • Comment number 73.

    65. At 18:05 16th Sep 2011, red_optimism wrote:

    Roman is so egotistical that he has the temerity to buy a player without asking the manager.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Have you got a source for this?

    I've never seen a reputable report which suggests that Torres was anything other than a normal, managerially requested acquisition.

  • Comment number 74.

    70. At 18:36 16th Sep 2011, Kopking2011 wrote:

    Torres was one of the best strikers in the world in his first 2 years at Liverpool
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Really? Having watched Torres in England and Spain, I'd say that he is an excellent striker. World class? perhaps. ''One of the best strikers in the world''? Not really. Unless you count his fleeting purple-patch at Liverpool, scoring goals against some highly questionable Premier League defences.

    The fact is, the only people who tell us how exceptionally great Torres is/was are, either, Liverpool fans (the same group of fans who tell us that Stephen Kelly is going to be the next big thing, despite the fact that he'll get offloaded for about £2m to a team like Blackburn or Wolves in a couple of years time), and Sky Sports-indoctrinated Premier League ''fans'' who have no interest or knowledge of football outside what Sky Sports tells them/show them.

  • Comment number 75.

    Pat is right.

    Lets wait till the end of the season.

    I really would like to see ALAN HANSENs are wrong and run away with tail down between the legs.

  • Comment number 76.

    73. At 18:57 16th Sep 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    65. At 18:05 16th Sep 2011, red_optimism wrote:

    Roman is so egotistical that he has the temerity to buy a player without asking the manager.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Have you got a source for this?

    I've never seen a reputable report which suggests that Torres was anything other than a normal, managerially requested acquisition.

    _____________

    I have never seen or heard a report to the contrary (other than CFC spin - they're not gonna tell the fans are they).

    This isn't a court of law! I don't have to provide evidence. Most people would probably agree (other than chelsea fans) that Roman's tinkering cost you last years title. Was it Carlo's decision to get rid of Wilkins? What was the CFC spin in that situation?

    At least you didn't object to everythong else I wrote, so you have some sense LOL ;)

  • Comment number 77.

    1st off I have to admit that I probably got it wrong in January. I thought Liverpool should have kept Torres and taken the money in the summer (my reasoning was hard to get a replacement at such short notice at a reasonable fee and bad Torres was better than nothing).
    I actually wonder if the sale of Torres helped Liverpool in some ways. Had he stayed I think there would have been pressure on Kenny to keep playing Torres and that might have ended up affecting the Liverpool results (Liverpool fans what do you think?)

    Will Torres get it back -if he has lost a bit of pace then he will have to adapt. I think he might prefer to adapt like a Giggs rather than an Owen though (in terms of success in adapting rather than the specific changes to the game). If he cannot adapt then I think he'll fade away (I hope he doesn't because as several have said for a couple of years he was fantastic - wish we'd had him at United)

  • Comment number 78.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 79.

    In my opinion I believe Liverpool done the right thing in letting Fernando Torres go when he did. Before Torres was sold his form was awful and he looked like he could not be bothered with not 100% being put into every game. His 2010 world cup campaign with Spain did not exactly help him either. Liverpool made the right deal at the right time by using that money to bring in a striker that has bags of potential. But the question is can Torres regain his form with Chelsea?

    I believe that Torres can regain his golden form IF he is played in a different position with that being on the left side of a 4-3-3. I know this sounds a bit worse but how much more worse can it get for him. We all know Torres can cut inside on his right foot and score goals with a memorable and ironic one against Chelsea last season. In my opinion Torres should play on the left with Drogba down the middle. I think his performance will get better but not necessarily him scoring goals but setting them up.

    He set both Chelsea goals up in midweek with one goal coming from him cutting in form the left to set up Mata. I stress the fact of placing him on the left of a 4-3-3 because he is going to have slightly more time and space to work in to get past players with his speed that we all know he has in his locker. Teams who play Chelsea half of the time park the bus anyway and Torres isn't the one to muscle defenders out of the way, that's Drogba's role. Place Torres on the left and we will start to see the old Torres again, maybe not scoring as many goals as he did but certainly contributing a lot more to Chelsea's goals.

  • Comment number 80.

    74. At 19:13 16th Sep 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    70. At 18:36 16th Sep 2011, Kopking2011 wrote:

    Torres was one of the best strikers in the world in his first 2 years at Liverpool
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Really? Having watched Torres in England and Spain, I'd say that he is an excellent striker. World class? perhaps. ''One of the best strikers in the world''? Not really. Unless you count his fleeting purple-patch at Liverpool, scoring goals against some highly questionable Premier League defences.

    The fact is, the only people who tell us how exceptionally great Torres is/was are, either, Liverpool fans (the same group of fans who tell us that Stephen Kelly is going to be the next big thing, despite the fact that he'll get offloaded for about £2m to a team like Blackburn or Wolves in a couple of years time), and Sky Sports-indoctrinated Premier League ''fans'' who have no interest or knowledge of football outside what Sky Sports tells them/show them.

    __________________

    Confusing!

    I take it you mean martin kelly as he actually plays for liverpool. I can't see what stephen kelly has to do with it!

    Please enlighten me. You obviously have a knowledge that extends beyond sky, MotD, the media etc...

  • Comment number 81.

    Well done Tess McGill!
    Last year when Wayne Rooney completely lost his form, football pundits discussed whether Rooney will ever regain his form, or maybe he was "rubbish" from the very beginning. Where are those pundits now?

  • Comment number 82.

    all of you guys are stupid for not knowing the simple reason for his poor form...
    its obviously his HAIRCUT!!

    remember how he used to score lots of goals for Liverpool when he had them long girly hair? Ya he needs to grow them back....the goals will come be flying in after that

  • Comment number 83.

    @67

    Kenny Dalglish bought Caroll ... DOH!!!!!

    90% of what is written on here is partizan drivel, with the odd diamond in the rough. Most of you don't have a clue about football. All this about if Torres came back to Liverpool he'd be amazing again....give me a break.......logic of a 3 year old child.

  • Comment number 84.

    He will NEVER be anything more than an average player now and the main reasons are simple. He enjoys being the star man. At Athletico, he was a big fish in a small pond. Pretty much the same at Anfield, he had no competition for his place. As soon as he is under a bit of pressure to perform, he has no form. Soon he will be leaving to go to Italy and slowly from there he will keep on declining until in a few years time we will all laugh at the £50mil chelski wasted on another player.

  • Comment number 85.

    All this Torres bashing, its just history repeating itself!!.....rewind back a few years ago when chelsea bought another world class striker! In the shape of Shevchenko!

    With any striker, you need to play to his strengths and just like they did with Shevchenko Chelsea are not doing that with Torres!!......Liverpool got the best out of him because they got the ball forward quickly, which alowed him to use his pace to turn the defence or get in behind and finish like he undoubtably can.

    Torres is suffering because of Chelsea's knack of playing to the strengths of there attacking midfielders..eg. Frank Lampard arriving in the box to score from a cutback!!

    Torres doesn't want cutbacks, he wants early balls through the middle or even down the channel to prove his worth!!

    Only one Chelsea manager tried to change this......Phil Scholari......
    and with the player power at Stamford Bridge, Chesea's egotistical big heads soon put payed to that idea!!

    Fernando, if you read this, engineer yourself a move asap mate as they'll never change and they dont deserve you!!!!

  • Comment number 86.

    If Torres wasn't responsible for Chelsea's form in the second half of last season when they came from well behind to catch up, was it Lampard's form as it was him that was out injured when they were dropping lots of points?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Lampard certainly had form when he came back, including the ability to score goals that didn't cross the line ;)

  • Comment number 87.

    To me it seems psychological. He has always been a player who 'whinges' - looking at the negative side of things. SO when he starts doing the same at his own game he's got into a downward spiral that it will be difficult to get out of. At the moment everything that goes wrong (from the simplest pass to a shot at goal) is, in his own mind, yet another disaster. Either luck, or a change of league, could break it - or a good psychologist.

  • Comment number 88.

    Phil any chance of you writing an article or are BBC happy for you to just fill articles with quotes??

    Why is the Torres topic still an issue?

    Fact 1 is my club Chelsea paid over the odds for a striker again (but so did Liverpool with Carroll)
    Fact 2 Torres has is going through a horrendous spell in terms of goalscoring
    Fact 3 His all round play and effort is improving with each game

    Anything else is just rumour, speculation and opinion.....

  • Comment number 89.

    82. At 19:53 16th Sep 2011, gurung wrote:
    all of you guys are stupid for not knowing the simple reason for his poor form...
    its obviously his HAIRCUT!!

    remember how he used to score lots of goals for Liverpool when he had them long girly hair? Ya he needs to grow them back....the goals will come be flying in after that

    _______________________

    should Andy Carroll cut or grow then? Did he have a ponytail when Newcastle were in the championship (scoring 50% of his career league goals)? In 2009/10 Carroll was joint 6th league top scorer tied with Sigurðsson, Nolan, Earnshaw (behind Whittingham, Maynard, Hooper, Adam and Chopra and only Adam played for a promoted club - via play offs). Which of these contemporaries changed their hair and did it affect their games too? I wonder?

  • Comment number 90.

    Torres, I believe, has made the fatal mistake of believing in all his own publicity.

    The Liverpool team under Rafa were essentially built to serve him; it is no coincidence that his best spell came at a time where Liverpool were on fire during 2008 and 2009. His best form always co-incided with Gerrard playing just off him in a 4-5-1. As soon as Gerrard started picking up niggling injuries from late 2009 onwards, and Hodgson then came in and changed the system, it's no coincidence that he started to go off the boil.

    Then, he made his fatal error: believing a move to Chelsea would be a cure for all that. Unfortunately he joined a team that already had Anelka and Drogba, and I don't think he was used to having competition for a starting place which he certainly didn't have to worry about at Liverpool. Add in the fact that Chelsea employ a 4-3-3 system (occasionally 4-4-2), this was a system alien to him after 4 years at Liverpool.

    There is no one reason for his loss of form, rather a collection of several. That, for me, illustrates the problem he is going to have recapturing his best. There's no quick fix. He needs to be the focal point of a 4-5-1, with a Gerrard-type figure playing just off him. Will he get that at Chelsea? I'm not convinced, and I see only further difficulty for Torres.

  • Comment number 91.

    I still don't understand why Chelsea bought him and why Liverpool sold him. He was the target man at Anfield and scored goals, at Chelsea with Drogba and Anelka they didn't need another target man. But what do I know, I'm a Man U fan.

  • Comment number 92.

    I don't understand, Torres is lacking form and confidence, Man United sent Wayne Rooney off to America when he was pretty much going through the same crisis as Torres. Why don't they just ship him off to the Nike training camp like Rooney!!
    Its worked for United and surely its worth a shot hey??
    I like the guy and loved watching him at his best, come on Chelsea or loan him to Ipswich for free!

  • Comment number 93.

    I think he's just been in a slump. He looked great in the Bayer match. I think he is on the verge of breaking out of it. He's on a much better side than he was at Liverpool, things will click together soon. I do agree the duration of is slump is befuddling, but he's due.

  • Comment number 94.

    Oh Phil. Come on you know Torres is finished. Just the same way Rooney was finished last season.

  • Comment number 95.

    Gotta say, I've been loving this run of form, but someone as good as Torres doesn't just become crap overnight. Yes, he's lost some pace, but in contrast, with new signings at CFC he WILL be getting better service at Chelsea than he was at Liverpool. He's already looking sharper and it's only a matter of time surely before he's slotting them in again. In any case - £50m is too much bunce and LFC and NUFC have been the only winners here.

  • Comment number 96.

    80. At 19:47 16th Sep 2011, red_optimism wrote:

    I take it you mean martin kelly as he actually plays for liverpool. I can't see what stephen kelly has to do with it!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, yes, obviously I meant Martin Kelly! I made the internet equivalent of a ''slip of the tongue'', and there is not edit feature on these blogs.

    It's obvious, regarding my remarks, that I was referring to Martin Kelly of Liverpool.

    My minor slip-up doesn't detract from my point; Liverpool fans tend to rave about an average defender like Kelly because he plays for their team. Compare the reputation of a player like him with his actual ability and potential, and you'll see that a lot of Liverpool fans are vastly overrating players like him, desperately looking for the next half-decent ''local lad'' to emerge through their system.

    Similarly, Liverpool fans will grossly overrate the ability of other players who play, or who have played, for them. eg. Fernando Torres.

  • Comment number 97.

    30.At 16:13 16th Sep 2011, lippyrich wrote:
    Sorry guys but the usual case of Loserpool not being able to look after a fine player and flogging them to death has ruined another career just like Owen and Gerrard heavy dependance on one or two players means they end up playing them when they are not fit, next one will be Suarez then Carroll. Your club ruins players and has done ever since the late 80's.

    ------------------------

    Sorry you must have forgot Alonso, Masherano and Arbeloa i believe they have had fairly decent careers since Liverpool if im not mistaken..............your mistake.

  • Comment number 98.

    The addition of Mata and Meireles should go some way in allowing Torres to perform to a higher standard. There's no point shifting Torres into an unfamiliar position or persisting with a muscular 4-3-3 as his best football was played when he was at the top of a 4-4-1-1 with Liverpool.

    Last season Ancelotti didn't alter the system to accommodate Torres he just replaced Drogba with Torres to appease the boss and look where that got him. His problems were compounded by Chelsea's one-dimensional, paper-thin squad that didn't allow for any tactical flexibility.

    Chelsea are a team in transition with a squad that has been allowed to stagnate. Their characteristic manner of playing and the personalities that have dominated the dressing room (which led to the ousting of Luiz Felipe Scolari) has created a situation of inertia whereby managers have been unable to exert the necessary influence to rebuild the squad or even change the tactical blueprint.

    Torres does look to be a vanity purchase on the part of Abramovich but unlike Ancelotti, Villas-Boas has been allowed to bring in reinforcements that could inspire a change of fortunes for Torres. Mata and Meireles are a good start, and Ramires has been in good form at the start of this season. It's also refreshing to see Bosingwa playing again. He has suffered with injuries and managers post-Scolari have been reticent to play him, but it is no surprise that he still has the ability to maraud down the right and function as a useful attacking presence.

    The notion that Torres has lost that all important 'yard of pace' over-simplifies his qualities as a player. Torres was all about phenomenal movement and great finishing. With someone to provide the passes, Torres could find the gaps in between defence and score goals. Chelsea needed a traditional number ten, something they didn't have until they purchased Juan Mata. The failure to get Modric could be a blessing in disguise as Mata will also score goals as well as pick a pass.

    Drogba and Torres doesn't work together, Anelka seems to perform whenever he is called upon and Daniel Sturridge certainly deserves to be in contention for a place. Torres still isn't hitting the back of the net and that's the statistic that really matters. If Villas-Boas can get the Mata-Torres partnership working (but with Mata providing the assists and Torres the goals rather than vice-versa as against Leverkusen) then that will be all well and good. If the drought continues then who knows what will happen to Torres? It would be a sad end for a player who has both a World Cup and European Championship winners medal but will more likely go down in history as the greatest waste of money in football.

  • Comment number 99.

    As a kop season ticket holder I can reluctantly reassure Chelsea fans that Torres is not finished. Comparisons with Michael Owen are not valid as Owen never had a top class first touch, did not have the physical power of Torres and scored fewer goals from outside the box, therefore when he lost his pace he was a pretty average footballer outside the penalty area. Torres on the other hand still has freat touch and posseses the physical attributes to lead the line as well or play off another striker. Despite this he will not be able to be the central striker in a counterattacking formation as he is no longer able to run past most central defenders or turn inside them and go through on goal. Torres is not finished but he is only two thirds of the striker he was three years ago.

  • Comment number 100.

    89. At 20:37 16th Sep 2011, red_optimism wrote:

    should Andy Carroll cut or grow then?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Definitely short hair and clean shaven. Then he's more likely to get refused service at bars, nightclubs and off-licences...

 

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