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Is Torres Liverpool's missing link?

Premiership Liverpool
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Fernando Torres is being painted as the final piece in Liverpool's jigsaw - a puzzle that remains incomplete after 17 title-free years at Anfield.

"The final piece of the jigsaw" is a phrase that has become synonymous with Liverpool in an era when they have failed to win the trophy they covet most.

The pieces have been assembled by a succession of managers, only for men like Graeme Souness, Roy Evans and latterly Gerard Houllier to find another crucial bit had gone astray.

Boss Benitez has suffered a similar fate, despite successes in the Champions League and the FA Cup.

The list is endless - Paul Ince, Stan Collymore, Harry Kewell and Djibril Cisse to name but a few.

Now Torres is poised to take on the cursed mantle, complete with a huge 26.5m transfer fee and a lavish six-year contact to match.

The 23-year-old Spain striker will be under pressure to deliver - but this deal has as much riding on it for Benitez as it has for Liverpool.

Benitez has cited a lack of funds and an inability to compete for A-list stars as reasons for his failure to get anywhere near the Premiership pace-setters.

He made his most pointed accusations in what appeared to be a fit of pique after the Champions League final defeat against AC Milan in Athens in May.

It is a claim which will draw gales of laughter from some clubs, given the scale of investment handed to him by Liverpool's board in the last three seasons - much of it spent on very ordinary players.

It is also a claim he can never make again - not when new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks have broken Liverpool's transfer record in such emphatic style.

The arrival of Torres is as much a defining test of Benitez's title credentials as it is of the young Spanish striker's glowing reputation.

There can be no more excuses if they fail to threaten Manchester United and Chelsea this season.

Torres is A-list and expensive; a symbol of the sort of player Benitez claims has been out of his reach before.

Now he has got him, bought and paid for in a record-breaking manner, he can no longer use finance as his shield against expectations.

And yet, despite his undoubted quality, Torres comes with an element of risk as well as an expensive price tag.

He is powerful, athletic, proven in Spain, if not beyond, and able to play as a lone striker as well as in a partnership.

But he is untested in the Premier League and is so costly that inevitably huge pressure will be placed upon him.

Benitez must hope he does not suffer the same fate as Fernando Morientes, who arrived at Anfield amid much fanfare.

He was a failure, skulking back to Spain quick-smart complaining that defenders in the top flight had the affrontery to tackle him. And tackle him quite hard.

Torres is the identikit of the sort of player Liverpool need to add to a miserly defence and an array of midfield talent.

If he comes off he could actually be, well, the last piece of the jigsaw.

Liverpool lost points and games they should have won last season because they were essentially a blunt instrument in attack.

Craig Bellamy has not been up to the job and, while Dirk Kuyt may have a heart as big as a bucket, he is hardly ruthless operator in front of goal.

Peter Crouch remains Liverpool's most reliable striker, but Benitez would not trust him with a starting place in the Champions League final.

Torres must come up with the goals his price tag demands - and this is because the stakes are as high for Benitez as they are for Liverpool.

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posted Jul 5, 2007

Having watched the Primera Liga for the last few seasons (coutesy of S4C's Sgorio - great show! - and SS) Torres is undoubtedly a fantastic prospect. Yes, there are the "Morientes" arguments, but remember when he came to Liverpool, he had been reduced to being Michael Owen's bench buddy at Real Madrid. He was low on confidence and prone to injuries. FT however is a big powerful player, confident and technically superb. I think he will be able to link up well with both Dirk (and in turn bring him out of his shell) and Crouchy, and we'll see a lot more goals from the Reds next year. Combined with a rock solid defence, and a midfield boasting the likes of Stevie, Masch and Xabi that makes us genuine title contenders.

I'm not quite sure where this whole "we need more wingers" argument comes from. Okay, Rafa will probably bring in a new face but I wouldn't be too unduly concerned if the right player didn't become available. I think Harry, back to full fitness and looking to be in sparkling form, will be a huge bonus, and we'll see Pennant improve tremendously this season. I genuinely think he'll be pushing for a place in England's 2008 Euro Champs squad (should of course they get there!). Coupled with high quality players like Riise, Finnan, Arbeloa... there is plenty of width already in the squad.

With Chelsea desperate to get their hands back on the title, United keen to retain it, Liverpool with more than a shout as well, Arsenal, Spurs and Everton more than capable of beating the top sides in a one-off league game, this is shaping up to be the most exciting top flight season for a long time! Bring it on!

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posted Jul 5, 2007

I agree totally with Nico.

I have offered the Constructive view over nearly 20 years now - since we (Liverpool) last won the Title, that there is 1 common denominator. ie. We have NEVER replaced John Barnes as a World Class winger, that He was during His peak. Liverpool have not had at least 1 wide player of His type during the last 20 years and it is not just coincidence that we have not won the league.

Part of building a top team to win the English Title - you must have top wingers, who can go past defenders and open the game up - out wide. MU proved that last season, you don't need a 25 goal Striker - if you have top wingers and a top class midfield that can play attacking football and all score goals.

I don't honestly know who Liverpool will sign next, but I listened to Rafa yesterday saying they were now targeting some wide men. Any offers who you think Liverpool might go after??

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posted Jul 5, 2007

the sinal piece rubbish is just that, rubbish.

It NEVER happens that way, NEVER has one player made that much fo a difference, the difference is caused by several top players finding a level of consistncy and understanding, that is why often inferior players beat superior ones.

If he can get a good understanding with Gerrard and Alonso it will help.

In reality though Liverpool are still a number of players short of even a top rated squad. They need at least one top quality winger who can take players on, yes they have two good ones in Riise and Gerrard (when he plays there) but neither will go past someone. They also need another top centre back, Agger and Carragher are great but a third is needed desperately.

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posted Jul 5, 2007

One player, no matter how good he is will not make you 21 points better.

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posted Jul 5, 2007

There's a lot of players in the liverpool team that I can see maturing this season, same as the machester united team finally came together last season. That's going to be a key point I think, a lot of people were writing man utd off last year but they had lots of young players already in place who all of a sudden gelled with the experienced players already there. I can see something similar happening with liverpool: players like kuyt, agger, mascherano, sissoko, alonso, pennant hopefully should all come to fulfil their potential this season. Throw in the consistancy of Carra, Stevie G, Finnan,Reina, Crouch and we've got the making of a very dangerous team there. The main problem is the left side, heinze would be a brilliant signing freeing up more options with Riise(who's very much under-rated in my own opinion), the returning Aureilio & Kewell and possibly another addition.
I know loads of people will disagree and slag off the players I've rated but sky's are bright over anfield as far as I'm concerned

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posted Jul 5, 2007

comment by DaveIndieRed
posted 3 Hours Ago
I'm not quite sure where this whole "we need more wingers" argument comes from. Okay, Rafa will probably bring in a new face but I wouldn't be too unduly concerned if the right player didn't become available. I think Harry, back to full fitness and looking to be in sparkling form, will be a huge bonus, and we'll see Pennant improve tremendously this season. I genuinely think he'll be pushing for a place in England's 2008 Euro Champs squad (should of course they get there!). Coupled with high quality players like Riise, Finnan, Arbeloa... there is plenty of width already in the squad.

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

Gotta disagree there, quality wingers are key to any title winning side. Look at the recent arsenal title winning sides (ljunberg pires etc.) the man utd title winning sides (going as far back as beckham upto today's ronaldo) and for a more recent example look what happened to chelsea last season when less emphasis was placed on wingers to accomodate all those central midfielders...they only went and lost the title. I'm not saying wingers are the be all and end all but high quality wingers have been a common factor in pretty much every major title winning side.

Our current crop are pretty good and I think they could definitely make a significant impact next season but win the title??? I'm not so sure, we need another winger one who could play either side and isn't afraid to take on defenders before delivering a sublime cross for our new and improved strike force.

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posted Jul 6, 2007

win the title no chance,la liga maybe,liverpool have more spanish players than
Real or Barca.Get the gloves and tights ready
Nando is another lightweight.

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posted Jul 8, 2007

I think Torres is a good signing for liverpool. Although I think it is true that one player cnt win you the Premiership.BUT if Torres starts playing well then it will give confidence to the entire team, resulting in the team play well, if the team plays well, then thats what wins you titles. Torres will need time to settle, he wnt make the explosive start that liverpool have lacked in recent seasons, i think he will start to shine at the end of the year (a bit like tevez). I think Liverpool need to sign a quality winger with pace, that has Premiership expeience, and can make an exlosive start e.g robben, lennon, swp, and possibly Duff. And a 3 choice center back 2 cover for carra/agger.

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posted Jul 9, 2007

Anyone who knows Phil McNulty on a personal basis, knows he is a big Everton fan. Anyone who knows Everton fans knows that many seem to find it difficult to be objective about LFC (just as many Reds find it difficult to be objective about the 'BS'). Unfortunately, despite his BBC training/status, Mr. McNulty's sneering tone in the piece above tends to undermine any substance his argument might contain. Dotubless he will continue in this vein next season? Smell the toffee, Phil. That's all from the sports desk.

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posted Jul 9, 2007

You are an idiot - Mascherano is one of the most highly rated midfielders in World football

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