Matt Ladson

Editor

You can’t blame Torres for his current form

Fernando Torres Liverpool 2010/11 Birmingham City V Liverpool (0-0) 12/09/10 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

There was an incident in the Merseyside derby this weekend that had many Liverpool supporters discussing post-match.

It occurred in the opening minutes when Jamie Carragher and Fernando Torres had an exchange following a Carra pass which the defender wasn’t happy the Spaniard hadn’t made the run down the channel to receive. Carra expressed his annoyance at Torres and he returned by putting his finger to his lips to signal for him to be quiet.

There’s several interpretations of this. The one that some have adopted is this seemingly common belief that Torres’ workrate is now poor and this is just another instance of such.

I take grievance with this belief for numerous reasons. Not least because Carra’s distribution from the back has never been the strongest part of his game so who could blame Torres for not expecting his pass to get where he wants it.

Joking aside, the criticism of Torres is very, very unfair.

The over-reliance on the Spaniard – again no backup was signed this summer despite every single one of us knowing that was required – is one of the major factors in this saga. We’re talking about a player who has struggled with injuries for the best part of the last two years but as soon as he’s fit again is thrown straight back in there, just as he was against Everton. Because we have nobody else.

Torres is rightly regarded as one of the best forwards in the world. He was persuaded to stay this summer, given more false promises from the club when a host of top clubs around Europe were sniffing around and offering Champions League football.

Now he finds himself playing under a manager who is no longer playing to his strengths, as Benitez did with Torres, but instead playing completely opposite. Under Rafa we pressed high up the pitch, played a high tempo game (where possible) and looked to regain possession further forward in order to release Torres early and give him one-on-one situations. Under Hodgson we sit a lot, lot deeper, preferring to defend and maintain shape than press the opposition. Subsequently our attacks are slow and easy to defend against. The opposition get numbers behind the ball and Torres’ strengths are isolated.

A Frustrated Fernando Torres Liverpool 2010/11 Everton V Liverpool (2-0) 17/10/10 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

The lack of support for Torres is fatal to our whole team and it shows. Not just in terms of results but our performances and the number of chances he gets. Thesedays the best Torres can hope for is a half-chance, like the header in the first half. Nobody should be expecting him to put them away, rightly so. That’s the best he’s getting though, the odd half-chance per game. No forward can return on that. Christ, Andy Cole would score 1 every decade with that service.

Continuing to play Torres up front on his own but changing our style of play has led to him being completely isolated in attack, becoming frustrated and having to drop deeper or wider to get into the game. Therefore when he does get on the ball he’s easily marked, by more than one defender, and is forced into trying to create something himself. No wonder it doesn’t happen.

If Hodgson is going to persist with his 1980′s tactics he has to at least change the balance of the team by giving Torres more support. You cannot change the style but keep the same formation, it’s not working, clearly.

But that for me isn’t the answer. The answer is to play to the strengths of a player who, on his day, is the best forward in World football. That means the manager changing his ways (not likely) or the manager changing (here’s hoping).

Hodgson’s use of Torres has been disgraceful. As somebody on an LFC forum said this week, it’s like paying Gordon Ramsey 100k a week to be your personal chef when all you want to eat is beans on toast.

Torres is frustrated – just like the rest of us. Give him the support he needs.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GQNFM57ZHFMK4ZGCCPAOY7BVQQ Paul

    were 4getting roy also fell out wiv agger our best defender at 1st now its torres whose next gerrard that way he can blame evry position but himself roy just go and do 1 we never wanted u here in the first place only the yanks hicks and gillet but now there gone u shud do the same

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GQNFM57ZHFMK4ZGCCPAOY7BVQQ Paul

    were 4getting roy also fell out wiv agger our best defender at 1st now its torres whose next gerrard that way he can blame evry position but himself roy just go and do 1 we never wanted u here in the first place only the yanks hicks and gillet but now there gone u shud do the same

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GQNFM57ZHFMK4ZGCCPAOY7BVQQ Paul

    were 4getting roy also fell out wiv agger our best defender at 1st now its torres whose next gerrard that way he can blame evry position but himself roy just go and do 1 we never wanted u here in the first place only the yanks hicks and gillet but now there gone u shud do the same

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GQNFM57ZHFMK4ZGCCPAOY7BVQQ Paul

    were 4getting roy also fell out wiv agger our best defender at 1st now its torres whose next gerrard that way he can blame evry position but himself roy just go and do 1 we never wanted u here in the first place only the yanks hicks and gillet but now there gone u shud do the same

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GQNFM57ZHFMK4ZGCCPAOY7BVQQ Paul

    were 4getting roy also fell out wiv agger our best defender at 1st now its torres whose next gerrard that way he can blame evry position but himself roy just go and do 1 we never wanted u here in the first place only the yanks hicks and gillet but now there gone u shud do the same

  • Sparq

    For the record, Yes I didn’t want Rafa to go, A little disillusioned with him yes, but after finishing 2nd in the League and having no real money to spend to strengthen,
    Having to sell to buy (when it was obvious if ever H&G needed to give transfer funds, it was that year) I thought he was entitled to have One bad season (Atrocious).

    In my opinion Rafa at the very least should have been given 12 months to get us back on course.

    That said, Capello and Pelligrini were my personal choices when Rafa was Sacked.

    2 managers who know how to deal with egos !
    Sparq2112

  • Sparq

    For the record, Yes I didn’t want Rafa to go, A little disillusioned with him yes, but after finishing 2nd in the League and having no real money to spend to strengthen,
    Having to sell to buy (when it was obvious if ever H&G needed to give transfer funds, it was that year) I thought he was entitled to have One bad season (Atrocious).

    In my opinion Rafa at the very least should have been given 12 months to get us back on course.

    That said, Capello and Pelligrini were my personal choices when Rafa was Sacked.

    2 managers who know how to deal with egos !
    Sparq2112

  • Sparq

    For the record, Yes I didn’t want Rafa to go, A little disillusioned with him yes, but after finishing 2nd in the League and having no real money to spend to strengthen,
    Having to sell to buy (when it was obvious if ever H&G needed to give transfer funds, it was that year) I thought he was entitled to have One bad season (Atrocious).

    In my opinion Rafa at the very least should have been given 12 months to get us back on course.

    That said, Capello and Pelligrini were my personal choices when Rafa was Sacked.

    2 managers who know how to deal with egos !
    Sparq2112

  • Sparq

    For the record, Yes I didn’t want Rafa to go, A little disillusioned with him yes, but after finishing 2nd in the League and having no real money to spend to strengthen,
    Having to sell to buy (when it was obvious if ever H&G needed to give transfer funds, it was that year) I thought he was entitled to have One bad season (Atrocious).

    In my opinion Rafa at the very least should have been given 12 months to get us back on course.

    That said, Capello and Pelligrini were my personal choices when Rafa was Sacked.

    2 managers who know how to deal with egos !
    Sparq2112

  • Sparq

    For the record, Yes I didn’t want Rafa to go, A little disillusioned with him yes, but after finishing 2nd in the League and having no real money to spend to strengthen,
    Having to sell to buy (when it was obvious if ever H&G needed to give transfer funds, it was that year) I thought he was entitled to have One bad season (Atrocious).

    In my opinion Rafa at the very least should have been given 12 months to get us back on course.

    That said, Capello and Pelligrini were my personal choices when Rafa was Sacked.

    2 managers who know how to deal with egos !
    Sparq2112

  • George33327

    torres is paid enough to go on the pitch and give 100%…his head is not at liverpool ….if i was paid his wages i would give blood for the job…send him to barca to be with his mate villa…cash in on him now….i would sooner see 100% from a reserve player in attack for liverpool …than see 50 % of fernando…same with gerrard…times are moving on and players are getting older..lets see some young blood in the team and build on them…the old days are gone…..the time is now…and next season the players we have now are a little bit older…everything moves on and so should we….

  • Alanwalker152

    I totally agree with the article on torres but its not only that. I know we are stuck with Babel, Lucus etc etc till Jan. BUT PLEASE can we look at Wingers and another Striker then . Until that time can we ATTACKat Home please with some old fashioned guts. Mr Hodgson is a nice Guy but NOT for the long haul

  • Ehab

    great article
    also agree carra should shut it
    probably one of the reasons rafa left – the so called senior players who were unhappy with him
    now he is seemingly very happy with hodgson serves him right
    torres is unhappy because as the star player you should play around him e.g. barcelona around messi
    unfortunately hodgson does not understand that simple fact

  • Douwi125

    Torres doest want to be here anymore. You can see it! He has already said before that he doesnt know how other players cope with everything in the Premiership, and if that doesnt ring alarm bell’s then I don’t know what does. He wants out and is not truly motivated playing for Liverpool, as he thinks he has too much to do there. Which is true, we really do need a few new strikers to ease the pressure on him. I don’t know about everyone else but I would rarther have 3-4 good strikers than 1 world class one. Tottenham have showed us this they have a far better and deeper side than us, they they dont have the 2 world class players like Torres and Gerrard but still to much relieance on just these people.