Even when it looks like the understanding between Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard and striker Fernando Torres couldn’t be improved any more, it does.
Saturday’s victory over Newcastle United saw the pair steal the show, creating goals for each other in the 3-0 romp at Anfield. So impressive were they that Rafael Benitez felt comfortable in giving both a rest, both subbed by the 72nd minute, ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Inter Milan.
Benitez believes Torres’ arrival at the club, from Athletico Madrid last summer, has helped improve Gerrard this season. After the thumping of the Geordies on Saturday, the Spainard said, “With the freedom he has now and his quality going forward, he’s unstoppable. Stevie now has the same freedom he had as a right winger when he came inside.
“He’s enjoying it because he knows he can go forward with no problem.
“The understanding with Fernando is also very good. He knows that when he goes forward he can pick him out easily.
“It could be that they bring out the best in each other.”
Torres himself also spoke of the fantastic understanding he has with the Reds skipper. He says, “When you play alongside a player like Stevie, it is easy to score like I have been. I am very comfortable with the partnership I have with Stevie and he is comfortable with me. We now must play like this for a long time together.
“We know where each other is running, where we are. I score, Stevie scores, and the team is winning. That is the most important thing.
“We both do our jobs and the team is winning. That is all we are trying to do.”
Former Liverpool striker, and now manager for the second time of struggling Newcastle, Kevin Keegan, was amazed by the Gerrard/Torres combination which ripped his team apart at the weekend.
“Liverpool have the players who can really hurt you and, in Gerrard and Torres, they certainly had that,’ Keegan said, ‘œThey are building a good partnership, realising the strengths of each other, and they are exploiting that on the pitch.
“The partnership with Gerrard is a combination that can only get better.”
The Telegraph’s Oliver Brown explained the contrast in the dazzling delights put on by Gerrard and Torres in comparison to the bleak display by Keegan’s men.
To watch Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, the wonder-horses of Rafael Benitez’s team, combine so effortlessly was in contrast to Michael Owen, played first as the loneliest of lone strikers and then in an alien central midfield station, reduced to a lame mule by comparison.