Fernando Torres needs time to recover form after injuries
Ex-Liverpool midfielder and Sky pundit Jamie Redknapp voiced a surprisingly harsh assessment of Fernando Torres’ recent performances and current demeanour on the pitch during the Reds’ goalless draw at St Andrew’s last Sunday.
The former club captain at Anfield branded Torres’ display at Birmingham as “diabolical” and suggested the Spain star had “shown no appetite for the game, looked frustrated, sloppy and lethargic”.
Redknapp’s frank appraisal prompted Roy Hodgson to defend his prized asset. The 63-year-old Liverpool boss prudently dismissed the panellist’s claims, insisting he has no concerns over the Spanish striker’s mentality and reassuring worried Reds supporters the club’s record signing would get “better and better” with each match.
Hodgson, rightly, urged for patience – too often in recent years has the indispensable forward been rushed back into the front-line causing damaging effects on the player’s long-term fitness.
The 26-year-old missed large portions of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 campaigns due to reoccurring injuries, but former Liverpool boss Rafael BenÃƒÂtez utilised Torres when the preferable option would have been to allow the striker a sustained period of rest.
Of course, the Spanish manager was under unremitting pressure and it was a case of need which dictated the decision to continue playing Torres through a knee injury. But the result was an exhausted forward.
Hodgson has taken a different stance.
The former Fulham manager opted to rely on David N’Gog to lead the line and allow Torres a period of rehabilitation from a knee operation in May and a difficult summer at the World Cup. Torres was dropped from Spain’s starting line-up for the semi-final and final, and casted an exasperated figure as he pulled up sharply in the closing moments of his country’s 1-0 win over the Netherlands.
Redknapp’s comments were astonishingly short-sighted considering the player is still returning to full fitness and is searching for some much-needed confidence after a difficult year thus far. Furthermore, a long-haul flight with his national side to Argentina for a friendly in which he gained no playing time will have affected his energy levels.
As the cliched saying goes: form is temporary, class is permanent. With the correct nurturing it is inevitable Torres will recreate the sort of eye-catching performances that helped the former Atletico Madrid captain strike fear into some of the best defences Europe has to offer.
The overall position of the club, with Liverpool readjusting after the departure of BenÃƒÂtez and arrival of Hodgson, means every player at Anfield is having to acclimatise to the new manager’s philosophies. It was a below-par team performance at St Andrew’s that magnified Torres’ disconsolate figure.
To suggest the player is no longer committed the club is simply ludicrous. His recent comments only serve to exemplify the devotion he has to the club and its supporters.
“The Liverpool fans are great, when you play well they are behind you and when you are not playing the best they are still behind you,” said Liverpool’s number nine.
“We are the two most successful teams in England but it has not been nice for the Liverpool fans to watch Manchester United have so much success over the recent years,” referring to Liverpool’s next league match at Old Trafford.
“We have a great squad and a great manager, and we really hope to give the fans a trophy this season, as well as beating Manchester United for them.”