Torres: I’m At The Best Club

3 08 2010

Fernando Torres has gone on record as saying he is happy at Liverpool and he will be playing his football at Anfield this season. The news broke at 14:00 on Sky Sports News and below is the full interview from the official Liverpool website.

After arriving back to Melwood as a World Cup winner, Fernando Torres sat down with Liverpoolfc.tv to discuss his new manager, the arrival of Joe Cole and his dreams of taking the Reds back to the top of English football.

First of all Fernando, congratulations on winning the World Cup – have you had a good summer?

Yes, as you can imagine it was an amazing day for Spaniards all over the world. Winning the World Cup happens maybe once in your life so it was a fantastic feeling and a great way to end the season. I have had a break over the summer and I’m now glad to be back here at Liverpool to see all of my teammates. [picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=fernando+torres&iid=8468073″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/8468073/sports-news-april-2010/sports-news-april-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=8468073″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]

We know you picked up an injury in the World Cup final. How are you feeling now, are you fit and ready to go again?

Yes, I am looking forward to the first game. I have less than two weeks to get ready but I felt really good in my first session back with the physios and the doctor. I will try to be fit as soon as possible and I am looking forward to playing at Anfield again.

We know it’s hard work early in pre-season, but are you enjoying being back around your teammates again?

Of course. After a nice break enjoying the summer with my family I was looking forward to coming back to Melwood to see the staff, my teammates and the new players. I’m excited about the new season and about the targets of the club.

We obviously have a new manager now who you met in Spain. How impressed are you with Roy Hodgson’s plans for the club and how much are you looking forward to working with him?

I really appreciated the fact that Roy came out to see me while I was on my holidays. He told me about his plans for the club and what he wanted from me and I appreciated that. I hope he will be the right man to reach the targets of Liverpool Football Club and I am really looking forward to working with him. At the moment I am training just on my own but as soon as I can I will train with the team and with the new manager.

Steven Gerrard has already said he is looking forward to the new season, Joe Cole has arrived and made his debut at the weekend – how excited are you about the future here at Liverpool?

I was talking to Stevie a lot today and I also met with Joe. I think Joe is exactly the kind of player we need to improve the history of our club. We are keeping our best players and so it’s nice to be back with them. Hopefully we can play together as soon as possible.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=fernando+torres&iid=4875131″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/4875131/football-liverpool/football-liverpool.jpg?size=500&imageId=4875131″ width=”380″ height=”255″ /]
How excited were you when you heard Joe Cole was signing for Liverpool?

He is the kind of player I like to play with and the kind of player who can take the team to a higher level. His passing is unbelievable so hopefully he can start the season well because I am sure he will be a key player for us.

Joe has said he’s looking forward to creating a lot of chances and a lot of goals for you this season…

Hopefully that will be the case. I’m excited about playing with him and hopefully we can all help him settle into the team and the city to make sure he can reach his best as quickly as possible. It’s up to us to help the new players.

What are your personal targets this season and what do you think Liverpool can achieve?

This is the best club in the country so the targets and expectations are always high. Hopefully we can stay at our level. At Liverpool the aim is to fight for every title. It was difficult last season but we are sure we can improve this season. I am really happy to be back, really happy to stay with all my teammates. My commitment and loyalty to the club and to the fans is the same as it was on my first day when I signed. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead.

Why does this club mean so much to you?

From my first day I got the same welcome as Stevie or Carra or players who have been here for a long time. I felt at home from the first day, I feel the fans love me and everyone knows I am really happy here and really happy to play at Anfield. As I said earlier, I’m looking forward to starting the season and playing with my teammates and for the fans.

Is the dream to score the goals which wins trophies for this club?

Of course. I know that one trophy here at Liverpool – maybe the Premier League – means more than three or four with another club. This was my target from the day I came and it’s still my target. Hopefully this season we can feel this sensation here at Liverpool.

Advertisements




Dirk’s Double Does the Damage – Match Report

22 01 2010

Liverpool’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night gave everyone at the club a much needed boost following the FA Cup 3rd round defeat to Reading. This said, it was the third win in four in the league which has helped lift the Reds to within one point of fourth placed Tottenham. Dirk Kuyt’s sixth minute opener gave the injury-ravished Liverpool a deserved lead after finishing well from Alberto Aquilani’s lay off. Injuries to Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger, Fabio Aurelio, Yossi Benayoun, Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres meant that the likes of Kuyt and Aquilani really had to step up to the plate on Wednesday, which they duly did.

Kuyt firing his first goal of the game

Chances were few and far between in the first 45 minutes, with Tottenham’s first chance coming just before Kuyt gave Liverpool the lead when Pepe Reina did well to smother the ball away from Niko Krancjar and Jermain Defoe. The visitor’s best chance came just before half time when Wilson Palacios slid a ball through to Luka Modric but Reina stood big and did well to deny the little Croatian. Liverpool’s only other first half chances came late from Martin Skrtel and Sotirios Kyrgiakos. The Liverpool versus Tottenham fixture is normally one of the better ones in a Premier League campaign but neither side really managed to claim the ascendency in the early parts of this one.

The beginning of the second half saw Liverpool lose concentration which nearly, and perhaps should have seen Tottenham equalise through who else but Jermain Defoe. A lack of concentration and subsequent mix-up from Kyrgiakos and Reina led to Defoe pinching the ball from Reina’s feet and slotting home into an empty net, only for the Kop to breathe a huge sigh of relief when the referee’s assistant adjudged Defoe as being offside. Replays suggest it was a somewhat fortuitous decision. This was the wake-up call that Liverpool were lucky to get but the next chance fell to the hosts as Philipp Degen’s run and cross was met by the head of Albert Riera whose header rattled Heurelho Gomes’ crossbar. It was desperately unlucky and left the Anfield faithful wondering whether it was a chance that would later be rued. Philipp Degen was to be involved again shortly after Riera’s chance when he flicked on a cross to Dirk Kuyt who blazed over from close range.

Jermaine Jenas then went close after about 65 minutes but Pepe Reina was in inspired form to palm the ball away to safety. Liverpool really should have put the match to bed after that when Kuyt’s high work-rate was rewarded as he stole possession on the halfway line before feeding Philipp Degen who wasted a golden opportunity. Manager Rafa Benitez had some special praise for Kuyt’s contribution in his post-match press conference where he said, “he was working very hard and maybe he could have scored four today,” Benitez told reporters. “His commitment is always 100 per cent, so we are pleased for him”. Spectacular efforts were next to follow from Albert Riera and then Alan Hutton for Spurs but neither goalkeeper was called into action on these occasions. This was to be the last chance for the visitors who lacked creativity in the final third with Tom Huddlestone and Aaron Lennon both sidelined through injury.

Benitez must take credit for some inspiring substitutions in this game as the introduction of Maxi Rodriguez and David N’Gog sparked Liverpool back into life and commanding centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos went close seven minutes from time but his left footed half-volley was beaten away by Gomes in the Tottenham goal. It seemed as if Rafa was content to take the 1-0 victory as he introduced Stephen Darby to the right side of midfield in a bid to shore things up but it was fellow substitute David N’Gog whose lively play helped wrap up the points. He first turned delightfully on the edge of the box to force a smart save from Gomes before getting Sebastian Bassong in a mess as the Cameroonian defender felled the France under-21 international just inside the penalty area to give Dirk Kuyt the chance for his and Liverpool’s second. Kuyt smashed home the penalty only for Howard Webb to demand a retake after encroaching from Lucas Leiva among others. At the second time of asking, Kuyt switched sides and cooly slotted home his eighth goal of the season.

Kuyt and Lucas acknowledge the fans after Kuyt doubles the lead

After the match Rafa Benitez not only had praise for Kuyt, but the whole team including fringe players Philipp Degen, Martin Skrtel and Sotirios Kyrgiakos who have equipped themselves well in the last two league games. Kyrgiakos reminds me of Sami Hyypia and this was demonstrated well in his handling of Mamady Sidibie against Stoke City and Degen looked full of running against Stoke and Tottenham whilst providing good defensive protection to Jamie Carragher at full-back. After the game, Benitez said “it is difficult to stop Crouch and Defoe, so I think the combination of Kyrgiakos and Skrtel did well,” before adding, “I said before, the squad is not as bad as people have said. Today we were without six players, but the rest of the squad showed character. We have to be pleased because everyone was working hard and the players who have not played too many games did well.” Without wishing to bemoan our bad luck with injuries too much, I do agree with Rafa. Everyone is keen to remind us that we are having a terrible season, yet we are now just one point behind Tottenham who are said to be having a fantastic season so things cannot be all bad.

To conclude, I think the addition of Maxi Rodriguez will turn out to be a shrewd piece of business, but it is the fitness of Benayoun, Gerrard and Torres that will be the key if we are to make the top four this season. Any team would miss Gerrard and Torres as they are pure and simply world-class, but the Tottenham game has shown that the squad is not overly-reliant on two players and it is now imperative that we kick on; starting away to Wolves.

Mark Jepson.





The Transfer Market

15 01 2010

The ‘Rafalution’ has certainly gone under the microscope at the minute and the media seem ever so keen to highlight his poor signings. Now, I’m not going to defend some of his signings as I’m sure you would agree that Nunez, Josemi and Kromkamp sent most fans into a cold sweat every time they made an appearance. However, when considering some of his poor signings against the flops bought by other top 4 managers, you will realise the media are being a little unfair.

Yes I could give a mention to Fergie, Wenger and Abramovich/Kenyon’s flops too. Crespo, Shevchenko and Veron or Kleberson, Djemba-Djemba and Taibi are all far worse signings than some of Rafa’s and a lot costlier too. However, Rafa seems to bring a lot of criticism on himself. His stubborn persistence with players such as Lucas Leiva (whose birth certificate I would like to see) separates him from the rest. If Ferguson makes a mistake, they are almost always sold on, more often than not for profit I hasten to add. The same with Chelsea to a degree, if a player is just simply not good enough, he will be sold, or in the case of Hernan Crespo be loaned out for about 3 years! Chelsea don’t have to worry about flops as much however due to their unrivalled wealth, or at least it was unrivalled until Manchester City’s owners graced our shores. It is this where I feel Rafa is being a little harshly treated. His ‘eye for talent’ is something that is also often challenged. I can assure you that there is nothing wrong with his eye for talent, he just does not have the financial means to always sign who he wants. It is for that reason that he ends up signing second or third choice players who are often gambles. Inevitably, gambles do not always pay off. Rafa has identified David Villa, David Silva, Daniel Alves, Simao Sabrosa, Sergio Aguero (before he signed for Atletico) among others as potential signings so there is nothing wrong with his eye for talent. However, when Rick Parry was at the helm and our worrying financial situation these were unrealistic targets. Instead he ended up with Jermaine Pennant, who was deemed to not be good enough for Arsenal yet we signed anyway, as well as Mark González, Fernando Morientes and Andriy Voronin.

Benitez has more often than not got it right when he has been able to spend big although he has had to sell before he can buy in the summer gone by. Can people really argue with the signings of a certain striker named Fernando Torres? How about Pepe Reina, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson? I’m sure regardless of who you support you would not be disappointed to see anyone of these on your club’s team sheet. Furthermore, he’s trying to restructure the youth academy which, in my opinion, was long overdue. Although I’m not sure whether he should be getting involved in this area of the club, things certainly seem to be improving. As Gerard Houllier once said about the academy, ‘I’m not expecting the next Steven Gerrard, but I wouldn’t mind a few Jamie Carraghers.’ I feel Rafa has echoed those sentiments, and although there will never be another Steven Gerrard, he is slowly introducing one or two young players who are most definitely prospects. Martin Kelly’s man of the match performance on his debut against Olympique Lyonnais shows this. Furthermore, Jay Spearing made his debut in a home tie against Real Madrid. Gone are the days of rolling out McManaman’s, Fowler’s and Owen’s year after year, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Although it may seem hard to believe, I’m not so pro-Rafa that I would defend him whatever happens. Six defeats in a season that is still only in October is by no way good enough. However, as I may just have mentioned once or twice, we are rather struggling somewhat in terms of finance. Would it really be wise to sack him at the cost of around £20m? That is the sort of figure he would get as he only signed his latest deal on the 18th March 2009. Then a new manager arrives with a whole array of new ideas that would probably take another 5 years to implement fully and by that time Gerrard and Carragher will either be gone or well past their best. I guess what I am trying to say is that it was only a few months ago that Rafa led us to four points from winning the title and although Alonso has gone, not much else has changed.

Mark Jepson








%d bloggers like this: