Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Torres key to Liverpool quest

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has made major improvements to the side that reached the Champions League final last season before losing to AC Milan.
The key arrival is the signing of striker of Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid to boost the attack as Liverpool have lacked a true goalscorer since selling Michael Owen to Real Madrid in 2004.
Torres's convincing early season form suggests he can score the goals against Europe's big clubs that have previously evaded Liverpool.
Benitez is a proven master tactician on the European stage with wins over Barcelona, Chelsea and Juventus to boast of, although they have come in a limited defensive style.
Ryan Babel and Jermaine Pennant have been given licence to attack down the wings and create chances for the likes of Torres and Andriy Voronin and recently Liverpool thrashed Premier League strugglers Derby 6-0.
Ukrainian Voronin will fight it out with Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch to play alongside Torres.
Although Benitez has spent over 50 million pounds ($NZ141 million) in the summer his top player is still local boy Steven Gerrard.
The England international has been moved back into his favoured central midfield role where he can control games. He is the driving force of this Liverpool team and leads from the front to guide his side in times of adversity.
A toe injury has restricted his games at the start of the season but Liverpool have reacted positively by going to the top of the league for the first time in five years without him in the side.
Liverpool have good pedigree in the Champions League, having won the tournament five times - most recently in 2005 with their enthralling victory over AC Milan on penalties.
There is a feeling on Merseyside that supporters would rather end 18 years without a league title than lift the Champions League once more.
But Benitez will not sacrifice a chance of further European success and Liverpool are capable of lifting this trophy again.

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