“Fans will suffer to a certain extent when you give the ball away, but they won’t suffer a lack of effort. Out there for 45 minutes today he (Torres) has been terrible. He hasn’t got hold of the ball, he hasn’t chased, he’s got frustrated, he could have been booked; he’s been diabolical. I’m his biggest fan, and of course you have to give Johnson and Dann credit, but he’s shown no appetite for the game. He’s looked frustrated, sloppy, and lethargic. I know people talk about his rustiness, but he looked fed-up.”
For me, these were extremely harsh comments made by Redknapp over Torres’s display. There could be many mitigating circumstances that could explain a sub-par performance from the Spanish striker:
Frustration over tactics - Fernando Torres may have looked a frustrated figure yesterday because of the nature of the tactics employed by both Birmingham and Liverpool. The Reds employed two holding midfield players in Christian Poulsen and Lucas Leiva, neither which looked to get forward too often. It left Fernando and Gerrard both isolated up front, and his frustration over a lack of service and time on the ball clearly showed on occasion. Birmingham players were always in his face too and Torres was relatively easy to mark because of the lack of support he had up front. On the occasions he did get the ball, he did miss-control the ball and snatch at some shots, suggesting to me other factors were also at play.
Fitness levels – Martin Tyler in his commentary for Sky Sports yesterday offered another reason for Torres’s lack of spark. He said that he had talked to team-mate Dirk Kuyt about Torres and the Dutchman believes that the Spaniard’s recovery from his knee injury will take a great deal of time. A lot was made about Torres’s poor performances during the World Cup but it was clear his fitness levels were not very high after being sidelined for months with an injury. The frustration and lack of energy against Birmingham could be because of the fact he is yet to recover fully.
Club situation – The ownership and uncertainty around the club could also be a factor. Torres clearly loves the club but the lack of investment in the summer and the belief it may be some time before the Reds are challenging for the title again could be concerning him. Does he believe the players around him are capable of performing to the required level?
Form – Like all footballers, Torres could just be suffering from an ailment that every player will be troubled by. Despite the world class finish against West Brom two weeks ago, Torres has not been on the greatest of form since his return from injury. He had a poor World Cup, and like any human being, he maybe suffering from a crisis of confidence, and he may just need a few goals in a few games in a row so we can get back to seeing his great first touch, fantastic speed, composed finishing and great link up play.
What do you think is troubling Fernando, if anything at all?
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