Reflecting on Liverpool’s continuing troubles to find a cutting edge up front, I turned over to watch Athletic Bilbao and Real Zaragoza last night. As with the match between Spain and Scotland, a certain 6ft 5 Basque towered above the defence to score a decisive goal. Fernando Llorente has been rumoured to be on Liverpool’s radar for a fair few years, but in the last season or so, his reputation has sky rocketed as he has excelled in performances for both club and country. Liverpool’s Chief Scout Eduardo Macia has no doubt kept tabs on the tall 25 year old, and will certainly be keeping Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff informed of the player.
Last season, Llorente scored 23 times, scoring 14 in the league, the same as the year before, but he really impressed in his first proper season playing in European football. In the Europa League he scored 8 goals in eleven games, indicating that Llorente has the ability to play at the highest level and although he was given his first cap for Spain back in late 2008, it has only been over the last six months where he has begun to feature more prominently for his country. He was not called upon during the 2009/10 season by Spain’s manager Vicente Del Bosque but was called into the squad for the World Cup in South Africa. Although he featured only in one match for Spain as they won the World Cup, he had pushed himself up the pecking order to challenge Fernando Torres for his place alongside David Villa.
With Torres struggling for fitness, Llorente started the Euro 2012 qualifying match against Lithuania in Salamanca scoring with two headers in a 3-1 victory. He also scored a vital goal coming on as a substitute against Scotland to win the match at Hampden Park 3-2 last week. The 25 year old currently has a very impressive record at international level with seven goals in twelve games, and is certainly now challenging Torres for a starting place in Spanish side.
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