Date: 15th February 2011 at 7:06pm
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Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge has spoken of some of the immediate differences he noticed between Luis Suarez and former striker Fernando Torres. Writing in his column for the Liverpool Echo he said:

“I don’t know if he’s (Suarez) been watching Dirk Kuyt, but he’s probably got that same sort of mentality about giving everything for the shirt. Like the Dutchman, he looks to have a habit of closing down defenders when they’re on the ball, defending from the front. Compared to what we saw from FT (I use the initials instead of his full name these days) their attitudes were poles apart. Watching Suarez so committed to the cause at the weekend was a breath of fresh air.”

Suarez’s ability to close down opponents is not the only difference between the 26 year old Spanish striker and our new Uruguayan number seven. While Torres was somewhat of a lone ranger, more inclined to wait for a chance to be created by his team-mates, Suarez is much more inclined to make a chance out of nothing for himself. As well as working hard without the ball to close down opposition players, Suarez loves to get involved in build up play and make the link between midfield and attack. As you can see on Suarez’s Guardian chalkboard for the match versus Wigan on Saturday, he finds himself both in wide areas, as well as in central midfield areas to link up with team-mates. If we compare this to the seventy minutes that Torres played against Fulham yesterday, the difference is significant:

Certainly it could be said that Torres is settling into a new system and new style of play at Chelsea, but the same could be said of Suarez, and it shows that most of the Chelsea’s striker’s passes came in the final third on the left hand side of the pitch. Of the 19 attempted passes by the Spanish forward yesterday, only 11 reached their intended target, while Suarez was a lot busier, making 37 with 26 completed to team-mates. It adds to the fire that Torres is less of a team player, and although he scores his goals, his strike rate is determined by how well his team plays to get him into threatening areas around the opposition penalty box. In addition, other Chalkboards from their matches against Wigan and Fulham show that Suarez was by far the more active player.

While Torres only had three off target shots all night, Suarez had seven shots on goal, one on target, four off target (with two hitting the woodwork) and two shots blocked. Significantly too, Suarez won 6 fouls in the opposition half while Torres conceded two fouls to the opposition, suggesting that both Suarez was troubling the opposition defence more often and that Torres was frustrated with the lack of possession he was getting up front.

Certainly both players are class strikers, but they are also very different in style. Suarez has a more all round game, defending from the front, getting involved in link up play and not afraid to shoot when given a sight on goal. Torres is a goalscorer but he rarely commits to tackles or offers himself for passes as readily as Suarez. One leads from the front while the other drops off into midfield, and so far, only one player is adapting quickly to their new surroundings, and his initials are not FT.

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