The news every Liverpool fan around the world wanted to hear- ‘Torres commits his future to Liverpool’. After captain Steven Gerrard reiterated his desire to remain at Anfield ahead of the new season, the club’s other superstar Fernando Torres spoke of his loyalty to the club and its fans, insisting he is more than happy with life on Merseyside.
Kopites had feared their Spanish striker would be tempted to ‘jump ship’ following months of speculation and claims that Torres was seriously contemplating a move to Premier League rivals Manchester City or champions Chelsea. Instead the Reds No. 9 has shown major commitment to the club, despite last season’s seventh place finish, as he moves into the prime of his footballing career.
It would have been easy for either Gerrard or Torres to make their excuses and follow Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano out of the Anfield exit door, after finishing last season an astonishing 23 points behind league champions Chelsea. Even more of a concern for both players is the club’s failure to find fresh investment and the ownership problems which overshadowed much of last year’s campaign. However the attacking duo must now sense the club is close to agreeing a new ownership deal and the proposed takeover from Chinese businessman Kenny Huang could yet come to fruition before the end of the transfer window.
Huge question marks remained over the future of both Gerrard and Torres as last season stuttered towards its miserable end. The pair had clearly become frustrated with former manager Rafael Benitez’s handling of team affairs, highlighted by the skipper’s mystified reaction to Torres being substituted with 30 minutes to play in a must-win game against Birmingham in April. Player power played a major part in Benitez’s departure and in a bid to keep the club’s want-away stars happy, Fulham manager Roy Hodgson was brought in to steady the ‘sinking ship’, as put so eloquently by winger Albert Riera before he was sold.
The club’s fans will be thankful Hodgson managed to sell his future vision of Liverpool to both Torres and Gerrard, failure to do so would have left The Reds facing the impossible task of replacing the irreplaceable. England international Gerrard has been the heartbeat of Liverpool for over a decade, since breaking into the side in 1998. Although Gerrard is now 30, he can still play at the top of his game for at least another three years. The importance of Gerrard’s decision to stay cannot be stressed highly enough; helping convince those around him their future should be at Liverpool too.
Despite having failed to win anything of real significance at club level, El Niño is prepared to give another year of his career to Liverpool in an attempt to deliver the club’s first piece of silverware since the 2006 FA Cup. How would have Liverpool have possibly replaced one of the deadliest and most sought after strikers on the planet and their main source of goals over the past three seasons had he decided to leave? The Spanish international has scored an extraordinary 56 goals in 79 appearances for Liverpool since his move from Atletico Madrid in 2007. If the 18 time league champions are to start competing for honours again this season then Torres’ goal-scoring exploits will surely be fundamental to the cause.
News that Torres and Gerrard are staying gives the club an opportunity to real make progress this season. If the club can finally fulfil promises made regarding investment in player recruits and a new stadium, then both players could yet see out the remainder of their careers in the red shirt of Liverpool. Should the news of a takeover prove to be a false dawn, coupled with another poor season, then expect the future of both players to come under scrutiny in the winter and again the following summer.