Fernando Torres is not one of the most popular former players among Liverpool fans due to his deadline day transfer to Chelsea for £50m in January 2011, but former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has revealed how he played a huge part in the signing of Raheem Sterling.
The 19-year-old Englishman is widely considered to be one of the most promising young players in Europe at the moment, but current Napoli boss Benitez has revealed that he is part of the squad thanks to a recommendation from Torres, both of whom were at Liverpool at the time.
“We invited Raheem to Melwood and had a meeting with him and his mother,” Benitez said.
“I walked around the complex with them and was showing them the facilities and we got as far as the physio’s room.
“Fernando was there – and I think Steven Gerrard, too. But definitely Fernando. I explained what Raheem and his mum were doing and I told Fernando what we thought of the young player we had brought in. He had a quick chat with him, asking how he was getting on. He was interested in him.
“Raheem was really pleased – and you could see his mum was, too – really impressed that the club’s biggest players had made a fuss of him,.”
Sterling went on to sign for Liverpool from QPR for a price of £600,000 that could rise to £5m depending on how many first team appearances he makes.
Since that day, the Englishman has gone on to already become a fan favourite at Anfield, making 65 Premier League appearances, scoring 14 goals and providing 14 assists. This isn’t close to matching what Torres did during his time at the club, (he scored 65 goals from 102 Premier League appearances) but it’s a start.
With three goals already from five Premier League appearances this season, I think it’s safe to say Liverpool has a future great on their hands – the problem is, they may have to thank one player who they love to hate for it.