Reds show united front as Dalglish insists club is bigger than any player
Liverpool's boardroom, boot-room and dressing-room united yesterday to insist that the club would not be drawn into a war of words over Fernando Torres' acrimonious departure.
The club's manager, Kenny Dalglish, is adamant that even the prospect of coming face-to-face with Torres when Liverpool travel to the Spaniard's new club, Chelsea, tomorrow is not enough to deter his players from concentrating on the future, ignoring the seismic change of the last week and the pain of the 26-year-old's defection.
"It is disappointing for everyone at the club that Fernando has left and the timing of his move, but he came to that decision," said the Scot.
"We had to deal with it, get on with it and look after ourselves. We have done that already. For us, all in all, last Monday was a very good day's business. Our lives will all move on -- in different directions, but they will all move on.
"Of course I spoke to him (before the move). I did what you thought I would do, what everybody hoped I would do. I did my job properly and correctly and we were disappointed that he left, but he's gone.
"The players know the football club is more important than any individual -- whether he has been and gone, or is here now. I would expect they would relish the battle against him, but they have competed brilliantly against everyone since I have come in. If our lads are competitive we won't have a problem, but there's no extra spice for me."
Even the intimation from Torres that Liverpool was no longer a suitable stage on which to realise his ambitions of adding club silverware to the World Cup and Euro 2008 medals he has won with Spain was not enough to rile Dalglish.
"You cannot cover all eventualities," he said. "Our determination is to get back up to where we were before. But even when you get there, whether you win trophies or not, players will always find a reason to go."
Dalglish's determination not to indulge in petty sniping echoes the approach of the club's principal owner, John W Henry. "One of the things we talked about from the very beginning was how important it was that everyone was on the same page," he said.
"No player is bigger than the club. We expect players to want to be there. If they do not want to be part of Liverpool, then we should do everything we can to facilitate them going elsewhere."
Even Jamie Carragher, the favourite to commit the first foul on Torres tomorrow, has refused to criticise the striker.
"For us, it was probably better that Fernando moved on if he didn't 100pc want to be here," said the defender.
Henry, meanwhile, hinted that the club will stay at Anfield rather than build a new stadium.
"It's not a coincidence that the last two ownership groups could not get a new stadium built," he said. "What they proposed or hoped for just didn't make any economic sense or they would have been built.
"A lot of time and effort is being put into study and creatively looking at all options." (© Daily Telegraph, London)