Sunday 21 January 2018

Five reasons behind Torres' return to form

Playing the right way

Roy Hodgson's system against Chelsea was designed to get the best out of Fernando Torres. He is forging an excellent understanding with Raul Meireles and enjoys playing with Maxi Rodriguez, both of whom were given instructions to push on to ensure he did not grow isolated. Steven Gerrard and Lucas were also given licence to roam forward to keep up the supply line to the Spaniard.

Flying Dutchman

Hodgson's most significant switch, though, came in playing Dirk Kuyt alongside the 26-year-old. Kuyt's presence freed Torres from tracking back.

Home sweet home

The discrepancy between Torres' home and away form since moving to England is telling. Though his record at Anfield stands at 44 goals in 47 appearances, he has managed just 16 in 40 games on his travels. A truer barometer of his form will come at Wigan and at Stoke in the coming days.

Familiar foes

Carlo Ancelotti's insistence that Chelsea are not interested in signing Torres is all the more remarkable given the damage he regularly inflicts on the champions. He has now scored seven goals in eight games against Chelsea, while John Terry is rapidly replacing Nemanja Vidic as his favourite opponent.

State of mind

For all the talk of Torres' fears and fitness influencing his form, a pattern has developed in the Spaniard's play in the past 12 months. Since September last year, he has scored more than one goal in a Premier League game on five occasions. On each, the first has come inside the first 25 minutes. Torres, it seems, plays well when he starts well.

Irish Independent

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