Wednesday 24 January 2018

Reds hitman warns: best yet to come

Fernando Torres insists he is not yet at his explosive best despite scoring the two goals which helped Liverpool to victory against Chelsea and halted Carlo Ancelotti's side's apparent march to a second successive Premier League title.

Two first-half strikes doubled the Spanish international's tally in what has been a troubled season -- though his record now stands at 44 in 47 home league games since his move to Anfield -- but the 26-year-old's warning that there is more to come will chill the rest of the league.

"Every day I am feeling better and improving every day," he said.

"It has been difficult. It was a tough end of (last) season for me, and so was the World Cup, with lots of injuries. I do not know if I can play my best soon, but I hope I will.

"Being criticised is part of life as a footballer. At a team like Liverpool, everyone watches every game and everything you do is around the world a minute later.

"I know the expectation and I want to fight hard to get my top form."

His manager, Roy Hodgson, was equally cautious in his optimism afterwards, suggesting that while Torres was certainly at his best against the Premier League champions yesterday, he could only hope that this kind of form would endure.

"I am pleased Fernando will get all the plaudits," said the Liverpool manager.

"He has taken his fair share of criticism, some of which has been exaggerated and not deserved, but people will now say he is back to his best. Let's hope that is the case. It certainly was against Chelsea.

"He is a vital player for Liverpool, as he would be for any club. We speak all the time. He wants the club to do well.

"He likes being at Liverpool and playing for Liverpool. I do not have any fears as far as he is concerned, as long as we can get back close to the top of the table where Liverpool belong."

That is an aim which Ancelotti, for one, believes is entirely within Hodgson's grasp, thanks in no small part to a striker he insisted last week he had no interest in signing.

"Liverpool have the opportunity to come back into the top of the table, the first four places," said the Chelsea manager. Torres built two fantastic goals, showing himself to be fit. He's come back fit from not a good moment. He is a fantastic striker."

Irish Independent

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