Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt has dismissed speculation about Fernando Torres' state of mind and insisted the striker has an important role to play even if he is not scoring.

The Spain international has only scored once this season but provided the assists for the Reds' last four goals; winning the penalty and free-kick against Manchester United which allowed Steven Gerrard to hit a double and then setting up Kuyt and the captain again in yesterday's 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

Kuyt said: "Everyone is expecting goals from Fernando but he offers a lot more. Against Sunderland he was responsible for setting up the two goals," said the Holland international, who returned to action against the Black Cats earlier than expected after a shoulder injury earlier this month.

"He is very important for the team even if he is not scoring goals. I'm sure his goals will come. His mood has never changed. If you are a striker, and the type of striker Fernando is, you want to be involved in goals.

"But everyone could see how happy he was to have set up two goals. When you are one of the world's best strikers everyone is watching you so if they get a moment to blame him they will.

"And if you are not winning games he is not happy, I am not happy and the team is not happy. But we all know next week he could score a hat-trick and then everything changes."

Kuyt, who is hoping to be picked to face his former club in Europe on Thursday, admits Liverpool have yet to get into gear after their worst start to a top-flight season for 18 years, with just six points from as many games.

"We are not at our level yet because if we were in our best shape we would win these games," he said.

"Every day everyone is working very hard to get there, unfortunately against Sunderland it didn't happen but we can't wait for the next opportunity to change it.

"We as players want to win every game and challenge for trophies but the situation at the club we have to be patient.

"If you are at Liverpool expectations are always high and you are expected to win every game. If you lose or draw people are not happy and we are not happy and that is what we are at the moment. Things will come because we know we have quality and it just takes time."

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Dirk Kuyt
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool