Yossi Benayoun has insisted Fernando Torres remains "the best striker in the world", despite seeing the Spaniard extend his goal drought.
Torres has gone 817 minutes without scoring for club and country, with his misery continuing in Chelsea's 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Wigan on Saturday. But team-mate Benayoun, who also played alongside Torres at Anfield for three years until last summer, was adamant the striker would come good.
"For any midfielder, it is great to play with a player like Fernando," said Benayoun, who came off the bench for his first Chelsea appearance for almost six months against Latics following a serious Achilles injury. "For me, he is the best striker in the world."
The Israel captain added: "We have three very good strikers in (Didier) Drogba, (Nicolas) Anelka and him. For any midfielder, it is easy to play with him and I think he will score a lot of goals because he's just quality."
Torres also started on the bench on Saturday, indicating he would be in the XI for Tuesday night's Champions League quarter-final second leg at Manchester United. Benayoun is also in contention for a game Chelsea must win to keep alive their last realistic hope of silverware this season.
"Everyone knows this is the most important game of the season," he said.
"We have to save our season and try to qualify. It will not be easy because Manchester United are a very good team.
"But Chelsea during the last few years have proved they can win at United and they have done it a few times so we will give 100% and try to win the game."
Manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted his side had no chance at Old Trafford unless they made a massive improvement on what was an ugly performance against Wigan. But he insisted they had plenty of time to turn Wednesday night's 1-0 defeat against Sir Alex Ferguson's men on its head.
He said: "We don't need to score in the first minute. We have 90 minutes. The problem is to score one goal and, if it's possible, more."
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