Football

The old Torres isn’t here yet, but he’s coming

Fernando is just beginning to take off (©GettyImages)
Fernando is just beginning to take off (©GettyImages).

Fernando Torres’ goalscoring does not mean he is back to his best, but it shows the finishing yips he has had the past year are beginning to recede.

 

There is no guarantee he will return to the heights of his best Liverpool days, but comfort can be found from the fact his Stamford Bridge career is no longer dogged by the goal-allergy it once was.

 

Four goals in two games can be a bit misleading; Torres’ previous six outings went by without a goal and it was only a brace in a comprehensive mauling of Leicester City that ended a 24-game run without a goal.

 

A staggering amount of time for a striker who was so dangerous and destructive when running out at Anfield under Rafael Benitez and would have been an unthinkable proposition a couple of years ago.

 

Four games later and a relieving fourth to top off a nervous escape from an implosion scare at Aston Villa gave him a little taste to keep him keen.

 

Still, all was not perfect but he was laying foundations of confidence, looking sharper around the box and with greater intent without ever really threatening to dismantle and opposition defence as he once was so wont to do.

 

The seminal moment came at the scene of one of his more fruitful destinations, Barcelona’s Camp Nou, where he rounded Victor Valdes in injury time to cement Chelsea’s place at the Champions League final in Munich.

 

Roberto di Matteo’s side had put in a tremendous amount of effort to withstand a blanket of attacking by the Catalan side and Torres entered the pitch almost meekly to see out the last ten minutes for an exhausted Didier Drogba.

 

Maybe it was the deep-seated reassurance from having scored seven goals in the last ten times he had faced Barcelona, but he strode under an Ashley Cole hoofed clearance and took it in his stride with an exquisite touch before meandering round the Barca keeper and rolling it home, as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

 

Torres had landed the hammer blow that knocked out possibly the greatest club side ever, (although he wasn’t to know) paved the way for the most successful manager in Barcelona’s history and sealed a place in Munich for a side that was stuttering badly – all at a saunter.

 

In their next game against QPR, Torres scored a cool as you like hat-trick in a serious whooping of their relegation-threatened London neighbours.

 

The Spain international still does not look at his most potent and the three goals were all fairly straightforward chances, but there was none of the 18-yard box hesitancy that has plagued him since his move south form Merseyside, none of the touch surplus that had stolen away so many chances from under his nose.

 

His goal in Catalonia could have served as the sledgehammer that knocked down the wall of fear and meekness that was stopping him flourish in his new Blue shirt.

 

While he is some way off being the destructive force we know he can be, the winds of change are beginning to blow for El Nino.

Topics:
Football
Chelsea
Premier League
Fernando Torres
UEFA Champions League
Liverpool

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