Football

Torres can add to Liverpool woes

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Although Liverpool may have suffered the disappointment of defeat in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday, their season could reach its nadir against Chelsea on Tuesday evening.

Fernando Torres will return to Anfield for the first time since his controversial departure almost 16 months ago, and a match-winning performance from the Spaniard will plunge the Reds' campaign to even greater depths.

Liverpool's season peaked in February when they triumphed over Cardiff in the final of the Carling Cup, but 2012 has so far been a year characterised more by failure than success.

Victory against Chelsea and a second trophy of the season would have papered over the cracks of a largely woeful campaign, and Liverpool fans will have to contemplate the prospect of things becoming even worse in the next few days.

Defeat in this evening's Premier League encounter with Chelsea, Torres inspired or not, will leave Liverpool in ninth position and only two points clear of tenth placed West Brom with only one game remaining.

Liverpool are already faced with their lowest league finish in the top-flight since they were relegated in the season of 1953-54 and, although Torres will not condemn them to a place just shy of the bottom half of the table, he can leave them further in the mire.

Torres is expected to start against his former club and, given Liverpool's failings on home turf this term, will be confident of making a significant contribution at Anfield once again.

The last time Chelsea met Liverpool in front of the Kop, Torres put the former to the sword - scoring twice as the Roy Hodgson's side triumphed 2-0 in what transpired to be his last performance of note in a red shirt.

Liverpool's recent profligacy, however, may suggest a repeat result could be beyond Kenny Dalglish's men, with the Merseysiders having won only five times in 18 attempts at Anfield this term.

This equates to the loss of a staggering 30 points on their own patch, and represents the worst run of form in front of their own supporters for over 60 years.

Liverpool have, in fact, won only once at Anfield in the league in 2012 - a morale boosting 3-0 defeat of Everton - and recorded losses against West Brom and Fulham in each of their last two outings.

And, although Chelsea have been poor on their travels of late, many would make them slight favourites for tonight's encounter, particularly after their win in the FA Cup final.

Defeat against the Blues and a loss away at Swansea next Sunday, coupled with three points for West Brom against Arsenal, will see Liverpool end the season in tenth place, and raise further questions about Dalglish's future as manager.

The Reds legend has undoubtedly been let down by his players this season, yet he has damaged a reputation previously untarnished at Anfield and could yet pay the price a the end of the season.

Reports on Monday claimed Dalglish's position is far from certain, and Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group refused to take questions regarding the issue following Saturday's final loss.

There is an overriding sense that FSG will stand by their man and, given the respect and adulation for Dalglish among both fans and players, it makes sense to keep him in charge.

Yet few could argue that relieving Dalglish of his duties would be unwarranted, given the failure to even challenge for the Champions League after significant investment in the transfer market last summer.

Dalglish had been Liverpool manager for only 19 days when Torres was sold to Chelsea for £50 million, and the prospect of his former charge adding to his demise little over a year later would have been a thought far from his mind.

And, although Torres will not nail the coffin of Dalglish with victory this evening, he may just fetch the hammer in order for John Henry to do so this summer.

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Topics:
Football
Chelsea
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Liverpool

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