Rafa Benitez has revealed that Fernando Torres was one of the main reasons why Raheem Sterling chose to join Liverpool.
The former Liverpool manager was part of the team who tried to bring a 16-year-old Sterling from QPR to Anfield. A host of other Premier League club were interested, but the Reds eventually won the race.
Now 19, Sterling has been hailed as a future world-class player. He is already a full England international and has played a key role for Liverpool so far this season.
However, if it had not been for Torres, Sterling may have never become a Liverpool player. The striker, who had yet to leave for Chelsea in a £50 million deal, played a key role in convincing the youngster to join.
Benitez is quoted by Metro as saying: "We invited Raheem to Melwood and had a meeting with him and his mother.
"I walked around the complex with them and was showing them the facilities and we got as far as the physio’s room.
"Fernando was there – and I think Steven Gerrard, too. But definitely Fernando. I explained what Raheem and his mum were doing and I told Fernando what we thought of the young player we had brought in. He had a quick chat with him, asking how he was getting on. He was interested in him.
"Raheem was really pleased – and you could see his mum was, too – really impressed that the club’s biggest players had made a fuss of him."
Torres left for Chelsea that January, when he was still considered one of the best strikers in world football. Liverpool fans were not quick to forgive the Spaniard for leaving, but this new revelation may help to heal old wounds.
The striker, who earned a reported £170,000-a-week in west London, famously failed to impress as a Chelsea player and was later. He agreed a two-year loan deal with AC Milan this summer, bringing an end to an unsuccessful three and a half years as a Blues star.
If Sterling reaches his potential, Torres could have played a significant part in shaping Liverpool's future. The £400,000 Liverpool paid for Sterling is already considered a significant bargain, but it could go on to be one of the biggest in football history.
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