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McManaman says title may still be out of reach

McManaman says title may still be out of reach

Jul 31 2007

by Adrian Curtis, Liverpool Daily Post Correspondent

Fernando Torres, made his club debut against Werder Bremen in Grenchen, Switzerland, - Picture: MARTIN BIRCHALL

STEVE McMANAMAN insists Liverpool still have a lot of ground to make up on Manchester United and Chelsea despite splashing out more than £20million on striker Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid.

Former Anfield hero McManaman is a big fan of Torres but hints that everyone will be expecting immediate results for such a huge fee.

Although Liverpool have won the Champions League under Rafael Benitez, the Anfield faithful are still waiting for the current generation of players to lift the league crown they last secured in 1990.

Liverpool finished some 21 points behind champions Manchester United last season and McManaman believes it will take a huge effort to bridge that gap, especially as United have also spent big.

Torres has been joined by Yossi Benayoun, Ryan Babel and Andriy Voronin in the hope that Liverpool can finally land their ’holy grail’ this season. McManaman said: “The holy grail for the Liverpool fans seems to be the Premier League. They have won the Champions League but everyone is hankering on about the Premier League.

“In the last five years Liverpool have been successful in terms of winning trophies but all Liverpool fans go on about is the league. If they won the league they would be fine and talk about the Champions League again.

“Tottenham have spent a lot of money, but I still think it will be very difficult to dislodge Manchester United and Chelsea.

“As much as everybody else has gone out and strengthened and I still think United will buy more players, the fact is there was a 21-point difference between Manchester United and Liverpool last season – it is a big gap.

“While the holy grail for Liverpool fans is the Premier League, for the other big two, United and Chelsea, it is the Champions League.

“Manchester United have bought players for the Champions League. Their second leg defeat to AC Milan last season was down to tired legs and a lack of bodies. Alex Ferguson doesn’t want that to happen again.

“But it is not as if they have bought five players who are going to go straight into the starting XI.

“They want to be strong in all competitions right up until the end, that’s why they have bought these players. I think they have bought for all four competitions.”

The arrival of Torres from Atletico Madrid could give Liverpool the striker they have so badly missed in recent seasons.

But the huge fee involved has put extra pressure on the 23-year-old to provide goals from the start.

McManaman added: “I think he is an excellent player. He was the superstar in Atletico. He is a typical number nine. He puts his head in where he knows he could get hurt. He’s strong and he’s deceptively quick.”

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