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Torres is the right man for the job - McManaman

Jul 31 2007

By Simon Stone, Liverpool Echo

Steve McManaman

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

That’s the view of former Anfield star Steve McManaman, who believes Rafa Benitez has signed a quality striker.

“I think he is an excellent player,” said McManaman. “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.

“Every year he was the captain, the superstar and the iconic figure at Atletico and it was difficult to score lots of goals in a team that wasn’t playing very well.”

However, McManaman, who captured two Champions League winner’s medals after he left the Reds for Real Madrid, feels that the £20m fee will put extra pressure on Torres to provide goals from the start.

“He’s arrived on a huge fee and Chelsea’s Andriy Shevchenko had a lot of criticism last year – there was no settling in period.

“I think Liverpool fans will be expecting instant results. It’s all about now.

“Liverpool have spent big this year but they have recouped a lot of money as well. But it is the first time they have spent over £20 million on a player so they are expecting things. That is a pressure in itself – but I think he will score goals.”

McManaman says Liverpool still have a lot of ground to make up on Manchester United and Chelsea, despite the arrival of the likes of Torres, Ryan Babel, Yossi Benayoun, Lucas and Andriy Voronin.

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 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.

“The holy grail of the Liverpool fans seems to be the Premier League. They have won the Champions League but everyone is hankering after the title.

“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.”

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