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Fernando Torres absence was down to lack of space - Rafa Benitez

Fernando Torres absence was down to lack of space - Rafa Benitez

Sep 24 2007

by Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo

FERNANDO Torres’ absence from Liverpool’s starting line-up against Birmingham was a purely tactical decision, manager Rafa Benitez explained.

The Anfield boss felt Torres’ lightning pace would be less of a threat against an impressive visiting defence which sat deep for 90 minutes.

Benitez hoped strike pair Andriy Voronin and Dirk Kuyt would have the imagination to find their way through, but it turned into a nightmare afternoon for Liverpool’s attackers.

The frustration was evident as Liverpool squandered two more precious points which now leaves them four behind leaders Arsenal.

As at Portsmouth, Benitez stood by his controversial decision to leave Torres on the bench for an hour, although he was clearly unhappy with the lack of variety on display by the attacking quartet in his line-up

“You must be frustrated because you know before that you must win this kind of game,” he said.

“You could see we were attacking, especially in the first half.

“Clear chances are really difficult when the opponents play so deep. We had a lot of shots but they were off target.

“We tried in the wide areas, we tried to get crosses in. It was really difficult but if you have some chances you must take them.”

On Torres’ limited role, Benitez added: “We knew they would be deep and narrow and compact, so we needed the strikers to play between the lines.

“Kuyt and Voronin can do this. After, when we needed fresh legs, we brought on Fernando, but you could see how many times he got behind defenders. Never. That's because there was no space.

“I have four strikers and I need to use all of them.

“How you pick your team is something you always have to think about, and both Voronin and Kuyt have game intelligence.


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