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Raul praises 'different air' of Fernando Torres

Raul praises 'different air' of Fernando Torres

Sep 6 2007

by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo

FERNANDO TORRES has become a different player since his switch to Liverpool, says Spanish striking legend Raul.

The Reds’ record signing has started just four matches since his £20m switch from Atletico Madrid, but has already scored three goals, and Spanish international team-mate Raul says: “He was an icon at Atletico Madrid and had to make a personal decision, one that I respect. There is a different air about him now, and it looks like he is enjoying the experience.

“I watched his debut against Aston Villa on television, and I also saw his great goal against Chelsea.

“There can be no doubt that he has taken an important step in the right direction. He gave a lot to Atletico Madrid, and this is a new challenge, though I am sure that he will triumph.

“With a good coach like Rafa Benitez, and with the help of his Spanish team-mates, the process of adaptation will be easier. There is no doubt that he will do well.”

Torres himself says he is delighted by the start to his Anfield career.

“After I left Atletico Madrid I dreamed of days like I had against Derby,” he declared. “It was a magic Saturday and I know it is early but I have confidence we can carry on playing like this.

“Scoring two goals at Anfield in the Premiership shows that I am ready for this big challenge.

“Everything this summer, all the hard work in making the move happen has been proved worthwhile by games like this and I am so grateful to Liverpool and my team-mates.

“My objective now is to be an idol at Liverpool and if I keep scoring goals like this then hopefully it will help me become a favourite for the fans.

“I know that many people have doubted me because of the size of the transfer fee but my answer will always be with the goals I score.

“That is the most important thing in the world, especially for me as a striker who feeds on goals.

“I don't want to set a target, but if I avoid injuries and stay in good form then I want a minimum of 15 goals.

“That will be a good number for me in what will be a very hard first season in the Premiership.”

Torres, meanwhile, has shaken off a slight knock and is expected to line up alongside clubmate Xabi Alonso for Spain in Saturday’s Euro 2008 qualifier against Iceland in Reykjavik.

Torres seems to have fully recovered after taking a knock to his right knee in training.

He trained normally and even took part in a nine against nine training match yesterday, scoring as his side lost the bounce-game 2-1.

David Villa has been confirmed as one of Luis Aragones’ starting strikers, and Torres is likeliest to partner him.

Alonso has been relegated to the substitutes’ bench since last year’s World Cup, but his recent Premier League performances look set to earn him a recall alongside Xavi.

Alonso has been very impressed with the speed with which his international team-mate has settled into Premier League life at Anfield.

“Fernando has settled very quickly and that is encouraging because it can be difficult coming into a new league,” said Alonso.

“He has shown he is not afraid of the physical contact here, with defenders trying to put him off, and that is really important.

“He seems to like the challenge of trying to come out on top against defenders.”


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