By splashing cash on Carroll and Suarez Liverpool's owners have turned Torres' exit from catastrophe into triumph

For Liverpool’s new owners, their first transfer window was an ordeal by fire, a ferocious baptism in the art of running a Premier League club.

They passed that trial, if not with flying colours, then at least with a confidence and conviction that shows they are at least prepared to be decisive in their attempts to revive an ailing ‘franchise’.

Put bluntly, the loss of Fernando Torres could have been a disaster, not just from a short-term, PR perspective, but in regards of the long-term future and development of the club.

Losing your best player under the circumstances that unfolded from last Thursday evening onwards left Liverpool in a near-impossible situation.

Logic screamed at them to accept Chelsea’s offer of £50million, given the doubts about the fitness of the player.

But to become a selling club, to become a club that has no option but to cave in as soon as a bigger, wealthier club comes calling sends out a potentially devastating message.

It is devastating, not just for fans who will lose heart and hope, but for players too, the ones already at the club, and the ones you hope to attract in the future.

In simple terms, top clubs base a lot of their business on confidence in the future, and if you are suggesting the future isn’t bright then you're bringing yourself massive problems.

Let’s not hide from this fact: Torres left because he doesn’t believe Liverpool Football Club can deliver on his ambitions in the short term.

He is almost 27 and has perhaps three of his peak years left at the very top.

And he has won nothing.

Liverpool may well not be in the Champions League for another 18 months, and it could be two or three years before they are in a position to challenge strongly for the very top honours. So in a way, Torres has a point.

But if that message were allowed to filter through to players such as Pepe Reina and even Steven Gerrard, then it sets a massively dangerous precedent.

Yet in one dramatic twist of the agenda on Monday afternoon, Liverpool’s owners transformed a disastrous situation.

Yes, the signing of Andy Carroll for such a massive fee is a gamble, but it is a calculated one.

Liverpool, in effect have used the money they got for Torres to buy two strikers of immense, youthful promise. And in doing so, they have sent out a powerfully positive message.

Carroll is just 22, Luis Suarez was 24 last week. Torres is 27 next month, and is clearly still recovering from injuries that devastated and ruined the ends of his last two seasons.

There were rumours that his medical at Stamford Bridge wasn’t exactly straight-forward, with worries over a knee problem that could have implications for the future.

Given the injuries he has suffered, and the effect it has clearly had on his pace – one of his key assets and the most important aspect of his game – it is probably not too outrageous to suggest (very quietly), that his best years may, just may, be behind him.

Carroll’s best years potentially lie ahead of him, and the same applies to Suarez.

Both are still unproven at the very top in the Premier League, but both have done enough to suggest they could reach it.

So with one clever, calculated gamble, Liverpool’s American owners have turned catastrophe, appalling disaster, into triumph, or at least hope.

After three days of pessimism, they have replaced it with a genuine sense of optimism around Anfield, for fans and players alike.

They have actually managed to transform the loss of Torres from the worst possible news into a potentially good deal.

They have certainly allowed people to argue that swapping a crock like Torres, who may never be the same player again because of the injuries he has suffered, for two of the most promising young strikers in the world may actually be a canny bit of business.

There is instantly a sense of hope for people around Anfield to cling onto, when there appeared none on Friday night.

And for guys who profess to know nothing about English football, that’s not a bad first achievement - and not a bad response to their first trial by fire.

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williamhill.com

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