It sounds crazy, but could a loan spell at Liverpool be the perfect tonic for Torres?

It seems almost impossible to be suggesting this, but I’m beginning to feel sorry for Fernando Torres.

There, I’ve said it, got it out in the open, off my chest, to rank along with all those other guilty secrets like a fondness for ELO and a teenage crush on the Shake 'n' Vac lady.

The sight of Torres warming up along the touchline on Tuesday evening was one of those laugh or cry moments; his body language so appalling, his humiliation so apparent, you could actually feel some sympathy for a bloke whose annual salary equals the GDP of a small nation.

His move to Chelsea has been a disaster hasn’t it? Unmitigated, debilitating disaster. He left Liverpool in search of honours he said, in search of a more powerful team and the bright lights of big competition. He found the Carling Cup.

His latest adventure under the glittering (and I use the term loosely) disco ball of that competition was almost degrading, as he toiled worthlessly while Liverpool of all clubs dumped his team out with some relish.

In the Champions’ League against Valencia, Chelsea looked far more like their old selves…which meant Didier Drogba leading the attacking line like a lionheart, while Torres spent the evening avoiding splinters in his arse.

To see a £50million player used as a substitute – and let’s face it, a bloody ineffective one that at that – is almost obscene. How can so much money be spent on something so apparently worthless? (Answers on a postcard to those about to prop up the Greek economy).

Polishing the bench at Stamford Bridge is demeaning for Fernando Torres. He was a great striker, a world class one, and yet if he spends any more time enduring that ritual humiliation, his reputation will be totally devastated.

He won’t be remembered as the man who won the European Championships for Spain, as a player who won a World Cup winners’ medal or a striker who was feared across the globe, but a faintly ludicrous figure who gets rolled out with the stiffs for games that don’t matter.

So I have a solution. They are a forgiving lot at Anfield, the fans quick to embrace an underdog and show the sort of love and affection that could just revive the career of Fernando Torres.

Sure, there are many who believe him a traitor of the highest order, those who would never forgive him, but there are many who feel it is a shame he never quite cemented the place in Liverpool legend he was on his way to achieving.

And Kenny Dalglish has a problem with strikers. Luis Suarez could find himself banned for a fair chunk of the holiday period, given his indiscretions of late, and in his absence, the Reds boss can’t fancy his alternatives too much.

Even if Suarez miraculously escapes a ban, Liverpool still have a problem up front. Suarez is a top class player, a true talent and a joy at times to watch, but he is not an out and out goalscorer. His conversion rate in front of goal is actually rather worrying, as his stats show – the most shots in the Premier League, but only four goals.

What he needs is a goalscorer beside him. But so far, Andy Carroll hasn’t looked like a goalscorer either. He’s got plenty of talent, he’s contributed in terms of the team, but hasn’t looked much like finding the net on a regular basis.

Which probably explains why Liverpool keep dropping points to the likes of Fulham, Swansea, Norwich et al. They created many, many chances against all those sides, but didn’t take enough for victory, and that is a worrying trend.

When he was at Liverpool Torres was a goalscorer. And he’s clearly not wanted at Chelsea. So why not let him go back to Anfield for a bit, to see if he can rediscover his old muse? If there is one set of fans who will help him find it, then it is the Anfield support.

And just say he does, then Chelsea will at least have a striker with a resale value, rather than the one they have at the moment who is barely worth a grab-bag of Quavers and a tape of the second season of Kojak.

There is the small matter of course, that a rejuvenated Torres could score the goals Liverpool have been missing, and inspire them to a top four finish that may oust Chelsea from the Champions’ League party. But what the hell, it’s nearly Christmas, it’s time for giving. And clearly, there are plenty of people at Stamford Bridge who’d like to give Fernando Torres something right now.

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williamhill.com

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