Strictly speaking, Benitez must change the tune for Gerrard and Torres

Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are so in tune with each other, I'd back them to win Strictly Come Dancing if they ever fancied swapping studs for sequins.

At times, the combination play between Liverpool's strike duo is so good that you wonder whether Rafa Benitez is a coach or choreographer.

Goal-maker and goal-taker in perfect harmony – a bit like Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush during the club's golden era 25 years ago.

Yet unless Benitez changes the record, I fear Liverpool will have their toes severly stamped on by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

For all the attacking brilliance that Gerrard supplies when he plays in tandem with Torres, he is the only world-class midfielder at Anfield.

With Xabi Alonso now at Real Madrid and £20m new boy Alberto Aquilani still weeks away from match fitness, Liverpool have nobody to pull the strings in the area of the pitch where football games are decided.

Control the midfield and the likelihood is you take the three points.

Javier Mascherano may be the captain of Argentina and a target for Barcelona, but he is a play-breaker rather than maker.

Groin strain permitting, Mascherano won't take a backward step on Sunday. But he can't be expected to handle Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Michael Ballack all on his lonesome.

Lucas Leiva was out of his depth when Chelsea beat Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League last season.

And the young Brazilian has continued to have his struggles whenever he has come up against players with a bit of nous during the current campaign.

Liverpool have looked nothing more than flat-track bullies this season and have been exposed every time they have come up against teams capable of out-manouvreing them in central areas.

Tottenham and Aston Villa have already beaten them in the Premier League – and a third slip-up at Chelsea could be fatal to Benitez's title ambitions.

When Benitez decided to deploy full-back Fabio Aurelio in central midfield against Fiorentina in midweek, it showed how desperate he is to maintain the Gerrard-Torres axis.

The Spaniard has proved himself to be a master tactician many times in the past – especially in Europe. But his teamsheet on Wednesday night was a suicide note.

Liverpool were never going to come back from Italy with anything but a shoeing because they were never able to get their two best players on the ball.

And even if Mascherano returns against Chelsea, it's hard to see how Gerrard and Torres will get anything more substantial than a few scraps given the Londoners' superiority in midfield.

But if Gerrard drops back into a deeper role, it could be a different ball game.

Carlo Ancelotti has better midfield options than any other manager in the country, when you consider that he has Deco as well as Lampard, Essien and Ballack.

But, for me, Steven Gerrard is the best midfielder in the country.

Senor Benitez just needs to let him prove it this weekend.

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williamhill.com

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