26 September, 2007

Fernando Torres and His Immaculate Hat Trick

The concept of squad rotation is one of the real mysteries of the modern game. Surely, if they are fit and available, you always play your best 11 players? I have a lot of time for Raphael Benitez, but leaving someone as exciting and potentially match-winning as Fernando Torres on the bench in two consecutive Premier League games is simply baffling. The theory of squad rotation is a debate for another time, but I think it is safe to say that last night Torres forced his manager’s hand by making himself ‘undroppable,’ in a master-class performance that included everything. To give them their dues, Reading were no pushover, equalizing twice and causing the Liverpool backline all sorts of problems despite a massive personnel change themselves. At the heart of their defence they had Michael Duberry and Andre Bikey, both decent players in their own right, and each easily outweighing Torres by a good couple of stone. Despite taking a shoeing in the first minutes of the game, Torres picked himself up and got on with the task at hand, something he would have to do time and time again throughout the 90 minutes as Reading struggled to keep up with him. Not once did he throw his toys out of the pram and have a Christinao Ronaldo-esque hissy fit, the sign of a true professional and an overall class act.

Anyway, this is turning out to be pretty masturbatorary so I’ll just leave you with video footage of the three goals, each showcasing the variety of skills he has in his locker. The pace, composure, strength and technique are all sublime, and you can’t help but feel that if he actually gets the time on the pitch, Liverpool have the thoroughbred 25 goal-a-season striker they’ve been searching for since Michael Owen went off the boil 5 years ago. I admit, I might have a slight man-crush on him…