Can Benitez rejuvenate Torres?

by Richard Foulder

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012


So Roman did what Roman does. Scolari, Ancelotti and Villas-Boas all experienced dips as the cold of winter started to set in and all eventually paid with their jobs. In the case of Di Matteo, Roman decided to change the manager whilst the autum/winter slump was in its infancy. I’m guessing he did this with the hope Benitez can turn things around as previous slumps at this time in the season have casued irreparable damage to the league campaign.

He has sacked Di Matteo, a legend at the club for his playing days and for being the manager who finally delivered the Champions League. Ironic Abromovich should turn to the scourge of Chelsea for so many years, Rafa Benitez. Under Rafa Liverpool eliminated Chelsea in two Champions League semi-finals, sandwiched between these two they stopped Chelsea winning the double by knocking them out of the Fa Cup, again at the semi-final stage. It was Liverpool, under Benitez who ended Chelsea’s run of 86 games unbeaten at home in the Premier League with a 1-0 win. Chelsea were on  top of the league before that game in October 2008, but it was Liverpool who emerged as real title contenders according to England’s Premier League Betting and Scolari was sacked in February after defeats at Old Trafford and Anfield.

Di Matteo was not given until February. The Chelsea hero has been replaced with someone the Chelsea faithful regarded as something of a nemesis in his Liverpool days. One of the reasons for the this appointment has to be that it is something of a last role of the dice to get Torres scoring again. Quite frankly I don’t see Benitez being able to somehow magically transform Torres. Benitez facilitated Torres’s form at Liverpool, but much bigger forces were at work that meant Torres enjoyed the best spell of his career.

After leaving his boyhood club Athletico Madrid Torres spoke of the huge relief and how the move was good for everyone. This was not a story of a young man who would miss home and not hack it away from the safety of a stadium full of adoring fans. Torres was heaped with the pressure of being the saviour and face of Athletico from about 17. Whilst Athletico had to suffer the embarressment of trying to climb out of the Segunda División in the early 2000s their city rivals were enjoying a great period, winning League and European titles. One consolation in the hearts of all Athletico fans was, ‘we have Torres, a future star.’  He was captain by 19 and felt people in the dressing room were hiding behind him. He had the weight of a huge club on his shoulders and at the time, a miss similar to the one at Old Trafford last season (good run, going past the goalkeeper before missing) was seen as ‘typical Torres.’

Away from the pressures of Madrid and into a club whose fans had not had a prolific striker to adore since Owen, Torres scored 29 goals in his first season. He was in a dressing room with legends like Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyypia. It wasn’t all about him and he was happy to just feed off Alonso and Gerrard and do his job. Torres was immersed in the Liverpool spirit, and at the end of his second season was playing for a club with a heavy Spanish influence, who were regulars in the latter stages of the Champions League and had just finished the season with 86 points coming second in the Premier League. He was completely happy with his surroundings.

Then things fell apart under Benitez and Torres became disillusioned. He was no longer the star of the Spanish national team as he had been at Euro 2008, in South Africa at the World Cup Torres was mostly a sub and was heading back to a club who were no longer in the Champions League. Torres was desperate to stop his career sliding so moved to champions Chelsea.

Moving to Chelsea may have brought the medals Torres was seeking, just not how he wanted them. Drogba was still the main man at the bridge and they were never able to strike up a partnership. It just feels like he has never really got to touch with the identity of Chelsea. Torres valued the history of Liverpool and the soul of Anfield. Chelsea is a club where managers are churned out every few months and players like Terry and Ashley Cole bounce from one PR disaster to the next. Torres isn’t a mercenary, he wants a bond with the fans and with the club he is at like he has had before. I don’t think Benitez can fix this. He may help Torres somewhat but I don’t see a return to the form where he was one of the best strikers in the world, too much water, or managers and the soullessness of Abramovich Chelsea has run under the bridge at Stamford.


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  • DaveWestAus

    Your 6th paragraph,saying ‘things fell apart under Benitez’,is quite wrong.It all fell apart because the first Yanky owners would’n’t get the players he wanted.They did’n’t have the finance to support the club,and instead stripped the club of assets!
    Benitez is a great football manager and tactician,’as all will see’.With the financial backing of Abromovic,Chelsea will flourish with Benitez in charge.
    It grieves me that LFC’s new owners did’n’t take him back to the club when he made himself available! The LFC fans who did’n’t want him back will regret it!

  • Hassan

    I was shocked wen i heard d sacking of Di-Matteo.Datz a mad decision taken.Abramovich will ruin chelsea.Benitez wil give chelsea complete failure by tryin to rejuvinate super-flop Torres.Torres should leave us b4 leading chelsea to relegation.

  • Mystical Mike

    Abramovich has made Chelsea what they are today. A club with no soul. Shame on them and shame on Abramovich who doesnt care about anyone but himself.

    I seriously hope they do Leeds and do us a favour too. The most hated club in Europe

  • Mystical Mike

    Benitez didn’t know his best team. How may consecutive times did he change his line up? 48 or something like that?

    An an Arsenal fan this is the best news I’ve heard in ages as 3rd sport is back up for grabs now

  • Richard Foulder

    He once went 99 games without naming the same team. His best season was when he and everyone else at the club new the first 11.

    Things did fall apart with Benitez at the helm whether the ex owners can be part blamed as well or not. It was Benitez who bought Aquilani and had too much faith in Insua. It was Benitez who tried to sell Alonso to Juve and get Gareth Barry to the club in 2008.

    We needed another striker after Keane left, the fact one never arrived and Benitez had to turn to Ngog is probably not his fault. Also not his fault was the fact plans for a new stadium never got out of their infancy.

    It was also unlucky for Rafa that the 2009/10 season was very bad timing for having a bad season. City and Spurs and bought big and brought in some decent players. Houllier was able to have a bad season in 2003/04 and still finish 4th because the strength in depth of the PL wasn’t as good. This wasn’t the case in 2009/10.

    90% of Liverpool fans regard Rafa as a hero.

  • MM

    erh, nope. he’s finished. Look at the facts. He wasnt a goal scorer at Athletico. Liverpool was a one off

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