Just to continue on the Torres discussion from yesterday, because a couple of thoughts have been lingering.
In the past two seasons for Atletico Madrid, Torres played 40 games each year. He’s only played more than 40 games a season once in his career.
Liverpool played 58 games last season (62 the season before that), and chances are (hopefully), they’ll play a similar amount this season. Pennant had the most appearances with 52; only Pennant, Carra, Gerrard, Reina and Alonso played more than 50 games.
Given Torres’ importance to Liverpool’s season this year, and the necessity he’s fit for “big games,” those stats make his place on the bench yesterday a little more understandable, no matter how angry I still am with the draw. Again, I reiterate, it was Birmingham, at home, and Liverpool should have done better regardless.
But today quotes, in which Benitez says that leaving Torres out was a tactical decision, is still baffling. That can’t be the sole reason, and if it was, then Rafa did make a mistake. I was under the impression that Torres was one of the players bought for games exactly like yesterday’s, where Liverpool needed class and creativity to carve open a stingy defense.
Fernando Torres is not Craig Bellamy. The sum of his game is not just getting behind defenders, even if that’s what he’s done best so far.