Torres brilliance not rewarded  

Posted by T ZAMAN in , ,

After seeing Manchester United crowned Premier League champions, we can finally take stock of what has undoubtedly been a truly enthralling season.

As the dust settles on Fergie's final day success, I have to say that, like many others, I have been thoroughly impressed with United's flying winger Cristiano Ronaldo this campaign, a player who has really caught the eye - for obvious reasons. Hats off to the lad.

The Portugal international has illuminated almost every game he's played in. Then again, the same can be said of Liverpool's Fernando Torres. Well, whenever he's been allowed to play that is.

Since there has been so much praise lavished on Ronaldo, let's talk more about Torres.

For me, he has been nothing but fantastic this season, no doubt about it. This 24-year-old striker is a newcomer to the hustle and bustle of the Premier League and he has shown that he is a cool customer when coming to terms with the physical side of the English game. Not every foreign player can do that, often failing to make as big an impact as Torres has.

The fact that the Spaniard did so well in his debut season is very encouraging and I think he can only get better. The only criticism is maybe that he doesn't score enough goals away from home. A sign of a true quality striker is the ability to score both home and away. But, so far at least, he's still worth all the money Liverpool spent on him..

To be honest though, it's a shame that despite all the effort shown by Torres, Liverpool have finished the season with nothing to show. They may have won a lot of accolades, but there are no trophies to show for their efforts. No hardware. Praise can only take you so far.

On the flip side, this will just make the team hungrier for success and, with that desire for glory, comes titles. Hopefully, Liverpool will shed the tag of ‘nearly-men' soon.

I expect a clear out at Liverpool come summertime when the league goes into hibernation. Xabi Alonso, John Arne Riise, Peter Crouch and Jermaine Pennant could all be saying their goodbyes. I actually wouldn't miss most of them, especially Pennant whose place on the right wing was taken by Dirk Kuyt. Need I say more?

If you were to ask me who I would like to see arriving at Anfield, then Gareth Barry is one of them. It is getting a little ugly between Martin O'Neill and Rafael Benitez, but this shows how important and talented Barry is.

There can be little doubt that Barry will be the perfect foil for Steven Gerrard in the centre of midfield. We have seen it before when the duo played for England. It will be a good combination for Liverpool and one that will persuade Rafa to stick Stevie G in midfield because that is his best position. Period.

Liverpool also need an out-and-out winger and Blackburn's David Bentley is one of those who has impressed me. This former Arsenal apprentice will be a perfect replacement for the other former Arsenal apprentice at Anfield. Bentley is one of those wingers who can do everything - deliver accurate crosses from deep, take on players with pace and is deadly from free-kicks. But Blackburn have been steadily improving every season and don't need to sell their players. It would take a massive amount of effort and money to even open discussions with Rovers gaffer Mark Hughes.

Apart from Liverpool, there were a few key moments - or should I say controversial moments - that marked this BPL season. I was particularly surprised by the sackings of Jose Mourinho and Sam Allardyce at Chelsea and Newcastle respectively. They were perhaps a victim of their own club's misguided ambitions. But the most talked about BPL moment has to be the reinstatement of Kevin Keegan at Newcastle. It was an appointment that shook the English game.

Who knows what kind of twists and turns we will have in the coming 2008/09 season? After the exciting cliff-hanger we had on the final day of the season, I for one will be looking forward to next season with even more anticipation than before. Will you?

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