Liverpool v Chelsea: Fernando Torres out to repeat last season's heroics
HAVING been presented with a beautiful watch to commemorate his status as Liverpool's player of the year, Fernando Torres could not have picked a better moment to talk about his desire to make up for lost time.
Torres cuts a frustrated figure at present as he bids to shake off the fitness problems which have restricted his impact on Liverpool's season so far but he firmly believes he is edging closer to the level he wants to be at.
"It's been a strange season for me because I have never really had injuries before and I have had three on the run," he said.
"This has meant I have not always felt 100% but now I am feeling very good and every day I am feeling better.
"Now I just want to look ahead because there is still a lot to play for this season and hopefully I can play my part."
There would be no better time - and perhaps no better opponents - for Torres to announce his re-emergence from the sidelines than in Sunday's game against Chelsea. The London club have the dubious distinctionof being the first in the League to be on the receiving end of the Spanish striker's finishing skills.
In a moment that will never be forgotten by the 43,924 people at Anfield lucky enough to see it, Torres surged clear of Tal Ben Haim with a burst of electrifying pace before opening his body and stroking the ball into the net past a powerless Petr Cech. Mere mention of that game is enough to make Torres' face light up.
"It was my first game at Anfield in front of the Liverpool fans so it is a very special memory for me," he said.
"I also scored my first goal in that game so it was the beginning of everything for me. "Because of this there would be no game that would be better for me to score again at Anfield. "I know there will be so many people watching the game and our fans will be really wanting us to win so hopefully I can play at my best and score a goal.
"It is a special stadium for me and I would love to score there in every game we play."
Incredibly, scoring at Anfield is something the 24-year-old has not done since last May when he got the winner against Man City. That startling statistic is partially explained by the fact that injuries have meant Torres has started only a handful of games there since then. But it is a record he longs to put right.
He said: "It is something I want to change - for me, for my team and for the fans.
"Like I said, this has been a strange season for me and I have not been able to play in as many games or score as many goals as I would have liked but hopefully this will change.
"But more than anything I want to win a trophy with Liverpool and for this to happen we have to start winning more games.
"It's not just in the league either, we also have the FA Cup and the Champions League to aim for so there are a lot of big games coming up.
"But we are in a good position in all of these competitions and we have to be positive and I hope that this season will turn out to be a good one for Liverpool and for me."
Like everyone else at Anfield, Torres was hugely disappointed to see another two points go begging after being pegged back by Wigan on Wednesday night.
But he believes the meeting with Chelsea's line up of stars is the perfect motivation for Liverpool to get any such negative feelings out of their system and continue their involvement in the title race.
"We are in the race for the title and we will see what happens.
"Obviously, it was disappointing that we were not able to win against Wigan on Wednesday night.
"It was two points dropped at a time when Man United are two points ahead of us having played a game less.
"So we know that it is difficult for us but we also know that there are many more important games to come, starting with Sunday's against Chelsea, and we will have more chances to pick up important points.
"We must be positive because we are in a good position even though we have not been at our very best in recent weeks.
"If we can beat Chelsea then everything will change and that means this game is a big opportunity for us.
"Chelsea are fighting for the title with us and Man United so a win against them would boost our confidence for the rest of the season, that is why this is such a massive game.
"We are Liverpool and we are not scared of anyone. I know that Chelsea have some fantastic players and we respect them a lot but we have shown that we can beat them. Hopefully we can do that again."
Fernando Torres honoured to be Liverpool's player of 2008
FERNANDO Torres says he is deeply honoured to be named Liverpool's player of the year for 2008.
In a poll conducted on Liverpool's official club website the Spanish striker took the honour, which was won last year by Jamie Carragher.
Torres told the ECHO: "I know that last season was a fantastic season for me. It was my first one at Liverpool and I really enjoyed it because of the goals I scored but also because of the support of the fans which helped me so much.
"When you play in a team with players like Stevie, Carra, Reina and Mascherano - in fact, any of my team mates - it is a big honour to be given this kind of award, especially because it was voted for by the fans.
*Fernando Torres won the watch from David M. Robinson for being voted LFC Player of the Year by visitors to www.liverpoolfc.tv for 2007/2008 season.
The watch is the new Breitling Super Avenger with white dial and a red Ocean Racer strap, which retails for ÃÂ£2,695.