Anfield striker under pressure

Former Liverpool star slams 'diabolical' Torres

September 13, 2010
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has been branded "diabolical" and accused of lacking the desire to perform at the top level by former Anfield hero Jamie Redknapp.

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Torres, who has struggled for form since suffering an adductor injury last season, looked off the pace during Liverpool's 0-0 draw with Birmingham at St Andrews and struggled to make an impact against centre-backs Roger Johnson and Scott Dann.

The Spain international has been widely criticised since the World Cup and Redknapp is the latest expert to lay into Torres.

"Fans will suffer to a certain extent when you give the ball away, but they won't suffer a lack of effort," Redknapp said. "Out there for 45 minutes today he (Torres) has been terrible. He hasn't got hold of the ball, he hasn't chased, he's got frustrated, he could have been booked, he's been diabolical.

"I'm his biggest fan, and of course you have to give Johnson and Dann credit, but he's shown no appetite for the game. He's looked frustrated, sloppy, lethargic. I know people talk about his rustiness, but he looked fed-up."

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson leapt to the defence of Torres - who scored the winner against West Bromwich Albion last month with his only goal of the season - and insisted the striker will get "better and better."

"Fernando came into the centre on a few occasions and, when he did that, he caused havoc," Hodgson said. "You've got to give the back four of Birmingham credit. They worked very hard to contain him and pressurise him.

"But he is looking much fitter with every game and I thought he looked dangerous and I thought, the longer the game went, the stronger he became. I think he is working hard for the team. He is a constant thorn in the side of defenders.

"We know he lacks match training. He missed matches at the end of last year and during the World Cup. But I'm not at all concerned about Fernando Torres. He will get better and better."