Fernando Torres and his memorable stint at Liverpool

Fernando Torres is a very interesting case in the world of football because he was one of those wonderkids with a lot of potential. However, while is fair to say that he did live up to his potential, there is also the argument that his prime was a bit short. In that regard, there is also no denying that the best years of his career were at Liverpool.

Liverpool team 2009 with Fernando Torres
Liverpool team of 2009 with Fernando Torres in the upper right corner
The Spanish striker arrived at Anfield (and England as a whole) as one of the most promising players in football at the time and as a hot commodity for the Reds. And while he had extraordinary performances with Liverpool, it is also interesting to see what went wrong, considering that he only spent three years at this club and never reached those heights ever again in his career.

The context

Fernando Torres made his professional debut at 17 years of age as a striker for Atletico Madrid when the latter were in the second division of Spanish football. Atletico, back in those ways, were losing a lot of prominence in Spain because of several poor decisions, so they saw in Torres the player they needed to build a new project.

Los Colchoneros came back to the first division of La Liga in the 2002-03 season, with Torres starting quite well there with 14 goals in 32 matches across all competitions. As a teenager, that was a very commendable output, and would go on to become the main man at Atletico Madrid in the following years, becoming the captain and ending his first tenure (he would come back to the club in 2015) with 91 goals in 244 matches across all competitions.

This was also the time period where he would end up becoming the starting striker at the Spain national team, cementing his place as one of the most promising talents in world football at the time. However, during the summer of 2007, Torres wanted a new challenge after having rejected an offer from Chelsea, then-Premier League champions, in the summer of 2006.

There were a lot of rumors and reports, but it was eventually confirmed in July that Torres would be heading to English giants Liverpool for 20 million pounds, with attacker Luis Garcia heading the other way in this transfer deal. This would be the most expensive signing the Reds had done until that point in their history, and it was a brave move from Torres as he was departing his childhood club to play in another country.

The peak at Liverpool

Liverpool, as a club, was in a very interesting position when they signed Torres in the summer of 2007. While they were still a few inches away from challenging for the Premier League, they had proven themselves quite capable in cup competitions with manager Rafa Benitez, particularly in Europe as they won the 2005 UEFA Champions League and reached the final in 2007, playing both finals against Carlo Ancelotti's AC Milan side.

In that regard, it was very clear that the Reds were a very competitive side and Torres was adding even more quality to the side. And while there were some expectations surrounding the Spaniard based on what he cost and because he was known as a very promising talent, there is no denying that the now-former Atletico Madrid captain surpassed said expectations and then some.

Torres scored an amazing 33 goals in 46 matches across all competitions for Liverpool, quickly cementing his position as one of the best strikers in the world at the time. His six goals in 11 matches in the UEFA Champions League helped the club reach the semifinals, only losing to a very strong Chelsea side, although it showed what the Spaniard was capable of in the grandest of stages.

This was also the time period when he was a key part of the Spain national team that won the 2008 Euros, beating Germany 1-0 thanks to a goal of his in the final. All of this, plus a decent start in the 2008-09, cemented his place on the podium of the 2008 Ballon d'Or. He finished in third place, behind two slightly known players in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

It is common knowledge that his time at Liverpool was Torres' prime years, even if the following seasons never repeated the success of the 2007-08 one. However, he was still a massive performer for Benitez's side, with the manager getting the most out of him. But as the years went by, injuries began to take a toll on him, and as Liverpool were beginning to decline, it seemed that a sale was on the horizon.

The end

Torres had a steady decline at Liverpool and it would be Chelsea, the club that wanted to sign him when he was a teenager back in 2006, the ones who would give him a chance for a new chapter in his career in January of 2011. The Spaniard himself even had to ask for a transfer request, which truly soured his relationship with the Reds' supporters.

Eventually, he was sold that month to Chelsea for 50 million pounds, becoming the most expensive player in English football history at the time. However, most football fans agree that Torres never fully thrived at Stamford Bridge and that his golden years at Liverpool were something that he never managed to repeat in his career.

It is a shame because those three years at Anfield were some of the brightest in Torres' career and made him a fan favorite during his time with the Reds.
Kelvin Tingling knows most things about football and also likes to write about it. Kelvin lives in Buenos Aires and his favorite team is Boca Juniors.