Torres shows eagerness for physical tests ahead

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The Independent Football

Fernando Torres has suffered his second black eye of the season, evidence that he has learned that being one of the best strikers in the world does not absolve him from the more physical elements of the job. The Liverpool striker said yesterday that he will have to get used to frustrating nights such as Wednesday's 1-0 victory over Debrecen in the Champions League.

Torres found himself outnumbered by a Hungarian team who flooded their defence and restricted the striker to few chances, although it was from his initial shot that Dirk Kuyt scored the game's only goal. Torres said: "I got this black eye with the national team, not in England, but football is like this. This type of thing happens.

"I have to learn, I have to adapt and protect myself because I think the referees don't just have to protect three or four players, they have to protect all of them. England is a physical league and we have to learn and try to be safe.

"I have to be aware of defenders paying more attention to me. I have to improve and try to play to my strengths. Half-way through my first season, the defenders knew me as well. I cannot use that as an excuse. I have to be ready."

On Wednesday night, Torres found himself a lot further away from Steven Gerrard who occupied Javier Mascherano's usual position alongside Lucas Leiva in front of the back four. Without the impetus of his captain right behind him, Torres looked isolated at times. "If you get frustrated then you cannot win the game," Torres said. "I know for the good of the team I have to be aware and beat the defenders. That is my job.

"But when a team defends all the time, maybe it is easier for the midfielders because they have more space. Normally I have one or two players with me all the time. For example, when Stevie plays with me can score a lot of goals."