Reina: Chelsea egos to blame for Torres trouble

Liverpool keeper criticises opposition for handling of striker ahead of today's FA Cup final

The Liverpool goalkeeper, Pepe Reina, has said on the eve of today's FA Cup final that Chelsea are to blame for Fernando Torres' struggle to deliver at Stamford Bridge, having failed to dispense with other players' egos and build a team around him. Neither had Chelsea built up his confidence when he needed them to.

Reina said he believed the 28-year-old may have regretted leaving Liverpool, where he was given a chance to flourish as a star player in a way which could not be accommodated at Chelsea. "The pressure was there [after his £50m transfer] but I don't think it was only down to Fernando. I don't think Chelsea as a club delivered for him," Reina said. "We built a team for Fernando here. Along with Stevie [Gerrard], Fernando was our star player. We had no problems admitting that. He deserved that and he earned that credit. I'm not sure it's like that at Chelsea."

Having Torres as the hub of the side was "the situation when [he] was performing at his best," Reina added. "I'm not saying Chelsea have to do that because Fernando can perform for any club in the world, but it is easier when you have that situation." Asked if Chelsea's players had been selfless enough for Torres to fit in among them, Reina replied: "I don't know. I'm not the person to talk about Chelsea. I have my own problems at Liverpool."

The 29-year-old was alluding to his own dip in form this season, during which Liverpool had provided a support the goalkeeper feels was missing for his compatriot – a close friend with whom he still speaks regularly. "The difference between Fernando and myself is that I have had the confidence of the people at my club all the time," he said. "I don't think that has been the case for Fernando at Chelsea. It is much easier to get over your mistakes when you know you have the confidence of your manager and your team-mates. With [Andre] Villas-Boas especially, I don't think Fernando felt that confidence."

Today is one of huge significance to Liverpool's manager, Kenny Dalglish, for whom the final is a significant part of his attempt to persuade John W Henry, the club's principal owner, that he should be kept on. Dalglish admitted for the first time that the club's league form – they are eighth and 34 points off the leaders, Manchester City – has been disappointing. When he managed the Liverpool side in an FA Cup final, in 1986, they had already won the league. Now, Dalglish knows the season will be assessed on the turn of one game. It will be widely deemed a success if Liverpool beat Chelsea to collect a second trophy, after the Carling Cup win over Cardiff City; a failure if they lose.

"We would love to have done better in the league but you can't take away from the performances in the cups," said Dalglish, who is seeking to become only the fourth manager to have won three FA Cup finals, after Bill Nicholson, Arsène Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. "If we get the league performances right then next season will be good."

The manager said he still felt he had a debt to pay back after leaving Liverpool in 1991, a decision he has always regretted. "I owe the football club a lot more than they owe me. I will always feel that. Because it's Liverpool FC, for the opportunities they have given me." Today gives him a chance to deliver Liverpool some more of the record book entries they secured so relentlessly in his playing days. They can set a new record of 16 major domestic cup wins in England, moving ahead of Manchester United, and become the first team ever to achieve the FA Cup and League Cup double in the same season on two occasions.

Dalglish has never lost to Chelsea in 13 meetings as Liverpool manager and his side go in search of a club record fifth consecutive win over this opposition.

Reina said he would relish the idea of Torres being back at Liverpool, where he scored 81 goals in 126 games. "I would like to play with Fernando every day of my life," he said. "Obviously, when Fernando was struggling he probably missed Liverpool. He was an icon here. I have spoken to many former players and when they left Liverpool, most of them have regretted it."

Suggested Topics
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor