Torres: Cup run can save us

Striker looks back to triumph four years ago to lift Liverpool's flagging spirits
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The Independent Online

For all the impact Fernando Torres has made since his arrival in England in 2007, there has been no silverware to match his personal achievements for Liverpool. Despite their sluggish start in the FA Cup, it could yet offer some salvation in a season that has been blown off course more than any at Anfield could have imagined.

Having won the Champions League in Rafael Benitez's first season in 2005, few would have thought that the FA Cup final win over West Ham the following year would be their only trophy over the next couple of seasons, despite Torres arriving amid a flurry of goals.

Although Liverpool pushed Manchester United all the way for the Premier League last season, the closest Torres has come to collective success has been discussing the dramatic victory over West Ham with Pepe Reina, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. Even before the row over Tom Hicks Jr's email, the start of the year has not been too promising, with Liverpool only managing a 1-1 draw at Reading, who have won one of their 12 home games in the Championship this season. The Anfield club are 12 points off the leaders Chelsea, with the underwhelming prospect of the Europa League's Thursday nights just a few weeks away.

The memories of home Cup defeats to Bristol City, Bolton and more recently Barnsley will weigh heavy at Anfield but the prospect of a first trip to the new Wembley could help make up for what has been a humbling campaign both on and off the field.

Argentine winger Maxi Rodriguez has yet to tie up his £1.5million move from Atletico Madrid but could finally arrive on Merseyside for a medical today after snow and negotiations over a pay off with his former club delayed a deal that could well bring the only arrival at Liverpool in the transfer window.

Benitez, who will once again be without Glen Johnson and Javier Mascherano this evening, remains reticent about allowing any more fringe players to leave because he knows he will not be given all the money he brings in, but Torres remains optimistic about the prospects for this season and feels that a run in the Cup could galvanise the club.

"I remember watching the 2006 final when Liverpool played West Ham, it was a great match," the Spanish forward said. "Pepe, Stevie and Carra have told me all about it.

"In this country it is the most important trophy after the title. Of course we want to finish in the top four too. If we could do that and win the Cup it would be the best season we've had for the last three or four years. I know we finished second but to win something and finish in the top four would be better than that.

"In one game anything can happen. We have to be aware of that and remain focused to ensure teams don't surprise us. It was a tough evening for us. Any time you go away to face a Championship team it is difficult.

"Hopefully we can overcome them in the replay. We are confident of doing so. Unfortunately this season is not turning out how we had wanted, but our best is still to come. Let's hope that we can put a string of good performances together and that we can put right what we've not done so well up to now."

Reading completed a loan deal for Andy Griffin until the end of the season yesterday but the Stoke defender is not available for this evening's match because he was not registered for the match at the Madejski Stadium.

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