James Lawton: While Anfield mourns loss of a star, Dalglish is building sparkling future

Some of of the more sensitive Liverpool fans may feel hurt, even marginalised, by the announcement of Fernando Torres that he was so pleased to be joining a "top-level" club.

They shouldn't. Rather they should take a lot of comfort in the knowledge that if Roman Abramovich gets through on behalf of Chelsea every rouble he has collected from the mineral rights of the Russian people he will almost certainly still be short of half a clue as to how you build any kind of consistent success at the highest level, and still less the knack of winning not one but five European Cups.

Yes, that's history, we know, but ever since it went bad under Rafa Benitez and a dysfunctional, tapped-out ownership, and left problems well beyond the capacity or the style of Roy Hodgson to fix even in the short term, there has been one point of redemption for Liverpool.

It is that they do have a model. Their experience tells them how you build an ethos, a dynamic of success, and if I was a Liverpool fan right now I would face the future with far more relish than trepidation.

Yes, it is always painful to part with a talent of the order of Torres. Maybe his self-absorption had turned poisonous but that doesn't take away the memory of how he once reduced arguably the best pure defender in English football, Nemanja Vidic, to small pieces, or put his new club to the most glittering sword just a few months ago.

But if Liverpool have lost Torres, it is only in the formality of it – he gave up at Anfield, essentially, at least a year ago – and if the men who replace him, Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, are less than cold certainties, they do have some thrilling potential and, you have to believe, an investment in playing better than they ever done before. This is not saying so little.

Suarez was a waspish, persistently dangerous performer for Uruguay in the World Cup and notably unfazed by the fact that he inflamed most of Africa when his goal-line handling shut the door on Ghana.

Carroll has a lot to prove about the stability of his nature but his raw talent is there for anyone to see. Alan Shearer credits Kenny Dalglish with vital help in the scoring art when they were at Blackburn. Dalglish is plainly capable of doing at least as much for the big, long-striding Geordie who has already inflicted plenty of legitimate terror on defences concerned about his height, his force and some deceptive ground skills.

Of course, Chelsea fans can preen over the superior qualities of their new thoroughbred acquisition. But can they be as sanguine about his enduring competitive instincts, his willingness to blend into a team which has developed a fierce dressing-room comradeship over the years – or his ability to fight clear of injuries which in recent years have threatened to become endemic?

Chelsea cannot be hugely confident when they answer any of these questions.

The new Liverpool owners have conceded the point of Dalglish, his meaning, at least for the moment, and have given him some means to fuel his work. They may not be hell-bent on throwing around their money but they have already proved that they know how to remake a great sports institution. Boston Red Sox have two World Series titles to prove it.

Saying adios to Torres was a wrench, for all kinds of reasons, but, soon enough, you have to suspect, it may prove not to have been the worst goodbye.



News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
newsBurt Reynolds, once among the most bankable actors in Hollywood, is set to auction his memorabilia
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
films
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game