Dalglish quick to leap to Torres' defence

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The Independent Football

"Diabolical" is how Jamie Redknapp described it but the Liverpool icon Kenny Dalglish believes Fernando Torres warrants understanding for his lame display at Birmingham last week. "I played a lot worse than he did last Sunday, believe me," said Dalglish in defence of the Spaniard who, in his eyes, is the victim of a non-stop calendar. "He has not had a break for three years. He has had the Confederations Cup, the World Cup, the European Championship. He has picked up two or three injuries and it's been stop-start."

Dalglish was repeating a sentiment expressed in his new book, My Liverpool Home. The Scot, now an ambassador for Liverpool, hopes the sight of Manchester United's shirts will bring out the best in Torres, a scorer in their last three meetings. In two of them, Nemanja Vidic was sent off and Dalglish said: "Vidic is one of the best defenders in the League so that reflects how good our man is. Players have teams they tend to do well against. Maybe United is one that Fernando enjoys playing against and scoring. I hope he doesn't stop."

Dalglish added: "When he goes, people will say what a marvellous player he was. He could play in the Liverpool teams in the era I played; the style of play would have suited him down to the ground."

Dalglish is also hopeful about the future under Roy Hodgson. "The sooner the ownership issue is settled the more stable the club will be but on the football front, it is starting to move in the right direction." He even refused to rule out the prospect of a first League title since his own Anfield managerial reign. "They got close two years ago and if they can get back to that and take a step forward, there is no reason why they can't win it."