Torres' love of Liverpool bars way for his cash-rich suitors

Mark Ogden
Wednesday 26 November 2008 01:00
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Fernando Torres has given Liverpool the clearest indication that nothing would be able to tempt him away from Anfield by admitting his pride at representing not only the club, but also the city, whenever he plays for Rafael Benitez's team.

The Spanish forward, who is set to lead the line against Marseilles in tonight's Champions League Group D game at Anfield, has seen his name linked with Chelsea and Manchester City in recent months, at a time when Liverpool's vulnerability to the global financial downturn would leave supporters fearful of a huge offer from either of the Premier League's cash-rich clubs.

Parting with Torres, in normal circumstances, would be unthinkable for Liverpool, but the 24-year-old's admission that he has fallen in love with the club since his arrival from Atletico Madrid in the summer of last year will go some way to easing any fears that he might yet be tempted away by any exorbitant sums on offer elsewhere.

Torres said: "The club is a symbol of a city which fought to stay alive. Everyone is proud of the team and players want to come here because they know that Liverpool is a truly great club.

"Anfield is the most English of grounds – people live and breathe football there – and with just 45,000 fans inside, that roar they give makes you think you have wings on your feet.

"When I came to Liverpool to sign for the club, I spent two days in an apartment that I only left to take some tests. There were just books, DVDs, everything you could think of about the club. Some people from the club came to speak to me and answer my questions. It was incredible.

"I will never forget a man, crossing the street, that I met a short time after I got there – he said to me that he worked all week just to think of the pleasure that would be waiting for him at the stadium. It isn't easy to adapt [to English football] but, once you have, you would have trouble wanting to play anywhere else."

Liverpool can secure qualification to the knock-out stages with a point against Marseilles in Benitez's 66th European game for the club since taking over in 2004. That figure takes him beyond Bill Shankly's tally of 65 games and victory tonight would equal Bob Paisley's record of 39 European victories for Liverpool.

Liverpool (probable) (4-2-3-1): Reina; Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Dossena; Mascherano, Alonso; Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera; Torres.

Marseilles (probable) (4-2-3-1): Mandanda; Bonnart, Cana, Hilton, Taiwo; Cheyrou, M'Bami; Ziani, Kone, Ben Arfa; Niang.

Referee: O Benquerenca (Portugal)

Group D

Results: Marseilles 1 Liverpool 2, PSV Eindhoven 0 Atletico Madrid 3; Atletico Madrid 2 Marseilles 1, Liverpool 3 PSV Eindhoven 1; Atletico Madrid 1 Liverpool 1, PSV Eindhoven 2 Marseilles 0; Liverpool 1 Atletico Madrid 1, Marseilles 3 PSV Eindhoven 0.

Remaining fixtures: Today: Atletico Madrid v PSV Eindhoven, Liverpool v Marseilles; 9 Dec: Marseilles v Atletico Madrid, PSV Eindhoven v Liverpool.

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