Xabi Alonso treasures Spanish hit-man Fernando Torres
XABI ALONSO last night hailed countryman Fernando Torres’s seamless introduction to the Premier League, after the Spain striker inspired Liverpool to a 6-0 destruction of Derby County.
Torres continued his impressive start to life at Anfield against Billy Davies’ Rams on Saturday, taking his tally to three for the season with a second-half double.
The £18million summer signing has added a new dimension to Rafael Benitez’s striking options this term, bringing pace and power to Liverpool’s forward line – attributes Alonso believes have helped the youngster to settle quickly in English football.
Torres arrived on Merseyside with question marks hanging over whether his finishing ability would transfer to the Premier League. But international team-mate Alonso, who also grabbed a brace in the rout, believes the marksman is ready to improve on his impressive showings by topping the goal-scoring charts.
“I think Fernando is doing really well,” said Alonso. “He has settled into the Premier League very quickly and that is encouraging because it can be difficult coming into a new league. He has great pace, physical strength and, hopefully, he will score more goals now.
“He has shown he is not afraid of the physical contact here, with defenders trying to put him off, and that is really, really important.
“You can see he is not afraid. Defenders will realise that he is not afraid and it is like a motivation for him. He seems to like the challenge of trying to come out on top and he is doing really well for us.”
Manager Benitez was similarly impressed the performance of his record buy. He added: “We knew he had power and movement which would suit the Premier League. He’s scoring goals, playing well and his understanding with the others is good.
“We already knew he was really strong and he will be even stronger in a few months as well. He’s working really hard. When you talk of strikers, you can have someone who gets 20 goals a season but is just waiting for chances. If you have someone who gets 15 but creates 10 or 15 for the others, it’s better.”
The Spaniards’ goals were supplemented by strikes from substitute Andriy Voronin and Ryan Babel – a memorable first Liverpool goal for the Dutchman on the stroke of half-time.
The victory took Liverpool’s total to 10 goals in the last two games and Benitez, who left Peter Crouch out of his squad, admits the form of his strikers has provided him with a welcome headache.
Of Babel’s effort, the manager said: “It was a great goal and great for him. He is improving, his positional sense is getting better and his movement is too.
“I always prefer to have four, five or even nine different players scoring the goals rather than just one or two.
“It’s easier for defenders if they know they just have to control a couple of players who are going to score.
“Having so many players is a problem but one I prefer to have rather than having to play with the same strikers all the time, because I have confidence in the others.”
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