Fernando Torres is staying at Liverpool as he wants to write his place in the history books by bringing a long-awaited league title back to Anfield. The 26-year-old was linked with a move away from Merseyside after a disappointing seventh-placed finish in the 2009/10 Premier League, with Chelsea and Manchester City reportedly ready to make British record bids. However, those who speculated about the striker's future did a major disservice to his love for, and loyalty to, the Reds.
When former manager Rafa Benitez brought the Atletico Madrid star over to Liverpool in the summer of 2007, Torres was given a DVD highlighting the club's long and glorious history. While he was holed up in the city centre awaiting the completion of the finer points of his transfer, it was those iconic images on his television set - and subsequently the response from fans who immediately took him to their hearts - which cemented his relationship with the 18-time English champions. But Torres did not fail to notice that on the DVD there was no mention of a league title since 1990 - and that is something he is desperate to rectify.
"I know that one trophy here at Liverpool - maybe the Premier League - means more than three or four with another club," he said. "This was my target from the day I came and it's still my target. Hopefully this season we can feel this sensation here at Liverpool.
"This is the best club in the country, so the targets and expectations are always high. At Liverpool the aim is to fight for every title. It was difficult last season but we are sure we can improve this season."
Torres's commitment to Liverpool is another major boost following the example set by captain Steven Gerrard, who pledged his future amid fevered speculation. Had the England ace opted to leave his boyhood club, few could have argued after the many years of sterling service the 30-year-old had given.
But there was the feeling that Torres still owed Liverpool something as, after a brilliant debut season, his next two campaigns were affected by injury. The Spain international insisted he has no intention of leaving the Reds in the lurch by seeking UEFA Champions League football or a better pay day elsewhere.
"I am really happy to be back, really happy to stay with all my team-mates," said Torres, who returned to the club's Melwood training ground yesterday after an extended break following La Roja's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ triumph. "I am looking forward to the challenge ahead.
"My commitment and loyalty to the club and to the fans is the same as it was on my first day when I signed. From my first day I got the same welcome as Stevie or Carra (Jamie Carragher) or players who have been here for a long time.
"I felt at home from the first day, I feel the fans love me and everyone knows I am really happy here and really happy to play at Anfield. I'm looking forward to starting the season."
Midway through last season Torres had spoken out about the need for investment in the squad, claiming "four or five" new, quality players were needed. It seemed unlikely co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett would finance such a project, but when they put the club up for sale in April it raised hopes of a new dawn.
Benitez being replaced by Roy Hodgson raised questions about Torres's future, but the prospect of the club being under new ownership by the end of the month is more significant to the Spaniard. Chairman Martin Broughton claims there are six bidders keen to take over and while it remains to be seen how many of them are viable, a new era appears to be approaching sooner than expected at Anfield.
Torres clearly wants to be part of a future which, on the face of it, appears much brighter than it did three months ago when he underwent surgery on his right knee for the second time since January.
Defour, Poulsen on Hodgson's radar
One player who is not keen on remaining is Javier Mascherano, who asked Hodgson to allow him to leave when he returned to training a week ago.
The Argentina captain is looking for a reunion with Benitez at Inter Milan, but the Liverpool manager will not allow the midfielder to leave unless it suits the club.
It is likely to take a bid in excess of £25m to persuade Hodgson to part with one of his key players but he is already reported to be lining up a replacement, with Standard Liege's Steven Defour and Christian Poulsen of Juventus suggested alternatives.