Dalglish backs Torres to shine
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is convinced he can make Fernando Torres one of the world's most feared strikers again. The Spain international has looked a shadow of his former prolific self this season, scoring just six times in 22 matches and only once in is last eight games.
Torres appears to have suffered most during former manager Roy Hodgson's six months in charge as a change in tactics often found him chasing aimless punts forward or trying to control a ball which came to him anywhere but on the ground.
His frustration has been reflected in his body language, which some observers have interpreted as an indication he wants to leave the club. And although he spent a large part of yesterday's 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United running around without much service after Steven Gerrard was sent off Dalglish was more than happy with the 26-year-old's contribution.
The Scot, who was appointed after Hodgson's departure on Saturday and only met the players for the first time in an official capacity at 10.30 on the morning of the game, will now concentrate on getting Torres back to his best.
"Fernando Torres has got a magic wand. We have great aims to build on and it is up to us to get him going," said Dalglish. "He wants to do it, you can see he wants to do it, and we'll get him going sooner rather than later. He ran himself into the ground and that is a great sign he is determined to get himself back and silence a few critics he has.
"Fernando worked his socks off and there is only so much a man's body can take so we took him off at the end to try to preserve him a bit. He did everything that was expected of him in terms of effort and commitment and if you look at the lads, it doesn't matter how good a player you are, you still need confidence and we need to get it back.
"But we couldn't ask for any more in terms of work and commitment from any of the players and if they keep working like that they will get it themselves. It is my responsibility to encourage them, improve them and help them to get better and that is the thing I will be working on."
Dalglish has had little time to think about his return to management after a decade away - and 19 years and 11 months after he left his beloved Liverpool. But he has already dismissed the critics who claim he has been out of the game too long to be able to make a difference at Anfield. He has attended most of Liverpool's first-team games and pointed to his involvement with the club's academy over the last two years as being helpful for keeping in touch.
"It is still brilliant," he said when asked if the way he saw football had changed since the last time he was in the dugout. "Obviously I've not worked for a while but I've always been at matches, I've watched it on the telly, I have never been far away from a game. At the end of the day you watch it in a different light to when you are managing or when you are involved in it but I am sure that will come back very quickly."
Forward Dirk Kuyt admitted the players had to shoulder some of the responsibility for Hodgson's departure but said the appointment of Dalglish was significant. "It is very sad that Roy has gone because you can never just blame one man. We must all take the blame and perform better," he said. "It's disappointing to lose a manager like that but a very big plus that we can bring in someone like Kenny.
"Kenny Dalglish is a legend and a very important man for this club." Kuyt told liverpoolfc.tv: "I think it says everything about him as a man that he is here to help us and put us back where we belong. He is a very experienced man and someone who can have a positive impact on the squad. The most important thing is to make Liverpool a winning team again."