Fernando Torres timid for Chelsea while Andy Carroll relishes the battle at ... - Telegraph.co.uk

Villas-Boas has claimed there is an "obsession" with the Spaniard, but it is hardly unreasonable to question why a player as good as Torres was – and as expensive – is not just failing to score, but failing to show any consistent signs of improvement.

The problem is not physical. Yet it seems strange that a player who was captain of Atletico Madrid at 19 should struggle with the psychology of the game.

At his best – and the two seasons between 2007 and 2009 might well be when he was just that – Torres would hunt down players ruthlessly. Nemanja Vidic, arguably the best defender in the Premier League for the last five seasons, could not play him. Now he is reduced to trying to rebuild his confidence in the Carling Cup.

Playing into a Liverpool away end probably was hardly the best way for him to start. Every mistake was met with roars of schadenfreude.

Lucas, Liverpool's outstanding central midfielder, twice snapped into him with robust challenges. Even before that, Villas-Boas had called him to the sidelines for a long talk, presumably to try to get him more involved in the game.

That break in play was occasioned by Carroll needing to change his boots. Easy metaphor there. He has struggled too since that dramatic day in January last year: he scored 30 goals in 62 games before his move, slowing to five in 23 since.

His problem does not appear to be confidence – perhaps more an excess of it. Playing as a No 9 for Liverpool is a great privilege and there has been some concern that he has failed to fully grasp that.

There was no question, though, that Carroll looked sharper than he has in recent games. Perhaps he has realised he is going to have to work hard to get into this Liverpool team on a regular basis.

He almost made the decisive first-half intervention. His presence on the end of a José Enrique cross forced Alex into a panicked handball. Carroll took the penalty but had to wait what felt a long time before taking it. Maybe the nerves had fluttered but he smashed the ball straight into Ross Turnbull.

Not that too much should be read into missing a penalty. The larger problem is systemic. Even a Carroll in top form does not seem to fit with the way Kenny Dalglish's team play. Liverpool press hard and look to hit teams quickly on the break. Carroll does not have the speed for this kind of football.

Still he has a lot of his career ahead of him. The worry with Torres is how much longer it is going to take for him to even approximate the player he was.

He improved in the second half, but he missed a couple of late chances to get Chelsea back into

the game and there is no getting round the damning fact of his goal drought. And there won't be any more Carling Cup games to try to end that goalless run.

30 Nov, 2011

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNEjUkq03_rcrn5bHWgln9CQ_0Hklw&url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/chelsea/8923964/Fernando-Torres-timid-for-Chelsea-while-Andy-Carroll-relishes-the-battle-at-Liverpool.html
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