The wording was precise. It was not that Torres had cheated, or had tried to cheat. It was categorical. Fernando Torres is a cheat. The Manchetser United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, avoiding all the existential implications such a statement obviously raises, merely wanted to belittle his most hated rivals.
He chose to target their most valuable player and the one that the majority of other big clubs in the world covet, Fernando Torres. He didn’t attack Steven Gerrard because he knows Gerrard is a scouser and would see the attack for what it was. Neither did he choose to attack his friend, Roy Hodgson, the Liverpool manager. Instead, the Manchester United manager chose to attack Fernando Torres, the player whose head has been turned for two consecutive summers with links to a plethora of other big clubs, specifically Chelsea and Internazionale Milan. The player who was attacked, for his percieved lack of effort, live on Sky Sports the previous weekend by the pundit Jamie Redknapp, himself an ex Liverpool player.Fernando Torres, the same player who has hardly played a good match for several months and could muster not one goal during the 2010 World Cup despite playing plenty of minutes in the most creative side in the tournament. Torres is out of confidence, in a bad frame of mind and by all accounts absolutely frustrated with the ongoing off the field problems at Anfield. It’s not that he is not being paid, he is, but it’s the case that the longer the problems off the field at Anfield continue, the longer Liverpool will remain a club unable to challenge for the title.
In the past summer it was clear Liverpool needed to strengthen. Instead they sold one of their three best players, Javier Mascherano. Just as the season before they sold Xabi Alonso. Fernando Torres knows he is inthe prime of his career at a club that is going nowhere fast. He surely wants to challenge for the top honours. Sure, people will say he is paid a handsome wage and shouldn’t complain. Only, Torres would be paid the same wage at whichever other club he joined, perhaps even a tad more, and would also have more chance of winning trophies by virtue of playing in a better team. Simply put, Torres probably wants to leave.
When Ferguson called Torres a cheat on Sunday morning he wasn’t merely stating that Torres had dived in an attempt to get John O’She sent off. Sir Alex Ferguson was pushing the knife in. Torres is under pressure because of his performances on the pitch but he is so dismayed by the inevitable pointlessness of his efforts – Liverpool won’t win the title even if he scores 30 goals- that he can’t bring himself to find his best form for his club. He is stuck. Ferguson knows it and decided this was the perfect opportunity to get one over on his rivals Liverpool Football Club. Ferguson stated Torres was a cheat but there was far more to it than just that.