Fernando Torres Sidelined by Fresh Injury: Is It Time To Let Go Of "El Nino?"

Saura BhattacharjeeAnalyst IApril 19, 2010

With today's announcement by Liverpool that Torres underwent a surgery on his knee ligament, which will sideline him for the rest of the season, it is time for the "up-for-sale" Liverpool to consider the Spanish striker's future at Anfield.

Although most Reds fans may think it to be absurd to let go of their star striker, it is a fact that Liverpool has suffered more from his presence in the team. It would be better if they sold him at a huge price and brought in physically strong players in his place who could at least play a full season.

Except for his first season at Anfield, the 26-year-old has been unable to play a complete season for the Merseyside club. He only made 24 league appearances last season and a mere 22 this season.

Liverpool are virtually out of the race for the fourth spot after Spurs won against Chelsea this weekend. With Aston Villa playing twice this week, it may move Liverpool further down to seventh spot. News of Torres' latest injury will surely bring further gloom around Anfield.

The Merseysiders have a crucial match against present league-leaders Chelsea in the Premier League. The absence of their world-class hitman will surely affect Liverpool's performance and also their fast-fading hopes of a Champions League spot next season.

There is no doubt that El Nino has been Liverpool's most prolific goal scorer in recent memory, taking up the Reds' goal scoring responsibilities upon himself. But though that is a boon for the Anfield outfit, it has also turned into a bane for Benitez's side this season.

Torres has made only 22 Premier League appearances this season and has scored 18 goals. El Nino's impressive performances for Liverpool have made the squad too much dependent on him for scoring goals. Although they have a host of other players to cover for him, the likes of N'Gog and Babel have been less than impressive in his absence. That has further compounded Liverpool's problems this season.

Liverpool missed him in crucial matches against Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Stoke, and Wolves. His absence was clearly felt as Liverpool failed to convert chances in most of these games and as a result dropped crucial points.

The latest injury ,which sees him sidelined for the rest of season and may even see him miss the FIFA World Cup in June, has rocked the under-criticism Reds' manager Rafa Benitez's plans haywire.

Liverpool are to face Torres' former club Athletico Madrid in their Europa League semi-final showdown this week and Benitez will surely rue missing his talismanic striker.

The repeated injuries to Torres' suggests that he might be better suited for the Spanish or Italian leagues, which are far less physical compared to the Premier League.

With various Spanish and Italian teams interested in Liverpool's kid-faced Torres, it might be a good decision to sell the injury-prone striker if a massive offer is received for him this summer. Torres' sale can earn Liverpool somewhere between £40-50 million. That will surely help Benitez sign big names for next season.

Benitez can use the proceeds from Torres' sale to bring physically strong players like Edin Dzeko or Mario Balotelli. These players are well-suited for the Premier League due to their physical build-ups.

Securing these youngsters will guarantee Liverpool a striker who can play a full season without injury. These players are highly talented and will be able to fill the void left by Torres' departure. So the gamble might pay off and it will be advantage Liverpool.

Though it may be really hard for Liverpool to let go of one of their most successful strikers, but yet it will be good decision for the player's as well as the club's future. Because if such injuries keep on recurring the world may see a premature end to one of the most gifted footballers of the modern day. No one would like to see that.

Benitez surely has to make a clever decision this summer regarding his Spanish goal machine as offers are likely to be made for our favorite El Nino. What remains to be seen is whether Rafa takes the gamble.

Only the transfer season this summer will bear the answer to that.