09 March 2008

Dalglish: Torres is buy of season

Sat 08 Mar, 02:45 PM

Fernando Torres will lead Liverpool into their European night of destiny at the San Siro with the ringing endorsement of Kenny Dalglish.The Spanish striker, with 24 goals in 33 matches since his £20million-plus move from Atletico Madrid last summer, will strike fear into the hearts of Inter Milan as Liverpool seek to clinch a Champions League quarter final place.
The 23-year-old has embarked on a scoring spree featuring two hat-tricks since the club's met in the first leg at Anfield three weeks ago when Liverpool built a 2-0 lead.
Dalglish, voted recently as Liverpool's greatest-ever player, said of Torres: "Torres just oozes class in attack. For me the kid is the best buy anywhere in Europe this season.
"The worrying thing for everyone else is the fact that I can only see him getting better and better as the season continues."
Liverpool are 2-0 ahead from the first leg of their Champions League showdown and on the brink of being the fourth English side to reach the quarter-finals -following Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea's progress this week.
Dalglish was hugely impressed with Liverpool's display in the first leg and they will go to the San Siro with confidence high.
Dalglish said: "In the first leg, Liverpool showed what they are truly capable of. We all felt they had it in them, but we have only seen it in flashes this season.
"To a man Liverpool were excellent, but I was expecting more from Inter.
"They put out a team that lacked pace of any description. They looked like they had come for a clean sheet and maybe hit Liverpool on the break to nick something.
"They will say that we benefited from them having Marco Materazzi sent-off, but they had been made to look ordinary long before his second yellow card.
"Having 10 men did not mean they had to change their game plan much, and they have plenty of practice playing with a man down over in Italy.
"They looked stunned and shell-shocked by the way Liverpool played and they couldn't do the simple things like keeping possession. Those are basics for Italian teams."
For Inter Milan this second-leg comes at a key moment in their history as they celebrate their centenary this weekend.
Up until they played Liverpool, Inter had been a massive, dominant force in Serie A this season, unbeaten and miles ahead at the top of the table.
But things have changed since then, and Inter have lost their unbeaten league record, going down to defeat away to Napoli last weekend.
Second-placed Roma have closed the gap at the top and are six points behind with 12 games remaining.
Inter have been boosted by the return to training of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been out with a knee problem. Also close to a return is another striker, Julio Cruz, who has been struggling with a muscle problem.
Materazzi is suspended for the return leg, but club president Massimo Moratti said: "I would have never imagined that we would lose our first league game of the season just before our celebrations.
"Nor that we would face such a perilous position in the Champions League days later.
"The best present we could give would be to beat Liverpool. I have great confidence in the players that coach Roberto Mancini will choose, because they have the quality to play a game showing the heroic character that we will need to progress."
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