THE Daniel Sturridge v Fernando Torres cold stats are in Sturridge’s favour; slightly better total goals to total appearances ratio, significantly better total goals to starts ratio. But I don’t want stats.
I want to slay some dragons and move on. Torres was magnificent. He had such grace in his finishing, such a touch, such a great footballing brain. He looked the part, lovely blonde hair bobbing, a pretty face, wearing number nine. He ticked the boxes.
All of that grace, all of that touch, all of that brain — Sturridge has shown that. Sturridge has had that.
He’s had that elite-level orthodoxy and then he has brought so much more to the party. Sturridge has done keepie-ups on Stoke’s goal-line. Sturridge has drawn penalties at Old Trafford. Sturridge has scored a number of goals to the level of Torres against Blackburn Rovers.
Not one or two but a highlights reel of them — lobbing a keeper from 25 yards who was still in his six-yard box against West Brom, embarrassing Tim Howard, driving home against Stoke.
His all-round play has been stronger — he hasn’t been fortunate enough to live his life on the shoulder as Torres was. Sturridge wants to be more involved in the game and has had to be — playing with Suarez was both a blessing and a curse.
A peak-era Steven Gerrard existed for one thing — to create for Torres. His purpose was to find Fernando, find Fernando, find Fernando. And he was good at it, too. Very good indeed.
Sturridge has never truly had that for Liverpool when he has been fit. He has never had someone spend their time putting it on a plate for him. He’s had to go and find his football, deep mine his goals.
And he’s done it — scoring quicker and more effectively than Torres and while doing it he has been intricately involved in setting up a ton of goals for his team-mates. We see flashes of it with Philippe Coutinho, but the current Coutinho can’t be 2008 Steven Gerrard.
Indeed, you can look across Torres’s career and see all the high watermarks as that — Fernando Torres: the Gerrard years.
Sturridge has kept scoring whichever Liverpool team-mates he has. Kept doing the dance, kept flashing those marvellous arms, kept staring out Evertonians. He hasn’t stopped putting the ball in the back of the net. He hasn’t gone missing when he has been on the pitch.
But even when Torres was Liverpool’s number nine with Gerrard behind him, he didn’t match Sturridge — in the 08-09 season, the one everyone remembers Torres nearly firing Liverpool to the title, he only scores 14 league goals. A decent return and like Sturridge he struggled with injury. But it is still only 14. Sturridge scored 21 league goals in 13-14.
The true heroes of that 08-09 side where elsewhere. Torres was good — great, even — but his peak season for Liverpool was 07-08. That was when he was on fire.
The injuries began to take hold. The strange thing about Sturridge’s injuries is that he keeps coming back and looking the part. You worry he could go Torres’s way. He definitely needs to get on the pitch more. But when he is on the pitch he shows so much and defines the side.
Torres came to Liverpool and he was catalysed by Gerrard, Rafa Benitez, Dirk Kuyt, Xabi Alonso et al.
Read TAW v TIA: Changing the domestic cups – good idea or bad idea?
Sturridge came to Liverpool and was a catalyst for Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Gerrard. The signing of Sturridge saw Liverpool kick on — in 2007 Fernando Torres joined a side that had played in two Champions League Finals in three seasons.
He was coming as the final bit of the jigsaw. Sturridge made the picture on the box begin to make sense.
Vote Sturridge. Live in the now. Do the arms.
For those foolish enough to suggest that the success of the 13/14 season was entirely down to Suarez – Gerrard? Coutinho? Sterling? – I quickly thought of the 10-game ban that ended 12/13 and began the following season. Ten games without our talisman. And what does Sturridge do? Blams in eleven. We go 7-2-1 with 19 goals and just 6 conceded.
Meanwhile, Sturridge scored 36 goals in his first 50 games – the highest total by any Red since before WWI. That’s more than Torres (34), Fowler (31), Dalglish (31), Owen (28), Suarez (21), et al.
Scored 50 goals faster than ANY PLAYER in LFC history. He scored in his first three games. Scores in eight games in a row. Single-handedly wills the worst dance in Premier League history into the best one.
No question. Do the Sturridge.
Oops! In my gushing enthusiasm, I said “scored 50 goals faster” when I meant
“scored more goals in 50 games.” And with his injury record, it may be quite a while to get those next 5!
Ooof…debate of the century this.
Torres carried so much responsibility whereas we had Suarez when Sturridge was playing and when we’ve really, desperately needed him post-Suarez he hasn’t been available. Torres scored against the elite for us domestically (top sides in the league late-2000s approximately 10x better than whatever this steaming shite is currently) and in Europe so he has that over Sturridge up to now. Up against better centre halves in those games as well.
They both had their injury ravaged seasons so maybe it’s worth comparing their two best seasons where they were out on the pitch more often than not, and I just think 07/08 Torres was more inevitable than 13/14 Sturridge; you’d walk into Anfield *knowing* you were going to see a Fernando Torres hat trick. Hopefully if/when Sturridge hits those ‘best no 9 in Europe’ heights next year, he could well win us the league and then this argument would become dead easy. That’d be nice.
Opportunity for a new TAW Player show? The opposite of Ban this Filth, ie who was / what is the best…? Could be called 50/50 challenge?
i like it
I feel this is almost impossible to call. I like to have an opinion on everything but this is tough. I want to say Torres but Sturridge is a better footballer in many ways. I’m wondering if I’m letting unrelated thoughts decide my opinion. I’m gonna abstain. It’s too difficult.
It’s hard to call but I would have to go with Sturridge. Torres, at his best, was brilliant, but played in front of Gerrard at his peak, Alonso, Mascherano, it was a great team. It was a purple patch. He was also moody, sometimes selfish, and upset his team mates a good few times. Even when the team is under par, you know Sturridge will give you goals, goals of all kinds, simple ones, outrageous extravagant ones, instinctive ones. Unlike, say Owen, it’s not dependent on pace, but clever movement, a strikers instincts, a football brain, and great touch. A brilliant centre forward.
You also have to think of the number and difficulty of games Torres was playing. Sorry, but the UCL trumps the League Cup. Torres’ injuries were significantly larger (ankles, knees vs muscle complaints).
I voted Torres. My heart didn’t hesitate. Sturridge has done amazing things, and might well be a better all around footballer, but Torres has some of my best memories. His absolute bullying of Cannavaro and Pepe that night at Anfield…
I’ve only seen Torres on YouTube playing for Liverpool. He was absolutely fantastic. I am also in the camp of the undecided.
Both nearly gave us the long awaited title in 2008 and 2014.
But Sturridge still has time on his side to be the leading man who brings title back to Anfield.
(it’s never easy comparing players because so many ‘moving parts’ involved. Try comparing Bogdan vs Brad Jones)
That’s easy. Brad Jones. He played the derby at Wembley without fucking up. Although that might say more about Everton.
On the other hand Bogdan – much like Sturridge compared to Torres – has time on his side ;) … :(
Are you kidding? Bogdan with time on his side? Hopefully it’s not with us, I would prefer Ward over Bogdan (and over Mig too probably) anytime.
He had ‘bogdaned’ his chances. :)
When Sturridge shows he can do it at Champions League level, I may consider him.
But for me, it’s Torres.
As Jamie Redknapp said on a season review programme: “Torres could run through puddles without making a splash”.
He was so good for us, the biggest star in a team of stars.
Whereas Sturridge is our hope in a team of t*rds.
You both making compelling cases. Oddly enough they are very different players, both cats, but very different. I remember thinking that I’d never seen a striker look so feline and athletic as Nando: he was a panther, a puma, an apex predator. All power and pace.
Sturridge is more of a house cat, all poise and pace, never where you think he’ll be but always ready for the main chance. Suarez is, of course, a Tasmanian Devil by contrast.
Sturridge is the more complete player, Torres the more explosive. Bear in mind we may not have seen the best of Sturridge yet; he has the potential to become anything he wants if he can put together a number of games.
Neil’s always banging on about this on twitter and now he’s stated his case in full, but I can’t agree. Torres was magical at his peak. He led the line when the pressure was greater and the opposition tougher, and was willing to play through injury for the club … coming back when not fully recovered again and again, to the detriment of his long-term career … whilst Sturridge …
very very difficult shout and almost an unfair one to make a decision on because i love them both! Yes Torres has proved his pedigree but he had a prime Gerrard, Alonso and Mash behind him…and for his country he had the class of Xavi and Inniesta.. Sturridge is an elite sports car who has fine tuning issues but once put back on the road he looks every inch a class act… as Neil says he didn’t have the luxury of the players of 07/08 behind him. I’ll make a punt and happy to be shot down, Sturridge just edges it for me… but a very close call!!