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IT was nice to see Fernando Torres this week, wasn’t it? Thought he was looking well. Japan seems to suit him.

If you missed it he’s been talking about how he has “feelings” for both Liverpool and Chelsea and wants them both to win games, but wants Liverpool to win the league because only messing about Chelsea.

That he still refers to Liverpool as “the best time of this career” is interesting considering he played (well) for his boyhood team not once, but twice and won the Champions League at Chelsea. You’d think a period at Liverpool where we didn’t win anything and he was lied to by owners and then made to play for Roy Hodgson would be a distant third. Yet he seems to define himself most by his time at Liverpool. The city and fans he refers to.

It was certainly a golden period for him in terms of performances. He scored 81 in 142 games, while winning the European Championships and World Cup with Spain. So if he loved his time at Anfield, there are plenty of reasons why.

He was adored too. Even in that wonderful team, with two Scouse heroes, he was the superstar. That Nike advert, with the pop-up paella shops and the girls learning Flamenco wasn’t that far off the truth. We were always just about to bounce in a minute.

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Which made his desertion — for new money no less — all the tougher to take. Of all the player sales in that period, and there were a lot, it was Nando that hurt the most. Xabi Alonso had been messed about by Rafa Benitez and Javier Mascherano always seemed like he’d ended up at Liverpool by accident rather than design. But Torres? His armband was meant to prove he was a red. His armband was a fucking liar.

Now time has passed, though, and he’s not playing for a real team anymore, maybe we can look back on it differently. The fact was the Liverpool Torres joined was very different to the one he left.

In July 2007, we had just qualified for the Champions League final for the second time in three seasons and Torres looked like just the firepower Rafa needed to fire Liverpool to a title. By October 2010, he was playing with Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen and Hodgson. Regardless of where he ended up, he was well within his rights to reassess his career move at this point.

Because that is what Liverpool is for any player from outside Liverpool. A destination to get what they want from the next stage of their career. After that it is up to the player and club to make it happen. And it’s fair to say Fernando Torres upheld his side of the bargain much more than Liverpool did.

OK the timing wasn’t great, just as things were looking slightly better under new owners and Kenny Dalglish, and going to Chelsea wasn’t great, although having ruled out Manchester and Real Madrid for obvious reasons, his choices were probably fairly limited. But he’d left home for glory and ended up with gobshites. He didn’t deserve that.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 20, 2011: Liverpool's manager Kenny Dalglish looks on as Chelsea prepare to bring on substitute Fernando Torres during the Premiership match at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by Chris Brunskill/Propaganda)

The only other player to get a similar level of anger to leaving was Raheem Sterling. Compared with Torres, we didn’t even like him that much, we were just pissed off he wanted to leave so early in his career. We made about a 1000 per cent profit on the transfer and called HIM a greedy cunt. Funny football, isn’t it?

But again, as a pure career move, it is hard to argue with it. At 15 he thought Liverpool was the best place for him. By 19 he thought it was Manchester City. Since then he’s won loads of trophies and developed massively as a player under one of the best coaches in the world. And he’s got a 15 grand dog. He’s fucking smashed it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still up for booing the pricks whenever they come back. Largely because it turns them into worse players than me. But we also need to be sensible about the whole thing.

The only way to ensure Mo Salah et al don’t leave us the same way is convincing them that Liverpool is the place where all their dreams can come true. That our ambitions are the same as theirs. Luckily we are a long way off those dark days of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, courtrooms and protests. We came out of it eventually, but we should be sympathetic of those we lost along the way.

Torres still loves us, so we should love him too. If I had to do the same again, I would my friend, Fernando. Fuck it, any spares for Sagan Tosu away?

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