Alonso: Torres thriving in big pond

Xabi Alonso believes Fernando Torres can realise his full potential at Liverpool after being stifled by the goldfish bowl at Atletico Madrid.

Xabi Alonso believes Fernando Torres can realise his full potential at Liverpool after being stifled by the goldfish bowl at Atletico Madrid.

Torres is enjoying a dream maiden season in the Premier League following his £20m-plus summer switch from the Spanish capital.

His winner against Reading on Saturday made him the first Reds player to score 20 league goals in a season since Robbie Fowler 12 years previously.

Club and international team-mate Alonso thinks the striker is getting better and better, and doubts whether he could have made such progress had he remained at his boyhood club.

“Fernando has improved,” Alonso said on liverpoolfc.tv. “He has got rid of the pressure he had at Atletico Madrid.

“He is feeling really comfortable playing with his team-mates at Liverpool and because of this he is getting better and better each day, which is good news for the team.

“He has settled into the Premier League very quickly and that is encouraging because it can be difficult coming into a new league.

“He has shown he is not afraid of the physical contact here, with defenders trying to put him off, and that is really important.”

Reds boss Rafael Benitez believes Liverpool can still have an impact on the Premier League title race – and he is happy with them being forgotten for now.

Benitez’s men are eight points behind the pace but still have Manchester United and Arsenal to play before the end of the campaign.

“How near we finish to the top now will be interesting,” Benitez said. “We have been criticised this season, but let us see where we are in three or four weeks.

“We have important games and if we win them we will be a lot closer. If we can beat Manchester United we will be closer to the top, and that will give us more confidence.

“If we beat Everton after that then we will be closer still. Maybe, maybe we can be closer if we do not talk too much about it.

“Do we have a point to prove? Maybe, but only if we can keep winning three points.”

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