LIVERPOOL manager Roy Hodgson has dismissed speculation about Fernando Torres’ state of mind after the striker was criticised on his last outing for the club.
The Spain international had very few chances in Sunday’s goalless draw at Birmingham. And despite scoring three times in his previous two matches for club and country, that did not stop wild theories being spouted about the 26-year-old being unhappy and regretting his decision to remain at Anfield this summer.
Former Liverpool captain Jamie Redknapp labelled Torres’ performance at Birmingham “diabolical” and claimed the player looked frustrated, but Hodgson was quick to reject that out of hand.
“He certainly isn’t fed up. Criticism is something we have to live with,” said Hodgson.
“Everything that happens at the club is put under the microscope and that includes players’ performances.
“Fernando Torres has no problem with that. He is an excellent player. He is very much committed and focused on this season. I think it is very wrong for people to read someone’s state of mind from watching them play 90 minutes’ football. You have to be some wonder psychologist to be able to do that.
“I can’t watch a player play and tell you what state of mind he is in.”
Despite his backing for Torres there is a chance he – and captain Steven Gerrard – may not start against Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League tonight as Hodgson admits he is looking to utilise his squad, especially with a trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
“It is up to me to try to choose a team which will win the game and possibly give some of the players who are needed to play against Manchester United a break,” he said.
“Dirk Kuyt (shoulder) is out and Fabio Aurelio (Achilles) we have to wait for but we are not picking up injuries so I have quite a big squad to choose from. What I don’t really understand is how every time you change the team and they do not win, the selection is criticised.”
Criticism is something which has dogged Hodgson almost from the moment he took over from Rafael Benitez on July 1.
“We’ve played eight, won five, drawn two and lost one (in all competitions) – I don’t think that is a bad start,” said the 62-year-old.
“It is a new team and it has been a tough start to the season in terms of the programme. Of course, it is a time of transition which is always difficult.
“It is going to take time but the most important thing is to keep working, keep trying to play the right way and hopefully become a better team.”
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