The Torres-Gerrard lovefest continues
:Nando on Stevie
FERNANDO TORRES: STEVEN GERRARD IS UNBELIEVABLE
Mar 10 2008 by Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo
Fernando Torres has hailed the “unbelievable” Steven Gerrard as one of the best players in the world.
Gerrard was at the heart of all that was good about Liverpool’s performance in their 3-0 win over Newcastle at Anfield on Saturday and Torres says his captain is a joy to play alongside.
“I’m always happy to play with great players,” he said
“If you play with someone like Stevie, who is maybe the best player in the world, it can only help you.
“He is a great passer and he can score goals. He is unbelievable.”
The pair have been building up a real understanding on the pitch ever since manager Rafa Benitez tinkered with his tactical set-up to allow Gerrard more of a free role behind Torres in attack.
And, on Saturday, their burgeoning partnership again paid dividends for Liverpool as Gerrard and Torres each created a goal for the other.
Torres is delighted with the way they are gelling but he insists the thing that matters most is not individuals or partnerships, but the team.
He said: “I was happy with my own performance against Newcastle and a lot of that is because I am enjoying playing with Stevie.”
“I think Stevie is comfortable with me also and now we have to try and play like this all the time.
“The important thing, though, is not whether I score or Stevie scores, it is winning.
“The team has to be the most important thing. It is not about individuals. I am only doing my job for the team and so is Stevie.
“We need to make sure we stay in the top four so we need to keep on winning. Every game now is important in the league and in the Champions League.”
Liverpool head into tomorrow night’s clash with Inter Milan at the San Siro with a two goal lead from the first leg.
Having won their last five games Torres believes the Reds have had the ideal preparation for one of the biggest games of their season so far.
He said: “We are playing well at the moment so that gives us confidence.
“We had a good result at home against Inter and we know if we score one goal it will be very difficult for them because it would mean they would have to score four goals against us.
“But Inter Milan are one of the best teams in Europe and we know it will not be easy.”
Javier Mascherano missed the win over Newcastle after he suffered a dead leg against West Ham last Wednesday.
The Argentinian midfielder has been working with the physios at Melwood and the injury is responding well to treatment, so he will travel to Italy with the rest of the squad today.
Liverpool will train at the San Siro this evening and Benitez will take the opportunity to assess Mascherano’s fitness before naming his side. But the Reds boss is hopeful that the 23-year-old will be available for selection.Stevie on Nando
GERRARD: TORRES CAN KILL OFF INTER
Steven Gerrard believes that free-scoring Fernando Torres will kill off Inter Milan's Champions League dreams in the San Siro on Tuesday.
And the Liverpool skipper admits and he would not swap Torres for any other striker in the world.
Gerrard and Torres are fashioning the sort of partnership that could serve Liverpool for years and the pair will be hell-bent on finishing off Inter in their last 16 second-leg after taking a 2-0 first-leg lead at Anfield three weeks ago.
But Gerrard knows Inter will be a different proposition in front of their own fans.
"We will have to play as well as we have done anywhere this season now," he warned.
Inter will be without Marco Materazzi after his sending-off in the first-leg and Gerrard believes his replacement will face a torrid task trying to contain Torres.
"The lad who comes into their side for Materazzi will not be looking forward to his 90 minutes against Fernando."
Torres has hit 25 goals in 34 matches for Liverpool and his recent glut of goals augurs well for Liverpool's hopes of joining Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in the last eight.
Gerrard said: "We will be looking to hit them on the counter-attack and Torres plays that game better than anyone around.
"Not only can you stick the ball over the top and let him chase it, but he can make things happen himself like he did against Marseille earlier in the tournament, when we needed to win in France to go through to the last 16.
"He roasted Materazzi in the first-leg. He (Materazzi) might think he was hard-done-by to be sent-off but he could have been booked for a bad tackle before he had one yellow, never mind the second one.
"It shows how easy Torres' pace and strength unsettled a World Cup winner."
The growing partnership between Gerrard and Torres has seen the Spaniard describe his skipper as "one of the best players in the world".
There is an obvious mutual admiration between the pair with Gerrard sure that Torres will be Liverpool's match-winner in the San Siro.
"He's brilliant, fantastic. I wouldn't swap him for any other striker anywhere," said the Reds skipper.
"He has been massive for us and gives us so many different options up front. He's banging them in and always looks a threat every time he plays.
"You can play him on his own or with a partner and he just adapts perfectly.
"He's certainly made life tough for the foreign boys coming to England now. When you look at the impact he has made in just seven months here, it means that no-one now can make excuses about needing time to settle.
"I feel England suits him even better than Spain. He suits the constant flow and the rough and tumble of the Premier League better than the stop-start technical La Liga.
"He is just a kid really in football terms, and he is going to get better and better. That is a frightening thought, but not for us. It's frightening for the defences he is going to be coming up against."
Gerrard believes Liverpool can survive in the cauldron of an 80,000-packed stadium.
He says: "We are facing another big test. We did the job in the first leg and did it brilliantly but we have qualified for nothing yet.
"The last eight is 90 minutes away and we might have to play better than we did in the first match. They are going to fly out at us from the first whistle but we can defend all night if we have to.
"But we also believe we will worry the hell out of them. They will be reluctant to over-commit against us because they got nothing at Anfield.
"They got no change from our defence, no possession and no time to settle. We will be going for them again because we know we can score there and kill off the tie."
Gerrard added: "I will relish playing in the San Siro, I've never done it before and it's another one off my list.
"Fans like going to famous grounds to watch us, and as a player I want to play in the cathedrals around Europe. I've played in the Nou Camp and a lot of famous stadiums around the world, but this is a new one for a few of us.
"If we get the attitude right, take our chances and believe in ourselves it will be another night to remember."