Torres will get back to form... right?

2012-02-25 00:00

THE age-old adage of “form is temporary, class is permanent” is true. Well, that’s what most diehard sports fans believe. It is a statement that acknowledges past performances in times of adversity and provides light at the end of the tunnel for sportsmen and -women who are going through slumps.

Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting have all had their fair share of critics only for a big century (Tendulkar could do with one of those about now) to remind everyone of their pedigree.

But how long is too long? When does a dip in form become a liability to the team?

And at what point do coaches or managers give up on their once proven superstars?

At this stage, there is nobody more qualified to answer these questions than Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas, who has had the unenviable task of counting on Fernando Torres for goals in recent weeks. It hasn’t worked out too well for him, and the once feared Liverpool striker has looked like he couldn’t score if he was the only player on the field. Torres has scored three league goals in 34 appearances for the Blues and much has been said about his £50-million transfer from Liverpool in January last year. But anyone who watched Torres during those Liverpool glory days knows that he is something special, and at 27, his best years should be just around the corner.

If class really is permanent, then surely … surely it won’t be long before the Spaniard starts finding his feet in front of goal again.

He has just been dropped from his national side, and this could serve as a major wake-up call for the 2010 World Cup winner. Now that Didier Drogba is back from Afcon duty, Torres will find it even harder to score goals, as he is likely to be coming off the bench more.

But something just tells you that, in the midst of the current crisis that is Chelsea Football Club, Torres isn’t quite dead and buried. Maybe it’s the pre-match prayers, or maybe it’s the fact that he has actually been desperately unlucky, but you almost feel for the guy. It is a run of form that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, and with the class that Torres once demonstrated week after week, it surely has an expiry date.

Still, Liverpool’s decision to let Torres go last year has proved the best piece of footballing business in recent memory, and the Scousers have an opportunity tomorrow to end a trophy drought that goes back to 2006. Liverpool face Championship side Cardiff City in the Wembley final and are overwhelming favourites to leave victorious.

It may not be the most glamorous trophy in England, but it’s more than Torres has won since pursuing a career in London.

It’s funny how things work themselves out. But nobody at Stamford Bridge will be laughing if, at the end of the season, they are left with a squad of overpriced players and no Champions League football to look forward to.

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