Belfast Telegraph

Rafael Benitez admits Chelsea striker Fernando Torres may have peaked at Liverpool

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Rafael Benitez, the interim Chelsea manager, has said that Fernando Torres may never be the same player he was at Liverpool, though will change his training regime to try to restore the striker's pace.

Torres was exceptional at Anfield for Benitez but has scored just 11 League goals in nearly two years since a £50m transfer to Chelsea. "He's not exactly the same player now, because he was at maximum level [at Liverpool]," Benitez said. "But I think he can come back. How close? I don't know. I'm sure he can improve, but the team has to help him.

"We can see Fernando as a striker, but we have to create more chances for him. If, afterwards, he's not scoring I will analyse why.

"Fernando had real pace. He has to train in a way that suits him. You have to work in the gym on strength. Maybe he needs to do that again."

Benitez will take charge of Chelsea for his second game tonight, against Fulham at Stamford Bridge, and while he can expect another hostile reception from some Chelsea fans, he refused to apologise to those he may have offended when he was in charge at Liverpool. "I was praising the fans of my club, my team," he explained. "But I'm here now, it's my club, and I will do my best for them."

Odds Chelsea 4-9 Draw 7-2 Fulham 6-1

Kick-off 7.45pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.45pm)

Referee A Taylor (Greater Manchester)

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