FERNANDO TORRES left Anfield for Stamford Bridge “to step up to a higher level” – but the truth is Liverpool are on the way up and Chelsea’s fortunes are on the wane.

What looked like Chelsea’s challenge to Liverpool’s status as a big club has rebounded on the Blues because they have paid over the odds for a striker past his best and the Merseysiders have strengthened their squad in the process.

Andy Carroll is a big gamble at £35 million pounds. But is Torres really worth £15 million pound more than the 22 year old? Carroll is a kid with a big future ahead of him if he can keep his wild boy reputation in check.

Only time will give us all the answers. But my view is that Kenny Dalglish has expertly laid the foundations for a new and more successful era at Liverpool. And Carroll will soon be regarded as a more valuable asset than the Spaniard.

Carragher got better of Torres in Stamford Bridge grudge match

Torres may be a World Cup winner and he used to be one of the best strikers around. But his blistering pace is no longer there and he lacks the consistancy needed at the Premier League summit.

As I predicted, Torres’s pre-match boasts came back to haunt him as his old team-mates exposed Chelsea’s weaknesses and deservedly ran out 1-0 winners at Stamford Bridge.

It should have been a lot more decisive. Liverpool were a cut above the fading champions in every department – and they did not even need new boys Carroll (injured) or Luis Suarez (unused subsititute).

Chelsea looked like an ageing team past their peak and lacking any kind of invention. A sad sight for Blues fans in the week their club announced losses of £70 million and then splashed £75 million pounds on David Luiz (£25m) and Torres (£50m).

The harsh reality is that the season after guiding Chelsea to a maden double Carlo Ancelotti’s job is on the line. And he only has himself to blame.

Ancelotti has been urging Roman Abramovich to abandon his alleged policy of trying to balance the books and pushed for a return to his big spending days. The Italian made no secret of the fact that Torres is the striker he wanted.

Abramovich will not be satisfied unless Ancelotti delivers the Champions League. But the Russian may soon be sweating over qualification for next season’s competition. And that will really hurt.

Chelsea’s decision to splash the cash was heavily influenced by the realisation that the club will lose more than the £75 million they spent this week if they fail to stay in the Champions League next season.

It would be delicious irony if Liverpool’s resurgence under Kenny Dalglish ends with the Merseysiders squeezing past Chelsea to claim the fourth Champions League place.

Now that would be a priceless ending to this unpredictable Premier League season.


6th February 2011: Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool – Goalscorer: Raul Meireles, 69 mins