An Ode to Fernando Torres’ Scintillating First Season With Liverpool

Fernando Torres signed for Liverpool in 2007.
Fernando Torres signed for Liverpool in 2007. | Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

It’s exactly 13 years ago to the day since Liverpool fans’ love affair with Fernando Torres began.

Sadly, the love affair had somewhat of a sour ending, as El Nino did the unthinkable and swapped Anfield for Stamford Bridge (though the move saw the Merseysiders fund a move for Andy Carroll - what more could you want?!).

Despite the tainted end, Torres’ time in a Liverpool shirt was a truly memorable period and is one that will go down in Premier League history. With his signature look of hairband in, white socks over his kit socks and Nike Total 90 boots, he sent shivers down the spine of every defender in the league.

Fernando Torres
The Spaniard was unstoppable at times early on in his Liverpool career | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Arriving in England at just 23 years of age, it took the Spaniard no time at all to find his feet in Premier League. The first of his three and a half seasons in a Liverpool shirt was undoubtedly his finest; notching 24 league goals – more than he managed in four seasons at the Blues – a total only surpassed by Cristiano Ronaldo.

In a quirky twist of fate, Torres’ first goal for the club came against his future employers Chelsea (as did many of his 142 Liverpool goals in fairness).

Looking back, the goal was more than just a vital equaliser against a fellow Premier League title-chasing side; the goal was a microcosm of what the Anfield faithful could expect to come over the coming years.

A measured through ball from Steven Gerrard was latched onto by the pacy youngster. Still with plenty of work to do, the former Atletico Madrid man offered a simple drop of the shoulder before dragging the ball past Chelsea defender Tal Ben-Haim before showing the upmost composure to coolly slot the ball past the imperious Petr Čech.

The strike was the first sign of a budding partnership between Torres and Gerrard that would propel the club within inches of their maiden Premier League title in years to come.

The Liverpool fans had a new hero. The man tasked with the almighty challenge of taking Robbie Fowler’s number nine jersey had hit the ground running, and he was in no mood to rest on his laurels.

Torres would bag double figures before the turn of the year, including crucial late goals against Tottenham and Fulham to keep the club just about in touch with the pack in the race for the Premeir League crown.

Chelsea's Italian manager Carlo Ancelott
Torres broke Liverpool hearts as he headed for Chelsea | CARL DE SOUZA/Getty Images

However, it was the second half of the season when El Nino goalscoring machine really kicked into overdrive.

Torres notched two hat-tricks in three games - against Middlesbrough and West Ham, making him the first player to score back-to-back Anfield hat-tricks since 1946 - to make it three for the season, having also bagged three against Reading in the League Cup earlier in the season.

By the end of the campaign, Torres had surpassed Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record for the most goals by a foreign player in their debut season, the kind of stat which saw him narrowly miss out on the FWA Player of the Year award - with Ronaldo yet again taking top spot.

Liverpool finished a disappointing fourth in the Premier League, having finished third the season prior. However, the table didn’t tell the full story, with the Merseysiders finishing just 11 points behind champions Manchester United. That sounds like a lot, but they - with Torres' help - had cut the gap almost in half from the season before, finishing 21 points behind Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in 2006/07.

Torres’ first season in England may not have gleaned silverware, but he'd won over the hearts of the Anfield faithful. No matter how abrupt the ending to his Liverpool career may have been, it should never be forgotten what a superb striker he proved to be.