Jamie Carragher has revealed Liverpool players were in a ‘state of shock’ when Chelsea bid £50million for Fernando Torres, claiming he always knew the move wouldn’t work out as the striker was a ‘shadow of his former self’.
In one of the most famous deals in Premier League history, the Blues swooped in to sign the Spaniard from Liverpool for a then club record fee in January 2011.
However, despite winning the Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League during his time at Stamford Bridge, Torres’ move to Chelsea ultimately proved to be a disaster as he scored just 20 goals in 110 Premier League appearances for the Blues.
And Reds icon Carragher, who played alongside Torres at Anfield, admitted he was stunned when Chelsea came calling for Torres – especially for such a huge price.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Carragher told Sky Sports in an interview with Blues icon John Terry. “What I mean by that was I knew we had kidded Chelsea. I’d played with Torres; for the last 12 months, he was a shadow of his former self.
“I think for 18 months at Liverpool he was the best striker in the world. And I think he had such a good record against Chelsea that it obviously stuck in the owner’s mind.
“Not so much a manager because the manager changed so often at Chelsea. At that stage, Chelsea were still a club where the owner was buying players who he wanted.
“What happened for us, and was very fortunate for Liverpool, was we played Chelsea that season; we weren’t having a great season, Torres was having a really poor time, but he scored two against Chelsea and I think we won 2-0 or 3-0 under Roy Hodgson at Anfield.
“I think the decision was probably made then for Roman Abramovich, ‘as soon as January comes we’re going for Fernando Torres’.
“Now £50m was major money at that stage and we were all in a state of shock. Listen, we were gutted that Torres was gone but I think we all knew he was never going to be the same player.”
Carragher continued to say that that he thought Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to start Torres against Liverpool in his first match was a ‘massive mistake’.
“I remember his first game was actually against Liverpool,” added the former defender..
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“It was my first game back after I dislocated my shoulder and I think Ancelotti put him straight in. I always thought it was a massive mistake putting him straight in because it was Liverpool.
“Liverpool fans were giving him stick, Chelsea fans still not loving him, but obviously he’s a new player, they don’t know too much about him. And I just thought he should never have played in that game.
“I know he was the big-money signing. Would that have been pressure from above on Carlo Ancelotti to play him in that game.
“I always thought it was a massive mistake. We won the game, he got a lot of stick and I’m sure it affected him.”
Terry dismissed the notion that there was pressure on Ancelotti to start Torres from the club’s hierarchy, but suggested the Italian’s decision to squeeze him into a line-up with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka damaged his confidence.
“I’m not sure it would’ve been pressure from above,” the five-time Premier League winner said in response to Carragher.
“Carlo definitely wasn’t that type of manager to listen to the board if they were kind of pushing. We kind of changed our formation, really. I think it was Didier and Fernando up front with Anelka in behind.
“We had three unbelievable strikers and we tried to fit them in together. We had enough fire power in Didier and Anelka, whether Anelka was wide or just behind, to then bring Fernando on later in the game which would’ve been a good impact for him, I think.
“But it seemed after that game his confidence was shot to bits, to be honest.”