Liverpool will need Fernando Torres firing on all cylinders again soon if they are to have any chance of winning the Europa League last season.
Despite the season still not being two months old, the European competition already represents Liverpool’s main hope of silverware after a humiliating Carling Cup elimination at lowly Northampton and a poor start in the Premier League.
However, even this goal seems a distant dream after a slightly fortuitous goalless draw against FC Utrecht in Group K of the Europa League.
Roy Hodgson picked a full-strength side, minus Steven Gerrard, for the trip to Holland, but they were second best for long periods and had to rely on Utrecht having a goal disallowed and Raul Meireles being well-placed to clear another effort of the line.
Liverpool are 4/11 to win Group K and they currently are top on four points, while they are 9/1 to win the Europa League.
Hodgson will be pleased that his team cured some of their defensive issues after conceding seven in their last three games, although his main concern will be the fitness of Torres.
The Spaniard has been dogged by injury troubles for much of the season and is still working his way back to full fitness.
Torres has started Liverpool’s last four league games and was also selected against Utrecht, but has netted just once in these five games and appears to have made little progress in improving his match sharpness.
He struggled to make an impact for much of the game in Holland, but still found himself having two good chances, one he blazed over and other was saved at point-blank range by Michael Vorm.
Hodgson said: “He will feel this was a good 90-minute workout. He just needs that elusive goal. He had two chances, but this was very much another step in the right direction.”
Torres may fancy a goal if selected for Liverpool’s next Premier League match, which is at home to Blackpool. See the full Liverpool vs Blackpool Premier League match betting odds market.