Javier Mascherano believes that Fernando Torres is the man to spur Liverpool to success, despite the disappointing nature of their campaign so far.
Torres came off the bench at Anfield last night to mark his 100th appearance for the Reds with the decisive goal in a 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic and Mascherano insists that the striker’s fitness is key to the rest of the season.
“It is so important for us that Fernando stays fit,” the Argentine told The Liverpool Echo.
“We know that we can win games when he is not playing but, equally, when he is on the pitch, you can see the respect that other teams give him.
“He causes them so many problems. With Fernando and Stevie (Gerrard) on the pitch, we know that there is always a chance something special can happen.
“It is so good for our team and the confidence they give us. When they are not in the squad, others have to do their job and David Ngog has been doing his job really well.
“But the key players are the key players and you cannot change that. We need to keep the key players fit for the rest of the season.”
Liverpool did not look that convincing in victory over the Latics, and endured a nervous last few moments after Charles N’Zogbia’s excellent late goal halved the deficit.
But Mascherano maintains that the three points were crucial after the weekend reverse against Arsenal.
“The most important thing was to win because we needed it. We want to play better and improve, so it is important that we keep going,” the midfielder added.
“We will see if we can win at Portsmouth and if we can do that, it will be three amazing points. There has been a little bit of pressure but top players have that all the time.
“We cannot forget that Stevie and Fernando have been coming back from injury and it is important to have them in the squad as they are important for us.”
Zack Wilson, Goal.com UK