Reds defender piles the praise on his free-scoring team-mate

Jamie Carragher believes that Fernando Torres has become the best striker in world football.

The Liverpool defender claims that his Spanish team-mate has helped to take the Reds onto the next level, and has eased the pressure on talismanic club captain Steven Gerrard.

Carragher also insists that Torres' presence is similar to that of some of Liverpool's all-time great strikers, and feels that the former Atletico Madrid hit-man has the capabilities to write his own name in Anfield folklore.


"Last season I said that the team needed a player who could add that 'X Factor'," Carragher told the News of the World.

"We wanted someone who could so something unbelievable and hurt the opposition when they were not expecting it.

"All the top teams have a player like that.

"We've relied on Stevie Gerrard to do that for us for a long time, but now Fernando has added another dimension to the side.


"For me, he has to be the best striker in the world.

"I'm delighted we've got him. His goal against Arsenal in the (UEFA Champions League) quarter-final second leg came out of nothing. It was a sharp turn and smashing shot.

"He also has unbelievable pace as well. He is like Michael Owen when he was 17 or 18, with that explosion over the first few yards.

"He's also similar to Ian Rush in a lot of ways. Not just because of his pace and goal scoring but also because of the work he does for the team. That certainly doesn't go unnoticed by the lads and supporters."


Carragher will be hoping that Torres can add to the 30 goals he has already got this season when The Reds welcome Chelsea to Anfield for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.

Having disposed of the Blues at this stage of the competition twice in the last three seasons, Carragher is confident that Rafael Benitez can lead the side to yet another European final this time around.

"We have beaten them three times in semi-finals when you include the FA Cup in 2006, so they will be desperate to turn us over," he said.

"Hopefully, we can keep that run going. But we realise they are doing well at the moment and it will be difficult to stop them.

"I think it will be as close as the last two Euro clashes. It's always been that way against them and I wouldn't expect it to be any different."