Benitez brought the Spanish striker to the Premier League in 2007 from Athletico Madrid to Liverpool where the striker enjoyed an excellent run of form in his first two seasons under the management of Benitez.
Torres scored 33 goals in all competitions in his first season at Anfield, followed by totals of 17 and 22 goals in next two terms. However, Torres has been regarded as a flop for long periods since his £50 million move to Chelsea. He suffered a poor run of form in his final months at Liverpool and failed to make a concerted effort to remedy that at Chelsea.
The 28-year-old scored just 11 goals in 49 appearances for the Blues last season, despite desperate measures to improve his confidence by former Blues managers Roberto Di Matteo and Andre Villas Boas.
Benitez is understood to have been brought in by Chelsea owner Roman Abramavich, as he might just be the only man in the world who can bring back the Fernando Torres of old.
Now that the pair have been reunited at Chelsea, Benitez coming in to replace Di Matteo who was sacked from his post at the London club despite winning the UEFA Champion’s League and FA as caretaker manager for the latter half of last season.
But whilst the clubs’ owner is desperate to get his £50 million man firing, the new manager has pointed to his teammates, blaming them for not finding him enough.
“You could see he was trying very hard," asserted the new boss.
"But I think the team has to help Fernando and create more chances, and he will score goals.”
The favouritism shown to Torres who is now regarded as Benitez’s ‘golden boy’ may be a good way to boost the morale of the player but it is a risky move by the new coach whose attempts to motivate Torres may backfire and alienate other members of the dressing room.
"You cannot expect a striker scoring just on his own, so we have to create more and better chances for him with the players we have."
Is it conceivable that it’s the fault of his teammates for not creating enough chances for the centre-forward? It’s difficult to see how the likes of Frank Lampard, Ramires, Juan Mata can be blames for his poor goal tally last season. After all, Didier Drogba never seemed to suffer the same lack of creativity that Benitez points to as the underlying reason.
Now, surely with the immense vat of creativity Di Matteo brought in this summer – Eden Hazard, Oscar, Victor Moses, and Marko Marin – if Torres can’t score, it cannot be attributed to a lack of opportunity.
Torres played 1,904 minutes of football last season and had just 62 shots on goal, of those only 23 were on target. That’s a percentage of 37% of his attempts even troubled a goalkeeper. Along with his poor strike-rate, he managed only 4 assists in the entire season.
In his first season at Liverpool Torres played 2555 minutes, scored 24 goals, had 96 shots, of which 61 were on target – 63.5% accuracy – and a considerably more impressive conversion rate.
Di Matteo was being urged, before his dismissal, to offload Fernando Torres in January – former Blues legend Ruud Gullit suggested he be replaced by well-documented Blues target Radamel Falcao in the New Year.
Perhaps Benitez is truly the only man who can get Torres’ Chelsea career back on track – or perhaps the fate of the new manager, like his predecessors, is intertwined with his ‘star’ striker’s – if Torres fails and Falcao isn’t imported in January, ‘bye bye Benitez’.