Fernando Torres blames player sales for title flop

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In a frank assessment of a miserable season at Liverpool, Fernando Torres identified the sale of key players last summer for much of the club's problems.

The sale of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid for £30 million has been widely criticised as the Reds' difficult campaign has unfolded, with his £20 million replacement Alberto Aquilani struggling for fitness all season.

Álvaro Arbeloa joined Alonso in moving to the Bernabéu, while Sami Hyypiä was allowed to join German side Bayer Leverkusen.

In an interview with the Spanish sports magazine Don Balon, Torres said: "There have been various important factors, like being so far behind the top teams so quickly. That killed us psychologically.

"After that, injuries hit us hard and we have suffered a lot because of them.

"After a good season last year, the team needed certain reinforcements and keep the squad together, but circumstances dictated that we had to sell players and everything got messed up.

"The sales of Arbeloa, Hyypiä and Alonso were important losses.

"Álvaro always did a vital job for us, always played to a high level, and his flexibility was a huge bonus.

"Sami did not play every week but he was a 10 out of 10 on and off the pitch.

"And Xabi? Players like him are very rare. He was the team's engine, and you know that when you change an engine, it takes time to work again."

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