Fernando Torres has promised Chelsea fans he is on the brink of recapturing the form that made him arguably the best striker in the world.
Torres is set to make his debut for the Barclays Premier League champions in Sunday's meeting with the club he controversially quit on transfer deadline day, Liverpool. Having been rated as the the world's number one centre-forward during his first two seasons at Anfield, the 26-year-old endured an injury-hit 2010, which saw him struggle to maintain that level of performance.
But the £50million man said: "In the last two months, I've been playing, if not at my best, close to my best. I expect to be a bit better for the rest of the season."
He was widely regarded as a passenger during Spain's World Cup triumph and appeared disinterested in the eyes of some observers during Roy Hodgson's doomed Liverpool reign.
Torres insists he was always fully committed to the Anfield cause and that any dip was due to a lack of match fitness and confidence. The appointment of Kenny Dalglish as manager provided a boost in the latter department and Torres' last four games for Liverpool saw him net three times.
He added: "Last year, was difficult with two surgeries on my knees. I needed time to recover. I did."
Manager Carlo Ancelotti is set to decide whether to throw Torres in at the deep end against his former club or start him from the bench.
It is a similar story for Torres' ex-team-mate Jamie Carragher, who was an unused substitute in Liverpool's midweek win over Stoke after two months out following shoulder surgery. A lifelong Reds fan, Carragher this week refused to pander to the shirt-burning brigade by insisting he held no grudge against Torres for jumping ship.
Torres said: "Hopefully I can play, and he can too. I would like to play against him because he's a top player. I like playing against the best, as I liked to play against (John) Terry and (Rio) Ferdinand.
"I'm expecting a hard game. I know he's a big Liverpool fan. As a footballer, I'm sure he understands my decision. Plenty of my ex-team-mates have congratulated me for this move."
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