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Sun 10 Aug 2008 04:00 AM

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Torres ready to end Liverpool's title drought

Fernando Torres sets targets on bringing Premiership crown to Anfield.

Fernando Torres had only been a European champion for a matter of hours when the Liverpool star consigned Spain's triumph to the history books and turned his attention to Anfield's own trophy drought.

Torres's typically clinical finish against Germany in Vienna sealed Spain's first international trophy for 44 years and capped a memorable season for the striker.

His stunning debut campaign with Liverpool had provided the perfect response to critics who questioned his ability to prosper at the highest level, and now he was the golden boy of Spanish football as well.

It was the first major medal of Torres's career but the 24-year-old isn't one to rest on his laurels.

With Spain's ghosts laid to rest, he set his sights on ending Liverpool's 18-year wait to win the English title.

"This is my first title and I hope it's the first of many," he said in the immediate aftermath of the Euro 2008 final.

After spending over a decade watching arch rivals Manchester United move to within one title of Liverpool's record 18 English championships, the Anfield faithful are growing increasingly restless.

Rafa Benitez has restored the club's reputation as serious contenders in Europe, but the title has remained out of reach.

There wasn't even the hint of a serious challenge last season and Torres, who signed for 21 million pounds from Atletico Madrid in 2007, knows bridging the gap to United and Chelsea must be their primary goal this year.

Torres's form will be crucial to Liverpool's chances.

From the moments he scored his first goal against Chelsea in August, Torres was a phenomenon.

He eventually scored 33 goals in all competitions and laid waste to a host of records along the way.

He was the first Liverpool player to score more than 20 league goals since Robbie Fowler in 1995-96; his 24 league goals broke Ruud van Nistelrooy's previous record for the highest scoring overseas player in a debut Premier League season, and he equalled Roger Hunt's club record of scoring in eight successive home games.

As if that wasn't enough to give sleepless nights to Premier League defenders across England, Robbie Keane, Torres's new Anfield strike partner, believes there is even more to come from the predatory finisher.

Keane, a 20-million-pounds signing from Tottenham, will be expected to provide the ammunition for Torres to fire Liverpool's title bid and he can't wait to play alongside the Spaniard.

"For me, Torres has just got to be about the best striker in the world at the moment," Keane said.

"He will get better this season, which is great for Liverpool and has got to be a worry for the rest of the division."

"You saw how good he was at the European Championships, and I am sure scoring the winning goal in the final will have done his confidence the world of good."

"I am looking forward to playing alongside him, of course I am. Torres is the kind of striker that anyone would want to play alongside."

"He makes great runs, holds the ball up well to allow support to get around him, and when he gets the chance in front of goal he is deadly."

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