That is three more than Wayne Rooney, who has admittedly featured in fewer matches than the Spaniard, but it is also only four less than Robin van Persie.
Van Persie’s goalscoring exploits at the start of the season have effectively won Manchester United the Premier League title ahead of schedule, but his worrying loss of form – he has only scored once in the last 12 matches – has coincided with exits from both the Champions League and the FA Cup.
At Chelsea, Torres has impressed in fits and starts this campaign and – while he has not hit the heights of his pomp at Liverpool – El Nino (it seems strange to call a 29-year-old The Kid) is in far better nick than the washed-up has-been that was all but written off this time last year.
Where – and against whom – Torres has found his goals is arguably a major sticking point though.
Only seven of Torres’s 19 goals have come in the Premier League, and most of them have come against weaker opposition. Indeed, discounting the strike against Manchester City in the Community Shield, Torres has only managed one goal against Chelsea’s nearest rivals, in the 2-1 win at Arsenal earlier in the campaign.
However, quality of opposition has not necessarily been the problem – Torres found the net against an excellent Shakhtar Donetsk side, and Rubin Kazan are a decent outfit, certainly one who would be challenging for the minor European places if they were suddenly transported to England.
What was impressive about Torres’s match-winning brace last night was the manner in which he took his goals – both brave, swashbuckling efforts – and the bright and inventive nature of his build-up play.
I watched Torres regularly when he was at Atletico Madrid, having been based in the city for some time in the mid 00’s, and even then the hype was tempered by a relative inconsistency, the feeling that he – like many strikers – is a confidence player, and that his confidence was particularly brittle.
Indeed, Torres went eight Liga matches without scoring towards the end of the 2004-05 campaign, but crucially he was at his hometown club, a side with relatively low expectations supported by fans willing to give their hero a chance to regain his form.
Current Chelsea fans have greater expectations than Atletico fans back then, and display a certain ruthlessness that they expect from their heroes.
While Torres may have lost a smidgeon of the pace he so willingly displayed at Liverpool, he has regained some of the confidence that appeared terminally lost. Demba Ba has taken the heat off him somewhat (he will hit a lean streak soon, and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the inevitable backlash), while Rafael Benitez’s appointment does seem to have helped him, albeit not in the manner we may have expected.
Tactically, Torres is being used in his preferred role – the central striker position that Didier Drogba hogged prior to his departure – but the main help has come from the lightning-rod effect that Benitez has unwittingly provided: Chelsea fans are too busy hating on Agent Rafa to get on Torres’s back, and he appears calmer and happier as a result.
Torres needs to start doing it in the Premier League – where opposition fans are giving him the grief that he escapes in Europe – and if he hits double figures in that competition by the end of the season Chelsea will view that as a decent return.
Maybe he needs to continue wearing that ridiculous mask, which could bizarrely give him the cloak of anonymity needed for him to stop overthinking his moves when he gets in the positions he has always been capable of finding.
Either way, talk of his demise appears to have been premature and, given that he is an intelligent man and a willing worker, there could be a long-term lease of life as he adapts his game to account for less searing speed. It worked for another Madrileno after all – and Raul didn’t do too badly into his 30s.
Reda Maher – on Twitter @Reda_Eurosport
QUOTE(S) OF THE DAY
“It’s a pity. City pay big money, but do not understand that human relations mean more than anything. Yaya feels the club do not want him” – Yaya Toure’s agent before his client signed a bumper new contract.
"I will never forget how I have been treated here by the fans, the club and the owners and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to finish my career as a Manchester City player” – Yaya Toure after signing a bumper new contract.
"The club has written to UEFA due to a series of incidents on the pitch in the understanding that objectively speaking it was evident that the referee did not apply the rules of the game. When two players from the same team are on the floor the referee should stop the match, which did not happen” – What about when those two players are probably faking it, as many of your team do on a regular basis? Whinging Barcelona start to lose the sympathy of the wider football world for the less appealing side to their game.
Tranny-spotter Joey Barton may have Tweeted himself out of a starting role for Marseille when they face Bordeaux in what promises to be a fiery all-southern Ligue 1 clash on Friday night, while Premier League expert Jim White does his thing and Pitchside Europe picks its European Match of the Weekend.