Kenny Dalglish was last night desperately trying to talk transfer-seeking Fernando Torres around as Liverpool anticipated an improved offer from Chelsea. The manager and Anfield officials played heavily on Torres's special place within the club's history and fans' affections, but the striker remained prepared to sacrifice it all because of doubts about the club's future.
Despite Torres's steadfast stance, an actual transfer was still some way off. Liverpool's attempts at soft persuasion behind the scenes complemented their obstinance in public. They announced Torres's transfer request to place the burden of any exit on him, having rejected it and Chelsea's initial £35m approach. It has been suggested, however, that Liverpool will accept a £50m bid rather than keep an unhappy player.
No longer willing to waste the peak years of his career waiting on another possible false dawn at Anfield, Torres is understood to be in a particular hurry to win the first club medal of his career and get back into the Champions League. This explains his desire to join Chelsea, a choice which has perturbed Liverpool supporters. Torres would not be cup tied for the Champions League and, as such, feels he could immediately improve Chelsea's challenge for it, not to mention refresh their Premier League title defence.
In truth, too, Chelsea are the only credible top-level option that are actively interested in the striker at this point.
Elsewhere, Sunderland have confirmed the loan signing of Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari from Inter Milan until the end of the season. And across the Tyne Wear divide, Newcastle have rejected a Tottenham Hotspur bid for Andy Carroll and insisted the striker will not be leaving St James's Park in this window.