Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has defended Fernando Torres after the Spanish striker 前锋 put in a weak performance against rivals 对手 Birmingham City this weekend.
"I think he is working hard for the team," said Hodgson. "He is a constant thorn in the side 烦恼 of defenders."
Thorn in the side is a phrase used when someone or something causes constant problems. But Hodgson denies that Torres has become a thorn in the side for his own team, the Reds 红军（利物浦）。
"We know he lacks match training 比赛中的训练," says Hodgson. "He missed matches at the end of last year and during the World Cup but I'm not at all concerned about Fernando Torres. He will get better and better."
He's shown no appetite for the game; he's looked frustrated, sloppy and lethargic.
Jamie Redknapp, former Liverpool player
Hodgson's comments follow critical analysis from commentators, who blasted 严厉的批评 the Spanish international 国家队球员 for his lacklustre 无生气的 performance.
Former Liverpool player Jamie Redknapp – who is now a TV pundit 评论员 for Sky Sports – hit out at 猛烈抨击 the club's record signing （利物浦）身价最高的球员。
"He's been diabolical 糟透了," Redknapp said after the match. "He's shown no appetite 毫无斗志 for the game, he's looked frustrated 沮丧的， sloppy 邋遢的 and lethargic 无精打采的。"
Liverpool signed Torres from Spanish side Athletico Madrid in 2007, in a deal worth £26.5 million (276 million yuan). In December 2009 he became the fastest player in Liverpool history to score 50 league goals 联赛进球。
I thought he looked dangerous and became stronger as the game went on.
Roy Hodgson, Liverpool Manager
He was part of Spain's 2010 World Cup-winning squad, and was involved in the team's winning goal 制胜一球，crossing the ball to Cesc Fabregas, who set up the goalscorer.
But many saw Torres' World Cup performance as below par 表现不及以往。 The player struggled to regain form 恢复最佳状态 after injuries last season and knee surgery before the tournament 世界杯。
The Liverpool manager, however, remains confident that Torres will return to peak form. "He's looking fitter with every game," said Hodgson after the Birmingham game. "I thought he looked dangerous and became stronger as the game went on."