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Liverpool's Torres proud of handling hatchet men

Fernando Torres insists he has stood up to batterings from English defenders he would never face in Spain.

The Liverpool striker has scored 21 goals in 31 games for his new club, and boss Rafael Benitez concedes one of the main reasons the club splashed out a record fee on the Spain international was because of his bravery.

Torres underlined that with a hat-trick against Middlesbrough last weekend despite a bruising clash with defenders Emanuel Pogatetz and David Wheater.

Benitez expects the former Atletico Madrid man to become the first Liverpool striker to score 20 league goals in a season since Robbie Fowler in 1995-96.

Torres said: "There are so many strong defenders here. But I have settled, I have scored goals and I have coped with the physical side.

"But it is true that I would not be getting hit in the back all the time in Spain like I am here.

"I am happy with the way I have learned to cope with the physical side of the English game."

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Tribal Football Staff

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