Liverpool demand 50m for Fernando Torres from Chelsea

Liverpool will sell striker Fernando Torres before the end of January - but only if Chelsea agree a 50m package, BBC Sport understands.
[Linked Image]
The Reds have already rejected a 35m bid from Chelsea for the 26-year-old Spaniard, who arrived at Anfield from Atletico Madrid in 2007 in a 20m deal.

Liverpool also turned down a transfer request from Torres on Friday.

Another option could be a 40m deal, with a world-class replacement - namely Nicolas Anelka - returning to Anfield.

Despite reports, Liverpool are not interested in bringing Chelsea's young back-up striker Daniel Sturridge to Anfield.

The Reds are angered by the timing of Torres' request, and believe Chelsea have 'tapped up' the player by encouraging him to express a desire to leave.

Torres has a 50m release clause in his contract, but this only entitles him to leave if Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions League this season, so even if Chelsea offer a package of that amount, Liverpool believe they could still force him to stay.

Manager Kenny Dalglish and the club's owners see little point in forcing him to remain at Anfield against his will, but are determined to hold out for what they see as a more realistic bid - and what would be a British record transfer fee.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City have all faced battles to keep hold of Cesc Fabregas, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez respectively in recent months.

On each occasion the player has been forced or persuaded to stay, but Liverpool look set to allow Torres to leave.

By submitting his transfer request at the very end of the window, Torres has made it very difficult for his club to find a replacement.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is expected to submit an improved offer on Monday.

Torres, who signed a six-year contract in 2007, has been linked with Chelsea before.

The Blues were reported to be interested in luring the Spaniard from Anfield in the summer of 2008 and made a bid in May of last year, but after helping Spain win the World Cup Torres pledged his future to Liverpool.

He said at the time: "My commitment and loyalty to the club and to the fans is the same as it was on my first day when I signed."

He scored three hat-tricks in his first season on Merseyside, scoring 33 goals in 46 appearances, and netted the winner as Spain beat Germany 1-0 to win the European Championship in 2008.

Hamstring injuries plagued the following season but he still managed 17 goals in 38 games, while groin problems and knee surgery disrupted his 2009-10 campaign, although he still managed to find the net 22 times in 32 games.

Torres picked up a World Cup winners' medal with Spain but he failed to score during the finals in South Africa and pulled up with an abductor problem in the final, having come on as an 89th-minute substitute in the 1-0 victory over the Netherlands.

He has endured an indifferent season on Merseyside, scoring just nine goals in 26 games, and handed in a written transfer request on Friday despite Liverpool looking to have bolstered their attacking options by agreeing a 23m fee with Ajax for striker Luis Suarez.