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Michael Taylor 3rd Feb 2009 - 14:06

Storming El Niño will blow cold

Is Fernando Torres really back in top form following his two goal haul against Chelsea this weekend? The general feeling in the sporting press is that the Spanish star, nicknamed El Niño, is ready to single-handedly drag the Reds back into Premier League contention and fire his team into the FA Cup fifth round.

Torres is a 5/1 shot to instantly carry on his goalscoring form and notch the first goal in the FA Cup fourth round replay against Everton at Goodison Park, but how I see it, you could be better off putting your money elsewhere.

Especially if you take into account the way Everton have handled the slippery striker in previous matches with Phil Jagielka in particular able to boast that he has had Torres in his back pocket!

Yes, there is no doubting Torres can change the game in the matter of seconds as he showed against Chelsea with his movement and deft finish for the first goal but, with Everton settled in defence, there is a fair chance he will be played out of the game.

The same cannot be said of Steven Gerrard though, as the inspirational captain continues to prove he is the man for the big occasion and has put the Toffees to the sword over the past fortnight scoring and creating chances effortlessly.

Gerrard looks a great bet at 6/1 to score the first of the game and would, in the process, match Robbie Fowler's achievement of scoring in three consecutive Merseyside derbies.

For Everton, their striker problems are looking rosier with Jo's signing although the big Brazilian is ineligible for FA Cup action, meaning Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini need to cut out chances from midfield - a role Cahill has become adept at in recent weeks.

However, their best chance of finding the net may come from a set piece and in Cahill and Joleon Lescott, Mikel Arteta has two great targets to fire his awesome deliveries towards.

Liverpool start the game as slight favourites at 7/5 which looks a lot more backable than the 21/10 about Everton given the Reds' abundance of attacking options.

Indeed, the original tie at Anfield was one way pressure and only some heroics from Tim Howard kept Liverpool at bay and it could be the same story again on Wednesday, although with a raucous home crowd behind the Toffees for the first time in the trilogy it should be a little more even.

With this is mind you have to feel another draw is on the cards, making the 21/10 look tempting, while a third 1-1 draw at 5/1 could pay dividends.

This is the FA Cup though and draws mean nothing - it's all about making the fifth round where Aston Villa (or Doncaster) are waiting. It will be close, and by no means a dead cert but surely Rafa Benitez's knockout tournament know-how will see the 4/7 Reds safely through to the last sixteen.

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