Play me and Torres up front… we'll blast Chelsea back into the Champions League, insists Ba
14:45 GMT, 19 April 2013
15:16 GMT, 19 April 2013
Demba Ba has told Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez that he and Fernando Torres are ready to start up front together in Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash against Liverpool.
Benitez has rotated the two strikers in a 4-2-3-1 formation since Ba joined from Newcastle in January but the pair combined effectively in the second half of last weekend's 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City.
Benitez faces a selection dilemma with Torres desperate to start at his former club and Ba's form in front of goal making him hard to ignore – but the Senegalese insists they can play together.
Partners in crime Demba Ba (left) has said he wants to play with Fernando Torres (right) up front for Chelsea
He told the London Evening Standard:
'When he came on the pitch against City he helped me a lot. We caused
them problems so I think we could play together.
'We combined against Brentford earlier
in the competition, too, so I don’t believe it would be a problem for
us. Most of the time we have to fight against the two central defenders
on our own. If you have an extra body there, it makes it easier.
'This is also very important in
football, to be able to control the game. I would understand if Fernando
wants to start against Liverpool. We’re not making the decision but I
would understand if he does.
One or the other: Ba (left) has rarely played with Torres, the two usually used as like-for-like replacements
Meanwhile, Benitez insists he is
focused only on the immediate future and not his past with Liverpool as
he prepares to take his Chelsea side to Anfield.
In a press conference on Friday the
Spaniard declined to assess Liverpool since his departure in June 2010
or to talk about events at Anfield ahead of his first return as an
'I have a lot of respect, but I have to concentrate on my team,' Benitez said.
'I don't want any misunderstanding, so
I will concentrate just on Chelsea and the game and try to enjoy it,
especially if we can win.'
Job at hand: Rafa Benitez insists he is only focused on Chelsea ahead of his return to Liverpool
Benitez is expected to receive a warm
welcome in the week which marked both his 53rd birthday and the 24th
anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
He spent six years at Anfield, helping
Liverpool to the 2005 Champions League in his first season, the FA Cup,
the Community Shield and European Super Cup, while the Reds finished
second in the Premier League in 2008-09.
His family home remains on Merseyside
and he supports the campaigners in their fight for justice for the 96
supporters killed at Hillsborough in 1989.
His is a lasting bond with Liverpool, but Benitez's aim is to defeat his former club.
'I'm a professional and I am committed
with Chelsea until the end of the season, to win, to achieve our
targets,' said Benitez, who is out of contract at the end of the
Flying the flag: Benitez is still a hugely popular figure at Anfield, having won them the Champions League in 2005
'I was there for six years, winning a lot of things together.
'They (Liverpool supporters) will
appreciate that, but at the same time they will try to support their
team and they will understand that I have to try to do my best and win.'
Benitez recently was quoted as saying
he wanted to return 'home' to Liverpool and that his wish was to move to
a top club, possibly in England next season.
That was interpreted by some as a possible return to Liverpool, but Benitez meant his family home.
For reasons of clarity, the Spaniard declined the opportunity to appraise Reds incumbent Brendan Rodgers.
'I have a lot of respect for Liverpool Football Club and all their managers,' he said.
'What I said clearly is Liverpool is
my home, my family is living there and because I don't want any
misunderstanding, I will not talk about the club, the position or the
manager's position or whatever. My family's there, it's my home.'