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Liverpool FC: Torres Who? There's Another Former Liverpool Forward on the Radar

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19:  Neil Mellor of Sheffield Wdnesday is tackled by Roger Johnson of Birmingham City during the FA Cup Sponsored by e.on 5th Round match between Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday at St Andrews on February 19, 2011 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Antony HerbertAnalyst IIIDecember 17, 2011

Fernando Torres may just wish he had never left Liverpool. After making the record-breaking move to Chelsea, he has taken a massive step backwards in his reputation and in his goal-scoring ability.

Yet a lot of Kop fans have still had their ears to the walls about the rumours that El Nino could return to Anfield. 

Luis Suarez has been a confident and celebrated addition, but the inconsistent support from Andy Carroll mixed with the Uruguyan's lesser tally of goals in comparison to Torres have meant that Liverpool are not as threatening in front of goal as they would like to be.

Liverpool have history in re-acquiring former talents. Robbie Fowler returned amidst a blaze of euphoria in 2006, and Craig Bellamy returned to the lineup at the start of the current campaign.

Yet if there should be any returning Liverpool strikers, then maybe Merseyside should look at a less obvious alternative during the transfer window.

Former cult hero and occasional match-winner Neil Mellor has been on fire at Preston North End this season. He has become the highest-scoring player at the northern side, and his physical presence on match day has improved impressively upon his return from a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday.

Yes, the gap between the quality of play at Liverpool and Preston and their respective opponents is expansive, but Mellor could be a player ready to enticingly intimidate opposition and offer a boisterous support to Suarez's slick style of play.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 04:  Robbie Fowler of the Perth Glory A-League club poses in a Liverpool shirt with 'Torres' on the back at AK Reserve on February 4, 2011 in Perth, Australia. Western Australian personalities are being encouraged to wear  'The
Paul Kane/Getty Images

The Yorkshire-born Mellor lasted from 2002 until 2006 at Anfield during the opening to his professional career, but unfortunately was never more than a bit-part player under Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez.

Certainly you can argue that he was sold short, as particular match-winners against the likes of Arsenal and Olympiacos in the Champions league gained him credible status amongst Liverpool supporters. He was predicted for a strong continuation to his promising career and sought to increase the number of starts he achieved.

This impression he left on the squad earned him a position of 90th in a poll to find the 100 players who shook the Kop.

His time and progress at future sides Sheffield Wednesday and Preston up until this season were sadly minimal. Yet now as he approaches 30, there is a definite talent that could be explored further upon Mellor's return to the top flight. 

If manager Kenny Dalglish is looking to further his intention of gaining effective homegrown talent, then League One and Mellor could therefore be a possible alternative avenue to look into.

To make one thing clear, Mellor is not a stronger overall footballer than Fernando Torres, but at least he is a former Anfield player showing some impressive form. 

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