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Benitez: Rival English clubs bid for Fernando Torres

Rafael Benitez claims rival English clubs were sniffing around Fernando Torres during the summer but has described his in-form Spanish striker as "not for sale at any price".

A hat-trick against Hull City at the weekend took Torres' tally to eight goals and the former Atletico Madrid star tops the Premier League's goalscoring chart after an impressive start to the new season.

But Benitez has described how rival clubs - believed to be Manchester City and Chelsea - attempted to lure Torres away from Anfield over the summer before being told in no uncertain terms that the club were unwilling to sell the player who now boasts 46 goals in 64 Premier League games.

"How much is he worth? Well at least £70 million, you would say," Benitez said. "I'm not saying he's the best in the world because he is young and can get better, but of course he is one of the best, and he can still improve if he wants to.

"This year we had some agents acting for other English clubs who were coming to us asking about the price of Torres, with big, big figures, but we said that he's not for sale. I would say at this moment in time he is not for sale at any price."

Liverpool are currently preparing for Tuesday night's Champions League tie at Fiorentina, with the Reds having won their opening tie of Group E when defeating Debrecen at Anfield and the Italians searching for their first points after losing to Lyon.

Scoring 18 goals in the past 6 games, Liverpool have firmly shaken off any lingering accusations that they are overly cautious under Benitez and the Spaniard has welcomed the new-found fluency with which his side are operating. Indeed, Benitez is even ready to overlook a number of defensive lapses that have occurred since the start of the season.

"We are scoring more goals and not really worried that we have conceded a few more," Benitez said. "Our aim is to score goals and win matches, keeping clean sheets is a bonus. This has been a very good goal-scoring start to the season, I'm told the best for over 100 years at this club. But even if you score goals and also concede, then someone will see the negative of that.

"But we always look to the positives, we are scoring a lot of goals and we aim to continue to do the same. We can improve in defence, of course, and I would like a lot of goals and none conceded, but that is hard to do if you do try to attack.

"We will try to find the balance but I find it is easier to improve defences because you can work in training on basics, repeating the same things. With strikers it depends more on the quality of the player, that is more difficult.''

As well as preparing to face Fiorentina, Liverpool have also been dealing with renewed speculation regarding a possible takeover at Anfield with Saudi Arabian sports investment firm F6 confirming that discussions are underway with co-owner George Gillett. However, Benitez merely stated: "I talked to George at the weekend but it was only about football things.''

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