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Fernando Torres has handed in a written transfer request in a dramatic attempt to force through a move to Chelsea before the January window closes on Monday.

The 26 year-old striker has stunned Liverpool by following up his verbal request to leave Anfield — delivered on Thursday — with a formal plea to leave. Initially Torres asked for Liverpool to at least negotiate with Chelsea. But his resolve has hardened in the last 48 hours and he wants to leave now.

Liverpool are adamant that Torres is not for sale and manager Kenny Dalglish has already told the player and the club’s owners that he will not agree to any deal.

Liverpool will have to respond on Saturday as they try to defuse the crisis that has enveloped the club and with Chelsea already set to submit a revised offer for the Spanish international.

It is understood that the Premier League champions want to offer striker Daniel Sturridge as part of an increased bid. A formal offer of £28 million was rejected two days ago and Chelsea have already intimated they will raise that to more than £30 million with Sturridge as a makeweight to take it closer to Liverpool’s expected valuation of £50 million for Torres.

The fact that Torres, who has been unhappy at Liverpool for some time, and voiced his disquiet last summer, has submitted a transfer request shows his determination to leave.

However, Liverpool are highly unlikely to agree to a move and will hope to persuade Torres to stay at least until the summer. The request is the latest in a remarkable season of possible departures by high-profile players, with Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tévez making similar moves.

The difference with Torres, however, and what makes it far more serious for Liverpool, is that he is acting in direct response to a bid from Chelsea who have been chasing him for some time.

There was no response from Liverpool on Friday night but the club are expected to release a statement on Saturday.

Liverpool will be angry at the speed of developments and believe that Torres has been unsettled. Chelsea insist they do not want to wait until the end of the season — when Liverpool may be more willing to sell as they will have more time to rebuild.

Talks are believed to have taken place with his representatives earlier this week which led to Chelsea lodging a formal offer, which was promptly rejected. The issue is a first real test for Dalglish since his return to management. He has told Torres and the club’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group, as well as Chelsea’s negotiators, that the player is not for sale.

Liverpool have backed this stance in a statement but there is a sense, from Chelsea, that the £23m signing of Luis Suarez may open the way for the sale to happen if they also offer Sturridge. Liverpool made inquiries about the 21-year-old striker earlier this season and it’s understood that Sturridge wants to leave Chelsea having grown frustrated at his limited opportunities.

Liverpool have completely dismissed this scenario, insisting that they want Suarez to play alongside Torres rather than replace him and given the team’s improvement under Dalglish it is unthinkable that the manager will be undermined now.

Source: Telegraph

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