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Southend’s shock equaliser at Stamford Bridge has earned the Shrimpers a lucrative FA Cup replay against Premier League heavyweights Chelsea next Wednesday.

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres believes Manchester United are favourites to win the title this season.

The Reds currently sit at the top of the table, five points ahead of United who have two games in hand.

United can move above Liverpool in the table if they win their two games this week before Liverpool face local rivals Everton next Monday night.

“They’re the clear favourites to win the title,” said Torres. “We’re working hard to compete with them and finish above them and we’re on course to achieve that.

“We know it’s possible for us to win this season but we have to fight to the very end to do so.

“It’s obvious that we know all about them. They are the champions of Europe and the world.

“We know the class they have in their team. They have some of the best players in the world.”

Torres admits the showdown between the two clubs at Old Trafford on 14th March could prove to be a title decider.

“I think the game at Old Trafford will decide the title,” noted Torres. “If everything goes as we expect then we will go there in a similar position to now.

“We will have to play our game to try and get a result in a ground, which in the last few years has not been good for Liverpool.

Torres refused to get involved in the war of words between Reds boss Rafa Benitez and United chief Sir Alex Ferguson following the Spaniard’s outburst against the Scot last week.

Torres added: “The managers make remarks. They have their reasons for that but I won’t be looking at them.”

Southend’s shock equaliser at Stamford Bridge has earned the Shrimpers a lucrative FA Cup replay against Premier League heavyweights Chelsea next Wednesday.

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