LIVERPOOL(2) v/s CHELSEA(0)
TWO GOALS of the highest order against the meanest defence around would suggest Liverpool’s Fernando Torres is back to his best, but the striker insists there is still more to come.
The past few months have represented something of a misery for Torres, with his form having taken a sizeable dip and his commitment to the cause questioned by some observers.
But the Spain international roared back to form yesterday with a first-half brace which condemned Chelsea to only their second Premier League defeat of the campaign.
He opened the scoring in the 11th minute, latching onto Dirk Kuyt’s pass and clipping the ball over the advancing Petr Cech.
If his first was delicate, his second, which arrived on the stroke of half-time, was more about brute force, as he cut in from the left before delivering a thumping shot into the far corner which left Cech standing.
Other than his goals, it was the renewed effort and work rate that suggested a return to the form the Anfield faithful have come to expect as standard is around the corner.
“It’s been difficult for me with injuries but I am training every day and every day feeling better and improving,” said Torres.
“I don’t know if I can play my best soon - but it will be soon. I know the expectation I have but I can handle that.
“We have to keep winning. We have won three games in seven days but we have to forget that now.”
Certainly the picture is starting to look far rosier for Liverpool and manager Roy Hodgson, who can now begin to target a Champions League spot with only five points separating them and fourth placed Manchester City.
For their part, Chelsea were slow out of the blocks yesterday and failed to match Liverpool’s intensity, particularly in the first-half when the absence of Michael Essien was telling.
“We didn't play quickly in the first- half; we didn’t have time to build play from the back and we didn’t have the possibility to find space in the opponent’s half, said manager Carlo Ancelotti, whose side are now suddenly just two points ahead of Manchester United.
“Liverpool defended very well and counter-attacked, scoring two fantastic goals. It was very difficult to get back in the game. The second-half was much better but it was not enough for us.”
Chelsea’s other Torres traumas
Torres marked his home debut with his first goal for the club, a wonderful individual effort in a 1-1 draw back in 2007.
Chelsea were celebrating a place in the Champions League final before a Torres effort postponed their celebrations, temporarily.
A late Torres brace condemned Chelsea to a 2-0 defeat in February 2009 and proved the nail in the coffin for Felipe Scolari.