Magic Torres scores his first vs Chelsea at Anfield.
I believe Steven Gerrard is
Liverpool FC’s greatest ever player
Comment by John Aldridge - Liverpool Echo
It's been a typical kind of week for
Steven Gerrard. He led his side to a hugely influential
victory at Bolton, came off the bench and scored a hat-trick
against the fourth best team in Serie A, then produced
another outstanding display against the league leaders.
But then I wouldn’t expect anything less from Stevie,
because like Jamie Carragher I believe Steven Gerrard is the
greatest player to have ever pulled on the red shirt.
Now you’d expect Jamie to say that. He’s Stevie’s team-mate
and pal after all.
But I had the good fortune to play alongside the phenomenal
Kenny Dalglish, and I believe Stevie has probably surpassed
even King Kenny.
What gives Stevie the edge is that Kenny actually played in
a team with 10 other great players.
Stevie has probably only played in a Liverpool team with
four or five great players, maximum.
He’s been left to carry the can for the side so many times
on his own, and has usually produced.
People say that Stevie can’t be considered the best of all
time until he’s won a league title.
But he’s single-handedly inspired Liverpool to almost every
other trophy – I’m thinking of his Istanbul heroics, his
incredible FA Cup final display and his goals in League and
UEFA Cup finals.
He’s also helped the team in a wide variety of positions,
but for me the position where he is most effective is where
he is now.
I think Stevie can have the biggest influence on a match
from central midfield.
I particularly liked the way the team was set up against
Chelsea on Sunday, with Dirk Kuyt in behind Torres.
I’d also like to see Glen Johnson come back in on the right
of midfield, similar to the way Spurs use Gareth Bale and
Everton are currently usuing Seamus Coleman – a youngster
who I think can be a great player for Ireland in the future.
Lucas received plenty of praise for his performance on
Sunday and on this occasion it was deserved.
In many respects his situation reminds me of Darren
Fletcher’s at Manchester United.
Early on in his career the United supporters just weren’t
Now he is one of their most important players.
Whether that happens with Lucas we’ll have to wait and see,
but there’s no doubt that Rafa Benitez’s departure seems to
have helped him.
He has responded well to the challenge of Christian Poulsen
and Raul Meireles’ arrival – although it’s blatantly obvious
already that Poulsen is not going to be any threat to Lucas’
If the Brazilian continues the way he played on Sunday he
could go on to become a valuable squad player for us.
But there’s no doubt who has been the most valuable player
for Liverpool Football Club over the last 12 years.
For me, though, Steven Gerrard is the most influential
player EVER to have played for The Reds.
Lucas hopes win
will be pivotal
Liverpool midfielder Lucas hopes
yesterday's stunning victory over Chelsea can prove a
turning point in more ways than one.
The Reds are now finally in the top half of the Premier
League after 11 games and the manner of their 2-0 Anfield
success over the champions is sure to breed confidence.
Double goalscorer Fernando Torres will also hope his
performance signals the start of an upturn in fortunes after
a dismal start to the campaign.
And for Lucas too, the match could mark an important staging
post in his Anfield career.
The much-maligned 23-year-old Brazilian produced one of the
best performances of his three years at Anfield with a
bustling all-round display.
Lucas said: "That will give us a really good mood and we
will try to keep the same levels of performance.
"I think we believed in our team, that was the main thing.
"We played with intensity, everyone could see how intense
all the team played.
"I am getting older and I think I am getting better. When
you get more experienced you feel important and you want to
"In the last few games I have been really pleased with the
way I am playing.
"The team is winning and when the team is winning everyone
has a better performance."
Lucas was often given a holding job by former manager Rafael
That was perhaps not his preferred position but he now feels
he has matured and is able to play a role that contributes
in both defence and attack.
He said: "It is good to see Brazilian players are not just
tricks and you can do a 'dirty' job for the team.
"That is what I am trying to do, to do the job defensive and
try to get forward when I can.
"As a player I am trying to be consistent. This season I am
getting better, I will just keep the same level and try to
be in the team all the time."
Liverpool were in the bottom three just over a week ago but
are now looking upwards after three successive victories.
They will now look to maintain their revival as they make
the short trip to Wigan on Wednesday.
Lucas added: "We are happy but of course we are still not in
the position we want to be.
"We want to be higher in the table but we have to keep
delighted for Torres
Dirk Kuyt insists the whole Liverpool
squad had confidence Fernando Torres would regain his top
form after his starring role in the win over Chelsea.
Torres showed signs of returning to his best with a superb
first-half double to condemn league leaders Chelsea to a 2-0
defeat at Anfield.
Kuyt believes Liverpool's improved form has helped bring the
best out of Torres after a difficult start to the campaign.
"We always had the confidence in Fernando, no doubt about
that," Kuyt told the club's official website.
"You can see the team playing better now every week and in
every game, and Fernando is also getting better and better.
"He finished his goals in a brilliant way.
"We were really satisfied with the team performance.
"I thought we played really well in the first half and then
in the second we had to defend but everyone did a great job.
"Pepe had another brilliant game. He kept another clean
sheet and he did a brilliant job for us."
Kuyt marked his return to action following five games out
with an assist for Torres' opener and the Dutchman was
delighted to make a successful comeback against Chelsea.
"For me that was a very good moment in the game," added
"I have worked really hard to get back to fitness and I know
Chelsea isn't the easiest game to come back in but it was a
"To see Fernando finish from my assist was a perfect moment.
"It's also a big plus to our medical team who have worked
hard to get me fit again so quickly. They have helped me a
lot and I am very thankful to them."
positives in Chelsea loss
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti remained
upbeat despite his side's second defeat of the season
against Liverpool at Anfield
The Premier League leaders missed the chance to re-establish
their five-point advantage over Manchester United after
Fernando Torres scored twice in the 2-0 victory.
Both goals came in the first half and although the
introduction of Didier Drogba after the interval, having
been put on the bench because he was suffering with a fever,
livened up the visitors they found the Reds in no mood to
"Obviously the result is not good but the performance in the
second half was really better and I am happy to see my team
play like they played in the second half," he said.
"I think we had strong pressure in the second half and we
deserved to score because we did a fantastic job in their
half but we were unlucky not to score.
"(Jose) Reina is a fantastic goalkeeper and he saved some
opportunities, defensively all the players played for the
team and for this reason they deserved to win."
Ancelotti also acknowledged the quality of Torres, a player
Chelsea were linked heavily with in the summer.
"He scored two fantastic goals and he showed he was fit and
has come back from not a good moment. He is a fantastic
striker," said the Italian, who admitted his side paid for a
finely-balanced first half in which Liverpool seized the
initiative and then held on.
"We didn't play quick 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 opponents' half.
"Liverpool defended very well in the first half and
counter-attacked, scoring two fantastic goals.
"For us it was very difficult to get back in the game. The
second half was better when we played with strong intensity
and had opportunities but it was not enough because
Liverpool defensively played well for 90 minutes.
"To come here and lose can happen but we have to be
positive, we played a fantastic game in the second half.
"We are still top of the table. It is impossible to win
every game and sometimes you lose but the team showed the
same mentality and strength.
"We don't have to react, we have to win the next game."
Dirk Kuyt's work ethic defines
Liverpool's impressive win over Chelsea
Comment by David Pleat - The Guardian
Roy Hodgson got his formation right for
Liverpool against Chelsea, enabling Dirk Kuyt to be their
most effective performer.
It is only in retrospect that a possible defining moment
emerges. But the changes that Roy Hodgson made, whether by
accident or design due to injury (Glen Johnson) and
availability (Dirk Kuyt), gave Liverpool the opportunity to
play with a system that showed Steven Gerrard and Lucas
Leiva in the best light. Fernando Torres, too, enjoyed the
I recall a situation in 1986-87 when at Tottenham Hotspur.
Because of the transfer of Graham Roberts to Rangers, an
injury to Tony Galvin and the need to negate Glenn Hoddle's
down side, a 4-5-1 system was born that glowed for the whole
season. Liverpool, I feel, may have done similarly at
Kuyt lacks guile but his work-rate is often wasted, in my
view, parading the touchline on the right side. Lucas has
struggled to win admirers when trying to contain midfield
runners and Gerrard, certainly the dynamo, needs to be both
central and deeper so he can defend and attack when the
Raul Meireles and Maxi Rodríguez, who have acclimatised
slowly to Premier League football, were put to better use on
the outside of the five-man midfield rather than further
Kuyt was the most important figure in this hardworking
display, particularly in the second half when they had to
quell the tide of sharp passing attacks from Chelsea. When
possession changed hands the Dutchman quickly moved into a
position where he could help to stifle the influence of
Mikel John Obi in the centre of Chelsea's midfield. He
appeared to have three lungs as he worked and challenged,
always putting team before self.
Although Chelsea had plenty of possession, Liverpool were
strong and solid and must have given Hodgson great heart. At
Fulham he had a system that replicated the way Liverpool
played yesterday. In this rearrangement Jamie Carragher went
from right-back to centre-back where he is far more
comfortable because he does not have to face too many
passing options from the advanced positions he is forced to
take up when playing at full-back.
When the ball was wide Carragher and Martin Skrtel made sure
they stayed firm on the edge of the area and were always in
good positions to intercept typical Chelsea-style low
Hodgson may have been quietly bewildered this week at the US
owners' judgment in their choice for their director of
football but he will have made several important points with
this vibrant display.
Meireles and Rodríguez are yet to shine, but they still did
an important job denying Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole
advanced attacking positions. This was important, too.
Crucially, it was the industry of Kuyt when Liverpool lost
possession that helped Lucas and Gerrard do their work with
He deserves headlines
By Jimmy Rice at Anfield - LFC Official Website
Roy Hodgson heaped praise on Fernando
Torres after his awesome double sank Chelsea on Sunday - but
warned against any complacency heading into a critical week
in our season.
The Reds climbed to ninth in the Barclays Premier League
following the 2-0 win - and with six points available in the
next six days, that position could soon look even healthier.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Hodgson shared his
delight that Torres proved to be the headline maker after a
tough start to the campaign - and now he wants to see more
of the same against Wigan and Stoke.
"I'm pleased with the all-round performance and I'm also
pleased that Fernando Torres will get a lot of the
plaudits," said the boss.
"He's taken more than his fair share of criticism, some of
which has been grossly exaggerated and certainly not fully
"Of course, when the team's not winning it's hard to defend
these things but today he'll get a lot of plaudits and
people will say he's back to his best. Let's hope that's the
case but certainly today he was. He played very, very well.
"One always hopes that playing at this very high level that
you've got that quality of player.
"Today we had the quality of Fernando Torres and that won us
the game alongside a very disciplined and organised
performance from the others.
"I'll enjoy ninth but you can go back to 16th again with a
couple of defeats. We've got to get ourselves going again
for Wednesday (at Wigan).
"The squad is looking pretty small with the sickness and
injuries we've picked up. It's a long season. It's 11 games
in, so we're not even a third of the way through. I prefer
in football to keep my feet on the ground.
"We'll have to produce a lot more performances like this
from now until May. I can't guarantee we'll do that but I
know the boys want to give those performances every week."
Asked how he would celebrate beating a team he never
prevailed against with Fulham, Hodgson replied: "I shall
probably watch Match of the Day because I'm interested in
the other games. I will watch the DVD or the game on LFC TV,
possibly, if I can't sleep in the early hours.
"I didn't beat them with Fulham. Thanks for reminding me of
"They aren't going to lose many matches this season so I'm
glad we've chalked up a victory against them."
The win was even more satisfying after two of Liverpool's
first-choice defenders were ruled out just hours before
Hodgson explained: "Sotirios Kyrgiakos called in with very
severe tonsillitis, so he's very sick at this moment in
time, and Glen Johnson turned up complaining about a groin
problem which the physios decided was sufficiently bad that
he had to miss the game."
The victory was witnessed by NESV principal owner John Henry
and chairman Thomas Werner.
Quizzed by a New York journalist on the Americans' impact
since arriving at Anfield, the manager said: "They have been
very good for the club.
"For quite a long period of time we've been heading in the
wrong direction and the new owners gave us hope that we no
longer need to fear that we'll head in the wrong direction.
"I can only hope they are as successful with Liverpool
Football Club as they have been with Boston Red Sox. If
that's the case, we'll see Anfield rocking for a few years
Torres wants Reds momentum
Fernando Torres called on Liverpool to
keep on winning after starring in their 2-0 success against
The Reds have picked up four successive victories in all
competitions and now occupy a place in the top half of the
Premier League after toppling the Blues at Anfield.
Torres, who scored two excellent goals in Sunday's
encounter, has been pleased with the team's recent
However, he recognises that there can be no letting up ahead
of this week's games against Wigan and Stoke.
He told Sky Sports: "We weren't good enough at the start of
the season. But we thought from the beginning we needed time
to work with a new manager and new players.
"Now we have to show against the teams in the middle of the
table, or teams who are not as good as Chelsea, we can play
this way - with this intensity and quality.
"We have to keep winning. We have won three games in seven
days but we have to forget that now and keep getting
Torres has struggled with injuries during the early part of
the season but believes he is getting sharper and hopes to
hit top form again as quickly as possible.
He said: "It's been difficult for me with injuries but I am
training every day and every day feeling better and
"I don't know if I can play my best soon - but I will as
soon as possible... I know the expectation I have but I can
torn apart by Torres
Liverpool continued their recent
resurgence as Fernando Torres scored both goals in a 2-0
victory over leaders Chelsea at Anfield.
The Blues had conceded just three times in their opening 10
Premier League matches but were powerless against the class
of Torres as Roy Hodgson's side rocketed into the top half
of the table.
The breakthrough came after just 11 minutes as Dirk Kuyt
picked out Torres with a diagonal pass and the Spaniard
controlled perfectly before slotting past Petr Cech.
Torres then doubled Liverpool's advantage on the stroke of
half-time with a magnificent curled finish from the
left-hand side of the area into the far corner.
Chelsea laid siege to the Reds goal after the interval but
were unable to reduce their arrears as Florent Malouda was
denied by an instinctive Pepe Reina save from point-blank
range and Nicolas Anelka hit the crossbar.
Cech also pulled off a fine stop to keep out Kuyt but for
the most part it was Chelsea domination and a spirited
rearguard effort from the hosts to hold on for three crucial
It was always likely the result would come down to who took
their chances and with Didier Drogba left on the bench until
the second half, Torres was given a head start.
He did not need a second invitation and in addition to his
two expertly-taken first-half goals he was a constant threat
to the Chelsea defence
Torres has been short of form this season but he has always
been able to produce a performance against Chelsea at
Anfield over the years and this was no different.
It took just 11 minutes for him to reopen old wounds with a
classic piece of finishing courtesy of a cross from Kuyt,
making a welcome return after a month's absence with an
ankle injury, on the left.
The Dutchman chipped a pass over the head of John Terry and
Torres took one touch before firing past Cech.
Having looked short of confidence this season the
26-year-old appeared to spring to life, immediately going on
a short run and firing wide.
Possession was fairly even but Liverpool created the best
chances, having a penalty shout dismissed when Terry's
clearance bounced up on to Yuri Zhirkov's arm from which
Raul Meireles shot at Cech.
Torres did not give the goalkeeper any such chance with his
second just before half-time with a strike even better than
his opener and reminiscent of his first ever goal for the
club - also against Chelsea.
Meireles dispossessed Ashley Cole in the centre of the pitch
and rolled the ball out to the Spaniard on the left of the
Cutting inside he curled a shot around Branislav Ivanovic
and inside Terry and the far post.
It was a fitting end to undoubtedly Liverpool's best first
half of the season, which was as much down to excellent
organisation at the back as Torres' potency up front.
With Jamie Carragher, restored to centre-back, barking the
orders the hosts limited Chelsea to one shot on target - and
that a weak Salomon Kalou header straight at Reina.
Drogba's arrival for the start of the second half was
inevitable but the Ivory Coast international's first
shooting opportunity saw him curl a 30-yard free-kick well
Ramires headed over and Zhirkov's shot was turned around the
post by Reina, who also produced a brilliant close-range
stop to deny Florent Malouda.
Having got themselves into a winning position it was now a
question of holding on to it for Liverpool as Chelsea ramped
up the pressure.
Torres may be paid to score goals but the sight of him
hoofing the ball into the upper tier of the Centenary Stand
was testament to the determination of everyone to hang on at
Kuyt almost wrapped things up 15 minutes from time only for
Cech's outstretched leg to divert the ball wide.
Chelsea knew it was not to be their day when Nicolas
Anelka's shot squeezed under Reina, whose slight touch
deflected the ball up on to the bar and then Carragher
cleared from the lurking Drogba two yards out.
The win moved Liverpool into ninth, the first time they have
been in the top half since the opening weekend of the
season, after three successive Premier League victories.
They are still not in a position to challenge Chelsea at the
top of the table - where they still have a two-point lead
over Manchester United - but they proved, on their day and
with Torres on form, they remain a match for any side.
It seems a corner has now been turned in Hodgson's reign,
and with matches to come against Wigan, Stoke and West Ham
there is a real chance for them to restore some of the
damage done by their poor start to the season.