Blackburn's David Dunn has poured praise
on Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt - and claims he is as much
responsible for their title bid as anyone.
With injury concerns consigning Steven Gerrard to the bench,
Kuyt partnered Fernando Torres in attack for Saturday's
visit of the Lancastrians.
And while the Dutchman was not among the goalscorers in a
4-0 romp for the Anfield outfit, his performance earned the
plaudits of the opposition.
"Torres is such a big threat, with his running in behind
you," Dunn told the Liverpool Daily Post. "Obviously as a
team we knew that and dropped deeper. He makes those runs
and is such a handful.
"But Dirk Kuyt, in my opinion, is just as important. He is
such an unselfish player and gives just as much to the side.
He plays a number of positions, works his socks off for the
team and never stops running.
"He's very, very good but maybe doesn't always get as much
credit as he deserves."
Torres set Liverpool on their way with two goals before the
interval, the first of which was a genuine goal of the
The Spaniard has started only 15 of 32 league games this
season but has now netted 11 goals in that time.
And while Dunn is convinced the availability of Torres for
longer periods would have enhanced Liverpool's title
chances, he believes every challenger is affected by
injuries to key members.
"I'm sure they would have got a lot more points if he hadn't
been injured for parts of the season, without a shadow of a
doubt," he added. "He's a top, top player.
"I know what people will say, but I'm not sure it would have
made a difference in where the title ends up though. United
have had their injury problems, likewise Chelsea, and over
the season I think that balances out. The best team will win
the league over the whole course of things."
Of the game, Dunn added: "We set our stall out, but weren't
great. Take nothing away from Liverpool, they're a top side,
and that's why they are where they are in the league and
still in cup competitions. But it was disappointing.
"It's not nice to get beaten by four, whoever you're
playing, and we are all unhappy at the scoreline."
world's best striker
By Paul Hassal l- Setanta Sports
Yossi Benayoun hailed Fernando Torres as
the best striker in the world after the Spaniard hit a
magnificent double in the 4-0 victory over Blackburn on
The Israeli was left searching for superlatives after El
Nino inspired the Reds to a morale-boosting triumph with a
brace that included a stunning volley that could well be a
goal of the season contender.
"That's what you get with Torres," he told Liverpoolfc.tv.
"He is always a threat. He is the best striker in the world.
The goals that he scores are just unbelievable. Look at the
first one today. It was incredible. He makes it look so
simple too. It's always easier for us as a team when he is
The win saw Liverpool briefly return to the summit prior to
Manchester United's narrow win at Sunderland and Benayoun
admits it was important the Reds reacted positively after
their shock Champions League defeat against Chelsea on
"It was important that we responded after the disappointment
of the Chelsea defeat," he said.
"We have to give everything in the Premier League and keep
fighting to the end. We must keep winning to put pressure on
Man United. Hopefully it will be enough to see us win the
"The win has restored our confidence and that was important.
We know it will be very difficult on Tuesday at Chelsea. We
will look to give 100 per cent and try our best and then see
what happens. You never know in football - anything can
Prior to kick off Anfield fell silent to mark the upcoming
20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and Benayoun
was pleased the Reds were able to cap the afternoon with the
"It is very sad and we will all attend the service on
Wednesday and pay our respects," he said. "We have to make
sure something like that never happens again.
"The crowd were amazing today and hopefully we gave them
something to cheer at a difficult time."
Sam blames fear factor
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce felt his side
were running scared at times as they slumped to a 4-0 defeat
against Liverpool at Anfield.
Fernando Torres' first-half brace coupled with late goals
from Daniel Agger and David N'Gog secured a comfortable
victory for the home side.
Rovers, who remain in relegation danger, were forced to
field centre-back Chris Samba in a lone striker's role but
rarely threatened with Pepe Reina having little to do
throughout the match.
Allardyce admitted Liverpool's midweek defensive frailties
against Chelsea persuaded him to turn to Samba but conceded
his team failed to support their improvised, but towering,
He said: "I had watched how Didier Drogba had caused them so
much trouble in midweek and decided to use Christopher Samba
in that role.
"Obviously he is not that quality of player, but it was the
same idea. The problem was that we did not support him at
all and allowed Liverpool to pick up possession.
"We did not compete enough and they were deserved winners.
Samba did OK but he had no help.
"Maybe a bit of fear crept into our lads. It is hard to come
to Anfield with several top players out and get anything."
Allardyce insists the Reds are serious contenders for the
Premier League crown even though Manchester United remain
He added: "They are certainly capable of winning the title,
even if Manchester United have a game in hand.
"If Liverpool keep playing like that and continue with that
pace and confidence, it is possible they can win it.
"There will be a lot of twists and turns yet and they
certainly believe they can do it."
with Reds' response
Fernando Torres believes Liverpool's 4-0
thrashing of Blackburn was the perfect response to the
midweek Champions League defeat to Chelsea.
The Reds went above Manchester United in the Premier League
table with a convincing victory, which Torres, who scored
twice at Anfield, says will give them confidence going into
next week's quarter-final second leg.
"It was a great result coming after the game against
Chelsea," Torres told Sky Sports. "The last game wasn't good
but we've done our job.
"We have confidence after this result to go to Stamford
Bridge on Tuesday."
Torres' first goal was a contender for goal of the season,
the Spaniard controlling a long ball on his chest before
swivelling to hook a fierce strike into the far corner.
"Sometimes you try to score like this but normally the ball
goes out," he added. "But this one went in. It was a good
By Jimmy Rice - LFC Official Website
Rafa Benitez labelled his side's 4-0
thrashing of Blackburn 'the perfect response' to their
midweek defeat to Chelsea.
The whole country was waiting to see if Liverpool could pick
themselves up from their Champions League disappointment -
and they responded in style thanks to goals from Fernando
Torres (2), Daniel Agger and David Ngog.
Benitez told his post-match press conference: "To play a
good game, score goals and not concede - it was the perfect
response by the players.
"It could have been even better because we had really clear
chances, but I'm really pleased.
"You always need your key players and Fernando was very
important here - the first goals opened the game."
The result elevated Liverpool above Manchester United ahead
of their game in Sunderland.
Benitez added: "Clearly they are under pressure. Alex
Ferguson is always talking, which shows they are under
pressure. I know he's nervous, so it's good."
Torres' second goal came from a set piece. Asked if the
failure of Blackburn's man marking was the ideal riposte to
critics of zonal defending, Benitez added: "The statistics
can be presented in many ways but I think they (Blackburn)
have conceded 10 from set pieces with man to man. For us, it
(zonal marking) has been good for the last five years."
Benitez admitted his delight after his side added two late
goals to increase Liverpool's superior goal difference.
"Hopefully it will be vital," he said. "We were trying to
score goals because we know anything can happen."
Liverpool did not have to use skipper Steven Gerrard, who
was named on the bench after his adductor injury.
On whether he will be fit for Tuesday's trip to Stamford
Bridge, Benitez added: "The risk was there but he's got more
chances now. The physio will work with him, so hopefully
he'll be there."
Torres keeps Reds
rolling as Anfield remembers
By Tom Adams - Setanta Sports
A day that begun tinged with sadness ended
in elation at Anfield as Fernando Torres inspired The Reds
to a 4-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers that saw Rafa
Benitez’s side briefly reclaim top spot in The Premier
The 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy was marked
by a minute’s silence and a touching moment prior to kick
off as former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock presented a
wreath depicting the number 96 to The Kop, ensuring that
those who lost their lives were once again remembered in
With respects paid and missing friends and family mourned,
it then took Torres only five minutes to cast aside the
disappointment of the Champions League defeat to Chelsea in
midweek when scoring a glorious opener after five minutes
that will surely be a goal of the season contender, with the
Spanish striker duly adding a second with a fine header
before half time.
Sam Allardyce’s imaginative use of Christopher Samba as an
emergency striker failed completely – somewhat undermining
the claim that he is a ‘major tactician’ made as he aimed a
verbal barb at Benitez earlier in the week – as Liverpool’s
all-round excellence afforded the defender little chance to
carry out his manager’s instructions to ‘do a Drogba’.
Instead it was another defender with an eye for goal who
helped draw proceedings to a close as Daniel Agger unleashed
an unstoppable effort from 20 yards that recalled his
brilliant effort against West Ham in only his eighth game
for the club. David Ngog soon piled on the pain by adding a
fourth in the final minute.
Such was Liverpool’s comfort they were able to leave captain
Steven Gerrard on the bench following his injury against
Chelsea and, after a mis-match that Jamie Carragher had
described as the biggest league game of his lengthy career,
The Reds proudly stood two points clear at the top before
United's win over Sunderland
Football often throws up stories of drama, intrigue and, as
Liverpool sadly know only too well, tragedy, but there is
always room for a little comic relief and that came in the
shape of Samba who dragged his sizeable frame to the sharp
end of Allardyce’s attack, with Benni McCarthy presumably
perplexed as he was left on the bench.
But for all of the curiosity surrounding Samba’s inclusion
it was a more natural striking talent – and perhaps the
finest on the globe – who opened the scoring after only five
minutes with a strike of such sublime beauty that it even
surpassed Emmanuel Adebayor’s effort in midweek.
Inevitably it was the mercurial Torres who produced the
moment of magic. After controlling a long ball from Jamie
Carragher perfectly with his chest, the Spain international
then let the ball bounce just inside the box before lifting
a stunning volley back across goal, over Paul Robinson and
into the far corner of the net.
Comparisons with Marco van Basten’s remarkable effort from
the 1988 European Champions will be as inevitable as they
are deserved. It was that good.
The raucous celebrations at Anfield seemed to signal the
lifting of the depression that enveloped the ground on
Wednesday night and, no doubt inspired by the strike,
Liverpool looked a side reinvigorated as they took complete
control of the game.
With Torres prowling ominously up front and Emiliano Insua,
in particular, bursting forward with real verve, Liverpool
could have enjoyed an even greater advantage but the home
side were soon guilty of two horrendous misses.
Torres, surprisingly, was the first guilty party as he
somehow lashed the ball over from eight yards after Paul
Robinson had parried a curling effort from Javier
Mascherano. The Argentinian midfielder could earlier have
gone down under a challenge from Gael Givet when racing onto
Dirk Kuyt’s pass but admirably stayed on his feet to have
Kuyt, unsurprisingly, was at fault on the second occasion as
a flowing move that resulted in Insua delivering a wicked
cross from the left was ruined by the Dutchman as he
criminally headed straight at Robinson, who pulled off a
fine reflex save. Yossi Benayoun fared little better when
putting the rebound over.
But with Blackburn struggling to win any meaningful
possession whatsoever and Liverpool exhibiting the kind of
fluidity and endeavour that eluded them against Chelsea, it
was only a matter of time before goal number two.
Torres duly delivered on 33 minutes as he raced across the
box and beat Samba to a Xabi Alonso free-kick, directing a
fine header past the hapless Robinson. It was not in the
same bracket as his first effort but an accomplished finish
Allardyce’s struggle was underlined at half-time as he
replaced the woeful Aaron Mokoena with 17-year-old debutant
Aaron Doran, and Carlos Villanueva followed on 60 minutes as
he replaced David Dunn as Blackburn continued to look lost
in the game.
The Samba experiment was a failed one but Allardyce
persisted with it as his third substitution saw Tugay
replaced by Vince Grella, with Benni McCarthy still
sedentary despite his side failing to carve out any real
Torres was to be denied a hat-trick when Benitez, with
sterner tests ahead of his side, adopted a cautious outlook
and removed his star striker with 16 minutes remaining.
Liverpool’s standards inevitably slipped in the second half
and on 77 minutes the moment Samba had been waiting for all
game arrived as he found space in the Liverpool box and the
ball at his feet.
Unfortunately, the auxiliary striker failed to get the goal
that could have sparked a tactical revolution in The Premier
League, his lack of balance and snatched finish ensuring
that the likes of Richard Dunne and Michael Dawson are
unlikely to be pushed on by their respective managers any
Torres’s replacement Nabil El Zhar injected some energy into
the contest following his arrival and one incisive run into
the Blackburn box saw him lay the ball off to Mascherano who
drove a fierce effort against Robinson.
The former Tottenham keeper was beaten for a third time on
82 minutes though as Agger was afforded time and space to
drive forward from the back and duly punished Rovers with a
superb strike from 20 yards that flew past Robinson and into
the top corner.
Ngog completed the rout after 90 minutes when he bundled the
ball home from close range after Lucas head down Carragher’s
fine swinging cross.
‘We’re gonna win the league’ rang out around Anfield during
the closing minutes and whilst that particular scenario
still depends on Manchester United’s performances in the
final games of the season, Saturday’s result means it is
still entirely possible that in a year that holds such
significance for the club, Liverpool may yet be crowned
champions for the first time in 19 years.