Fernando Torres - he's the man. (Photo: AFP)
the Reds go it alone
By Nick Peet - Liverpool Echo
While Sylvain Distin was still wrestling
with his demons after calamitously handing Liverpool maximum
points on Saturday the goading cheers of the fans raised the
However, despite going 2-0 up inside the first 15 minutes
against one of the best away sides in the Premiership, it
wasn’t the home fans who turned up the volume inside
“Can you hear the Scousers Sing?” bellowed the Pompey
faithful, before they burst into a rendition of: “Two nil
and you still don’t sing!”
And they were embarrassingly spot on.
Anfield on Saturday was as solemn as a morgue.
When the small pocket of visiting fans on the Anfield Road
stopped to catch their breath, you could hear a pin drop –
and every word out of Jamie Carragher’s mouth!
This was the first 3.00pm Saturday kick-off at home for the
Reds in three months – and judging by Saturday’s poor
display from the terraces, the players will be hoping that
it’s at least another three before the next one.
Do the players need to walk out under the floodlights to the
sound of the Champions League anthem these days to get any
real backing from Liverpool fans?
It wasn’t until the third goal went in that we heard
anything resembling a song from the Kop choir – who must
have all been nursing hangovers from night’s out after most
people finished work on Friday afternoon.
With at least two-thirds of that stand being season ticket
holders, too, there really is no excuse.
It’s too easy to blame the day-trippers from Scandinavia and
Whatever the Blue side of the city may jest, the heartbeat
of Liverpool Football Club is still local fans – and it’s
they who lost their voices against Pompey.
The Reds were two up before Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp
had even had the chance to moan at the fourth official, yet
the fans failed to respond.
Portsmouth, remember, were on a run of seven away wins prior
to Saturday’s kick-off.
Redknapp has put together a tasty little side with genuine
European ambitions this season, while the Reds entered the
game on the back of two title-pinching league defeats, and
being knocked out of the Carling Cup.
This was a massive game for Rafa Benitez’s side, yet they
were left to do it alone as the winter chill set firm with
Liverpool’s incredible 12th man has been cherished and
caressed by the world’s media over the years, and rightfully
so after countless occasions when the Red army has
reaffirmed the club’s claims to home the best fans on the
But, on Saturday, the 12th man, like Harry Kewell in the
second half, went missing.
Fernando Torres so special -
a talent poised to be legend
By Nick Peet - Liverpool Echo
It's been written before and will be
again, but when watching Fernando Torres run at defenders in
his red number nine shirt you know you are seeing
‘El Nino’ is truly world class and if Liverpool are to get
anywhere near the title this season it’s the young Spaniard
and not just the club skipper who will orchestrate the
He’s got everything; pace, skill, strength, guile, tenacity
and, perhaps above all else, that uncanny ability to be in
the right place at the right time when it matters most.
The rest of European football’s big clubs must be kicking
themselves for not gambling on the youngster, whose genuine
predatory skills were questioned for years.
Pompey boss Harry Redknapp is certainly not the first
visiting coach to bow down to the talents of the striker
already this season – and, needless to say, he won’t be the
“He’s a special talent isn’t he,” conceded the Pompey boss,
after watching his side being brushed aside by Torres and
his team-mates at Anfield. “He’s a top player.”
Liverpool has a wonderful tradition of being home to some of
the finest goalscorers of their generation.
And it’s already quite clear the Fernando Torres will stand
shoulder to shoulder with them all.
Yossi nets a
By Paul Hassall - LFC Official Website
Yossi Benayoun is confident Liverpool can
sustain a serious challenge for the Premier League title
after they got back to winning ways with an emphatic victory
over Portsmouth on Saturday.
The Israeli, who opened the scoring with a crisp volley from
the edge of the penalty area, feels the 4-1 success over
Harry Redknapp's side is the perfect boost ahead of a busy
period of fixtures and admits it was vital for the Reds to
bounce back following defeats against Manchester United and
"We played a great game against a strong rival in Portsmouth
and it was an important win for us after we lost to Man
United," he told Liverpoolfc.tv.
"It was good to get back to winning ways and to prove that
we can still go to the end of the season. So overall I think
it was a good performance for us."
The midfield playmaker admits he was delighted to net what
was his sixth goal of the season, but while he was happy to
get his name on the scoresheet, he insists that his main aim
is to keep working hard for his team and help Liverpool
close the gap on the league's pacesetters.
"It was nice to score and the goal was a bonus," he said.
"But it's not the main thing for me. The main thing is to
keep playing and try to do my best for the team so that we
"I enjoyed the goal and I caught it well but I'd have to
give credit to Harry Kewell because he delivered a great
cross from the left to pick me out. It gave us the start we
needed and we went on from there."
The win was the perfect end to a week that saw the Reds
drawn to face Italian giants Inter Milan in the last 16 of
this season's Champions League. Benayoun accepts it will be
a difficult test for Liverpool but believes it was always
going to be tough at this stage, and is relishing the
prospect of taking on Roberto Mancini's side.
"Any of the teams we could have drawn would have been
difficult because all of those sides finished first in their
group," he said.
"So we knew it would be a difficult game. Inter are a very
good side, a very strong team and they have been the best
team in Italy for the past two years. But we have a lot of
confidence that we can progress and a lot of time to prepare
for the game, so we will look forward to it."
By Mark Doyle - LFC Official Website
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was full of
praise for Fernando Torres after the striker played a key
role in the team’s impressive 4-1 rout of Portsmouth
Morale in the Liverpool camp was low after successive
defeats in the league but it did not show at Anfield, where
the home side ran out easy winners after an inspired
performance from Torres, who scored twice and also had a
hand in Yossi Benayoun’s opener and the own goal from
"It was a great performance from the team, especially in the
first half,” Benitez enthused afterwards.
”We looked good and created a lot of chances. But then we
got a little bit nervous against a team with a very good
"Torres, though, is always a threat. Not only that he makes
room for our other players.
"He has a good mentality and experience. He uses his ability
and pace to hurt defenders.
"When you have a team like ours behind you it is easy for
someone like him to get chances."
However, while Benitez was thrilled with his side’s display,
he stopped short of saying Liverpool were now back in the
hunt for a first championship success since 1990.
"It is too early to talk about the title or whether we will
be in the top four,” the Spaniard stated.
"There are a number of sides around that mark, who are
playing well, so you cannot say who are going to be
Harry: That's the way it goes
By Peter Fraser - Sky Sports
Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp admits
he suspected his side's Premier League winning away run
could come to an end against Liverpool.
Redknapp saw his side, who had recorded six consecutive away
league victories prior to kick-off, slump to a 4-1 defeat at
Anfield as an early Yossi Benayoun strike and a Sylvain
Distin own goal were followed by a second half brace from
Benjani Mwaruwari pulled one back for Pompey at 2-1, but
Liverpool cruised to victory and Redknapp accepts that his
side's run had to eventually come to an end.
"If it was going to end anywhere there is always a
possibility it could have ended at Liverpool that's for
sure," Redknapp told Sky Sports News.
"They are a terrific side, but we didn't start well and got
sloppy and were punished.
"We came back when we got the goal at half-time and I
thought that there might be something in the game for us
because Liverpool had gone off the boil.
"But, it has been a great run. Six consecutive away wins,
but this is a difficult place to win.
"That's how it goes. The four games against the big four are
almost bonus games. If you can pick up results in those
games you take that."
Liverpool overpower Pompey
By Mark Doyle - Setanta Sports
Fernando Torres helped himself to a brace of
goals as Liverpool returned to winning ways in the
Premiership by defeating Portsmouth 4-1 at Anfield.
The Reds raced into a two-goal lead after just 16 minutes,
with Yossi Benayoun volleying home the first and the unlucky
Sylvain Distin deflecting an attempted clearance from Sol
Campbell into his own goal.
Portsmouth got themselves right back into the game when
Benjani Mwaruwari drilled home his ninth league goal of the
season shortly after half time, but Torres replied for the
home side when he slotted home in characteristically
confident fashion in the 67th minute.
Torres struck again with five minutes to go to put the seal
on a badly-needed win for Liverpool after tucking away
Steven Gerrard’s knockdown.
Going into the game on the back of two successive defeats,
victory was imperative for Liverpool and their faltering
Portsmouth, who had won their previous six away games, were
never going to simply allow to their hosts to have it all
their own way, though, and Harry Redknapp’s men began
confidently, forcing a corner inside the first two minutes.
However, with Torres very much to the fore, Liverpool
gradually took control and Harry Kewell went close with a
well-struck drive which flashed just wide of David James’
left post in the eighth minute.
Liverpool should have went in front moments later when
Torres broke into the box after playing a clever one-two
with Benayoun on the right.
The Spaniard pulled the ball back expertly for his strike
partner Dirk Kuyt but even though the Dutchman got his shot
away, Johnson managed to get a block in and deflect it out
for a corner.
Pompey were struggling and the breakthrough that Liverpool
were threatening arrived in the 13th minute.
Torres streaked clear down the left wing and even though the
number nine's progress was cut short, Kewell was on hand to
pick up the loose ball and float an inviting cross into the
box which was volleyed past James in impressive fashion by
It was harsh on Pompey because they were temporarily down to
ten men at the time, with Johnson still receiving treatment
after injuring himself whilst making his earlier goal-saving
challenge. But worse was to follow for the visitors barely
three minutes later.
The impressive Javier Mascherano released Kuyt with a superb
pass from the centre of the park and the Dutchman
immediately slid in Torres. The Spaniard tried to turn
Campbell but the Englishman managed to nick the ball off.
Unfortunately for the Portsmouth centre-half, his clearance
struck Distin, ricocheting into the bottom corner of the
Pompey goal past a helpless James.
The goal was extremely fortuitous but it did highlight
Pompey’s inability to deal with the movement of Liverpool’s
Steven Gerrard was by no means his usual effervescent self
in the first half, being largely outshone by Mascherano, but
he did produce a decent long-range drive midway through the
first half which had James scrambling across his goal.
Portsmouth did become increasingly effective at curbing
Liverpool’s attacking threat but they were offering little
Indeed, the game had become a bit stale when Benayoun
interrupted the tedium just ten minutes before the interval
when he cut into the box on the right-hand side and skipped
past Distin. However, the Israel’s left-footed strike ended
up in the side netting.
Portsmouth looked far livelier after the restart, with the
introduction of Kanu undoubtedly aiding their cause. It was
hardly suprising then when Pompey pulled a goal back in the
57th minute thanks largely to a sublime pass from the lanky
Kanu received possession just on the edge of the box on the
left-hand-side, turned and then picked out the unmarked
Benjani with a beautifully-weighted cross.
Benjani controlled expertly before cutting inside the
scrambling John Arne Riise and driving the ball low past
Reina with his left foot.
Suddenly, it was game on but Liverpool responded positively,
with Hyppia forcing James into an unconvincing save after
getting his head on a Gerrard free-kick from the right.
Kewell very nearly found the net with a powerfully-struck,
long-range effort in the 66th minute and then, just seconds
later, The Reds restored their two two-goal lead.
Mascherano was again heavily involved, the diminutive
Argentine playing substitute Ryan Babel in on goal with yet
another fine pass and, even though James was alert to the
danger and managed to clear, the ball only went as far as
Torres, who passed the ball coolly and calmly into the
bottom right corner of the net.
Torres’ strike signalled the end of Portsmouth’s attempted
comeback and he quickly struck again with five minutes to
Jamie Carragher picked out Gerrard with a smart cross-field
ball and the England midfielder directed his guided his
header intelligently across the goal. Torres was first to it
and volleyed the ball with his weaker left foot into the
The ball took a slight deflection off Campbell on its way
but there was no doubting the identity of the goalscorer or
indeed the indeed the identity of the most dangerous
attacking player on the pitch.
Torres did not get the chance to pursue a hat-trick, as he
was hauled off seconds later, but he exited to a rousing
reception on what, after the disappointment of last
weekend’s defeat at home to Manchester United, was a hugely
satisfactory day for both him and his Liverpool team.