Torres and Benayoun celebrate vs Hull. (Photo: PA)
Fernando Torres earns comparison
with Liverpool FC legend Roger Hunt
Comment by John Thompson - Liverpool Echo
There's a word beginning with T which
always crops up after every Liverpool game these days –
good, bad or indifferent.
As soon as the points are registered, lost or shared,
there’s a weekly rush of indecent haste to compute the facts
and reach a definitive conclusion on what the day’s drama
means for Liverpool’s ‘title’ hopes.
The results of this regular investigation can have Liverpool
installed as sudden favourites, whispered as dark horses,
dismissed as also-rans or mocked as deluded fools, blinded
by their own cravings from the harsh reality of no-hope.
This premature prescience has nowadays become as futile as
it is regular.
And there’s another T word for this turgid, weekly
over-analysis of all things Anfield.
Because whatever happened to rolling up to a football match
for a few hours with your pals and just enjoying the action,
appreciating the stuff on show?
You know, the days when you could return home or fall into
the pub without a sense that some jury has just delivered a
major verdict in a serious court case affecting a relative?
Cue another T word – thankfully the only one that was being
spoken at the weekend.
Barry Horne, Football ECHO columnist, former international
captain and as feisty an Evertonian as they come, is also an
astute and fair-minded TV football pundit.
Co-commenting on Sky’s Football First re-run of the action,
he hailed the made-in-heaven Spaniard as a ‘genius’ as he
spoke over a replay of Torres’ sublime second goal.
It was a strike more likely to be seen in a city park than
on a Premier League football pitch in so many ways; evidence
of one young player so much better than the ordinary lads
around him, that he just danced and waltzed the ball between
the posts leaving his opponents looking utterly bow-legged
In the Press box at Anfield, another ECHO columnist and club
legend, Tommy Smith, raised his eyebrows and gave an
understated shake of his head.
Smithy isn’t given to high praise. Not for anyone.
A brilliant, world class player is, in his esteem, just a
A really good international star is merely ‘half decent’.
But Smithy was, for once, lost for words as he watched
Torres. Except perhaps two.
‘Roger Hunt’, the Anfield Iron proclaimed with sureness in
‘He’s so like Roger’ in the way…. it’s just bang, the ball
is in the net in a flash.
“He so reminds me of Roger.’
Others will have brought the watching Kenny Dalglish to mind
as Torres began dribbling around the six yard box, teasing
his prey at the moment of its slaughter with his sheer
confidence and ability.
With 33 goals in 34 Anfield games, and many more statistical
indicators of that ilk, Torres is well capable of ending up
alongside Hunt, Keegan, Dalglish, Rush and Fowler in
Anfield’s striking Hall of Fame.
He is a truly wonderful footballer – and in Rafael Benitez
as his manager and Liverpool as his club, undoubtedly in the
right place to become an even more complete player, to
continue his rise to world super-stardom and ultimate
legendary status at Anfield.
Torres fits Liverpool.
And Liverpool fit Torres. As anyone who has read his
proclamations of love for the city and who understands his
character and his strength of character, will surely
But to hell with such analysis.
This was a Saturday afternoon which will live long in the
memory of the fans who were there to witness the sublime
talents and unstoppable power of one of the most gifted
players ever to wear the red of Liverpool.
And that includes the terrific Hull City supporters, who for
all their shattering dreams, rose to a man and roundly
applauded Torres off too after his stunning hat-trick.
Like the Kop, they knew they were witnessing something very
special – and were big enough to show it.
So thanks to Torres and of course an impressive supporting
cast of others, a Saturday afternoon in the weakening
September sunshine ended with warm smiles for every
It also left sports journalists the length and breadth of
England – with just one T word their lips this time.
One that thankfully brought beaming smiles to the faces of
the faithful, rather than a furrow to the brow.
lauds team effort
By Richard Bailey - Sky Sports
Fernando Torres insists the 6-1 win over
Hull City was a team effort despite the Spaniard helping
The 26-year-old added to his two goals against West Ham last
week by producing another match winning display against the
Tigers at Anfield on Saturday.
The former Atletico Madrid man now has eight for the season
after some had suggested he was struggling for form just a
few weeks ago.
Torres almost single-handedly took the Tigers backline apart
as he fired the Reds into a 3-1 lead but the striker accepts
that the whole team played a part.
"When you score a hat-trick it is always an amazing day and
when the team scores six it is fantastic for us and we have
more confidence now," he said.
"I did my work and this is a team game and players deserve
to play. Ryan Babel came on and scored two.
"It is important to win and score goals but three was more
than enough for me."
The result was Liverpool's sixth straight win and sets up
next week's crunch clash with Chelsea perfectly, but Torres
believes the Merseysiders can still improve.
"We have to keep going as we are still not at our best," he
"We have a very hard game against Chelsea next weekend but
we are in a fantastic position and we could be on the same
points as them if we win that game."
Brown rips into
Hull City boss Phil Brown labelled his
team's defending as 'disgusting' following the 6-1 thrashing
at title contenders Liverpool.
Brown is reportedly under pressure following a disappointing
run of form which has left his side second from bottom in
the Premier League.
On the back of a 4-0 home defeat by Everton in the Carling
Cup in midweek, the Tigers were not expected to enjoy a
positive result against the Toffees' Merseyside rivals.
However, Geovanni briefly gave the travelling support
something to cheer when the Brazilian cancelled out Fernando
Torres' early opener.
But Torres went on to complete his hat-trick and Ryan Babel
also added two late goals after Steven Gerrard had scored
Brown was bitterly disappointed with the result and was
unhappy with the attitude displayed by some of his players
"I was disgusted with some of the defending, individually
and collectively," said Brown.
"For me it was demoralising and I hope it was for the
players as well.
"People will say Torres was the difference between the two
sides, but I thought we gifted them the goals.
"To come out in the second half and throw away a third goal
and give up our position was disgusting.
"That killed us off and one or two towels went in after
that, which is bitterly disappointing from my point of view.
"It is going to have to be uncomfortable for one or two this
week - myself included - because there is a little bit of
pain flying around at the moment and it is all coming my
Benitez: Torres can get better
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes
Fernando Torres has yet to reach his peak despite witnessing
a brilliant hat-trick in the 6-1 demolition of Hull at
The Spain striker hit three goals in the opening 47 minutes
- after Geovanni had briefly equalised - and terrorised the
Tigers defence all afternoon.
Steven Gerrard added the fourth on the hour before Ryan
Babel hit two late on but the day belonged to Torres, who
has now scored eight in seven matches and an incredible 33
in 34 matches at Anfield.
"In the last three games he was really good, he is improving
his mentality, work-rate and movement and he is now showing
his ability but I think he can do it better," said the
"The main thing is the mentality of the player. He is keen
to learn and he will improve but how much depends on him."
Benitez said he was always confident the 25-year-old would
become one of the world's greatest strikers after bringing
him to Anfield from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2007.
"If you think about the money we were spending on players we
then decided to spend £20million on Torres - that was a
massive figure for us," admitted the Spaniard.
"We decided to bring him here because of his quality but
also his potential and the future he had.
"We had a lot of confidence he would get better and we are
pleased now but he can improve."
Benitez did not go so far as to class today as a perfect
performance - they conceded a goal - but he was impressed by
the attitude of his players even when the game was won
midway through the second half.
"The first goal was important but after we conceded I
thought our second goal made a big difference," he added.
"The team was playing with confidence, creating a lot of
chances and at the end of the game we could change players
and think about the next game.
"Six goals is fantastic but it could have been even better
because we had more chances at the end.
"The positive thing was the mentality of the team going
forward, trying to win the game and still trying to score
Rampant Reds hit Hull for six
Liverpool thumped Hull City 6-1 at Anfield
to pile the pressure on Tigers boss Phil Brown with Fernando
Torres helping himself to a hat-trick.
The Reds were in superb form as Torres brought his season's
tally to eight goals with substitute Ryan Babel netting two
and Steven Gerrard grabbing a sublime effort with Geovanni's
strike bringing Hull back into the game at 1-1 in the
Torres gave the Hull defence a day to forget with an
electrifying performance before being substituted midway
through the second half.
Gerrard added a fourth just before the hour mark with a
superb curling effort from wide on the left and Babel added
two late strikes to set Liverpool up nicely for their
midweek Champions League trip to Fiorentina.
The day belonged to Torres, who took his tally for the
season to eight in seven matches and an incredible 33 in 34
matches at Anfield. This was also his fourth Liverpool
hat-trick and the third he has scored in the Premier League.
The writing was on the wall for Hull, who have not won in
their last nine away matches, from the 11th minute when
Liverpool took the lead with a neat passing move and a
clinical finish from Torres.
Dirk Kuyt and left-back Emiliano Insua combined to allow
Albert Riera to cross to the near post where Torres shimmied
past Ibrahima Sonko to coolly fire past Boaz Myhill.
This season Liverpool have leaked goals through defensive
mistakes and another one cost them just four minutes later
when Martin Skrtel's weak header dropped to Geovanni eight
yards out and he volleyed home the equaliser.
The goal unsettled home side but Lucas should have done
better in the 23rd minute when he tamely side-footed Insua's
cross straight at Myhill from 15 yards.
But if there is one Liverpool player you can rely on to hit
the target it is Torres and his individual brilliance put
his side ahead again in the 28th minute.
Yossi Benayoun's incisive through-ball picked out the
Spaniard's run into the penalty area but there was still
plenty of work to do.
Torres cut back inside, beating Sonko, Myhill and then
18-year-old debutant Liam Cooper to poke home from close
Frailties were still apparent at the back, however, and
twice Riera gave the ball away 10 yards outside his own
penalty area only to be saved by Jamie Carragher and poor
shooting from Kamil Ghilas.
Two minutes into the second half Torres scored his third,
again with an assist from Benayoun. He raced into the
inside-right channel and, with everyone in the ground
expecting him to shoot right-footed, he turned inside Sonko
and fired through Paul McShane's legs and into the far
Torres continued to terrorise the Hull defence and was only
inches over the crossbar with a looping 58th-minute header
from Skrtel's cross.
On the hour Gerrard, who had been quiet by his standards,
added a fourth when he curled a shot into the far corner
from wide on the left wing after his original corner had
only been half-cleared to Insua.
Hull then seemed to self-destruct with McShane, who had been
having a running disagreement with Riera all afternoon,
lucky not to be sent off after being booked for a clash with
Carragher and then appearing to show dissent to referee
With a Champions League clash away to Fiorentina on Tuesday,
Torres departed to a standing ovation in the 68th minute as
he was replaced by Babel with Gerrard following soon after.
By then the hard work had been done, although Babel had a
point to prove and added a fifth by turning in Kuyt's
right-wing cross late on.
The Dutchman scored a fortunate second in injury time when
he deflected Riera's shot over Myhill.
But even the former Ajax forward would admit he is not in
the class of Torres, who once again showed how intrinsically
linked he is to Liverpool's ambitions.