Torres back on the scoresheet.
could be Benitez’s year
Comment by Mark Lawrenson - Liverpool Daily Post
Whisper it softly, but Liverpool are
showing signs of putting together a genuine title challenge.
And it may be that manager Rafael Benitez is prepared to
gamble more on Premier League success this year than in the
He is putting out his most attacking teams since arriving
perhaps in the realisation that it is no use drawing games
if you want to finish as champions.
Last season Liverpool drew 13 matches compared with just
seven by table-topping Manchester United, who lost one game
more. But turning a couple of those draws into wins – even
at the risk of losing the odd game more – would make all the
There is still a worry teams like United and Chelsea have
more potential match-winners, which is why Steven Gerrard
and Fernando Torres may need to be wrapped in cotton wool.
But if they stay injury free, Liverpool are in as good a
position as they have been for some time.
Playing Xabi Alonso at Goodison Park was not a negative
move. He is not a holding midfielder.
He does a different kind of job and has a good passing game.
Steven Gerrard was disciplined against Everton and in
Torres, Kuyt, Keane, Babel and Riera, Benitez has a many
In the past Benitez has always played that extra defensive
player, but that is not the case this season.
The trick will be settling on a wide player and giving them
a run of games.
Results breed confidence, there is good competition for
places at Anfield and Liverpool will be looking to keep the
Benitez has had the chance over the past two seasons to
bring in the kind of players he wants, get rid of those he
doesn’t and has had enough money to build a team capable of
challenging for the title. For many people, this is his
Torres: My derby debt
to Dirk and Robbie
By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website
Fernando Torres today hailed unsung derby
heroes Robbie Keane and Dirk Kuyt for providing him with the
chances to bury Everton at Goodison Park.
The Spanish striker was the toast of the red half of
Merseyside after his second half double, but he insists his
team-mates deserve as much of the recognition after the Reds
continued their excellent start to the season with a well
"It is very simple – without Robbie and Dirk, the goals I
scored would not have been created," he said.
"They were involved in both goals and it is because they
give everything for the team that I was able to score them.
"If you look at my first goal, the ball that Robbie crossed
in was perfect and so was the run by Dirk which took the
Everton defenders away and gave me a clear chance.
"It is always nice to score, but without my team mates it
would not have been possible.
"It is not always easy to form a new partnership but we are
working hard in training all the time and it was good to see
that work pay off on Saturday. Robbie was very important for
our victory and I am sure that very soon it will be him who
is getting the goals because he is a great player.
"Once he gets his first goal even more will follow because
sometimes you just need to relieve the pressure with one
"I have not been scoring for six games, which is too long
for a striker, but when I got one on Saturday the other one
followed almost straight away and that is often the way it
Torres admits he was delighted to end his mini barren spell
in front of goal with the decisive strikes on the day - but
he was more thrilled for everybody else connected with the
"I am so pleased for the staff, for the boss and for all the
players," he said. "But also for the workers in the
factories, the offices, the restaurants, the hotels and the
bars who want to win this game so much.
"I would like to dedicate my goals to them as thanks for
their support. I hope we made them happy by winning.
"When we win we win together – so this victory is shared
between all of us. It is not about one player."
Reds win was on the cards
from instant teams lined up
Comment by David Prentice - Liverpool Echo
Derbies were always different.
Because the potency of the adrenalin fuelled mixture which
drove the participants in these very singular fixtures meant
that superior technique and ability was usually worthless.
“It was like 90 minutes of frenetic lunacy at times,” Joe
Royle once observed. “We always said we could go out and
play for 20 minutes, settle down and then someone could
throw the ball on.”
But, like sideburns and Stylo matchmaker boots, that
attitude seems to have gone.
Don’t be fooled by another red card and six bookings on
Saturday. That’s a result of modern referees’ zero tolerance
Derbies of 20 and 30 years ago were infinitely more furious,
when artists like Duncan McKenzie and Steve McManaman were
suffocated in an atmosphere of frantic aggression.
Nowadays the team with the better players can flourish, and
Liverpool boast the better players.
The Reds have now emerged triumphant on seven of their last
nine visits to Goodison Park – a sobering statistic if your
affections lie with the Royal Blue half of the city.
Saturday’s seventh was a victory in the making from the
second the teams lined up.
Yakubu was an isolated and increasingly frustrated figure up
front, while behind him Everton retreated like building
society share prices.
Liverpool were granted an astonishing amount of possession
for a derby match; it was merely a matter of whether they
could convert that possession into a goal.
With class like Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard on show
the answer was always likely to be in the affirmative.
Everton used to take a perverse pride in getting in their
It was Royle again, who once quipped: “ A crisp packet blew
across the pitch and Joe Parkinson and Graham Stuart both
On Saturday Liverpool were allowed to dictate.
Throughout the entire 90 minutes Pepe Reina was not extended
once. True, Tim Howard wasn’t exactly flinging himself
around his goalmouth either, but in a mid-match purple patch
for the Reds he was actually beaten four times – only
Torres’ brace counting.
Everton’s only hope hinged on Tim Cahill getting a
connection at a set piece – he missed his kick in the 13th
minute – or Pepe Reina making a rare error. He flapped at a
Joleon Lescott cross and was spared by a combination of a
monumental Jamie Carragher block and a poor Mike Riley
The biggest worry for the Blues was the reaction to Torres’
second goal – the ground began to empty instantly.
Many of the Everton crowd had no stomach for a fight, no
defiance. Maybe they’d seen one derby day surrender too
many, but that reaction seemed to be mimicked on the pitch,
the effervescent Louis Saha excepted.
Something isn’t right at Everton at present. What’s that old
saying about a fish rotting from the head down?
It would be wrong to say that David Moyes’ contract deadlock
is affecting the players.
Footballers will always be wrapped up in their own
But it does appear to be affecting the manager. His
demeanour, his body language, his ability to inspire seems
to be lacking its previous urgency.
If finance is not the issue, and we are told Moyes has
ignored the best part of £300,000 by refusing to sign his
new deal, it appears there is something else irking his
Has the summer transfer debacle, which effectively caused
this fractured start to the season, upset his equilibrium?
Has the knowledge that he will never be able to compete
financially with the big four . . . and Manchester City,
Aston Villa, Tottenham and maybe even Sunderland, affected
his once fiercely ambitious drive?
We don’t know. Messages from inside the club, like they were
during the summer’s transfer window, are mixed. But
Everton’s mental resolve is certainly a cause for concern.
After Fiorentina flattened Goodison at the end of one of the
most vibrant evenings in recent L4 history, the players
found it impossible to pick themselves up for the rest of
It was the same when Dinamo Bucharest inflicted some hurtful
wounds a couple of seasons earlier.
And Standard Liege are well placed to ask Everton to go to
that mental well again this Thursday. How they respond to
that particular challenge will shape the rest of their
And Liverpool? They went top of the table for a couple of
hours on Saturday without reaching a peak level of
performance yet this season.
Their world class spine carried them through again at
Goodison; Carragher organising and repelling, Gerrard
cajoling and creating and Fernando Torres finishing.
It’s not just in his ability to score goals that the Reds
record signing resembles Kenny Dalglish. He’s even starting
to moan as much.
But Reds fans won’t mind the odd yellow card for dissent if
he continues to make the decisive difference in matches like
Liverpool approach a European challenge this week in good
Over Everton, however, storm clouds are gathering.
BBC Sport Online
Steven Gerrard has warned his Liverpool
team-mates not to get carried away with their strong start
to the season.
They are second in the Premier League after beating Everton
2-0, their best start in 12 years, but Gerrard is keeping
his feet on the ground.
Wednesday's Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven is
next and he said: "It's important to be humble and not get
carried away by the performance."
"But we set a standard (at Everton) we need to match week in
A Fernando Torres double proved the difference against
Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday and Gerrard was
delighted to see him back to his best.
Gerrard admitted he was relieved with the Spaniard's
impressive quickfire double, as the derby had been giving
him sleepless nights.
"You can't keep strikers with his talent down for long
because they aren't going to go long without a goal.
"It was only a matter of time. He was a bit frustrated
first-half, but then [Robbie] Keane's put one on a plate for
him and the second one was typical Torres.
"As a local lad these are the most difficult games to
prepare for. The nerves start the week before and you can't
wait for the game to come about, so the fear of losing these
games takes up a lot of energy beforehand."
Gerrard remains one short of his 100th Liverpool goal, but
he is confident it will come soon and is more concerned with
how the team is doing.
"We were winning games but stumbling early on in the season,
but I think the derby performance has set the standard now.
"We've got a big game on Wednesday and then another
important game against Manchester City, (and) if we can
continue that level then we will certainly be there or
thereabouts come the end of the season."
Torres: Title is in our sights
Liverpool have managed their best start to
a league campaign for 11 years - and Fernando Torres has
only just got his act together.
Captain Steven Gerrard believes the Spaniard is back to his
"deadly" best after Liverpool "made a statement of intent"
in the title race with their Merseyside derby victory.
The 2-0 win over a worried Everton side means Liverpool
remain unbeaten this term, with their neighbours struggling
to recapture anything approaching last term's form.
Torres has spent the opening weeks of the campaign shaking
off the effects of a summer which saw him win the European
Championship with Spain.
He has shown little of the form that produced 33 goals last
season, and even in his two-goal display against Everton he
was nowhere near his peak.
But now the striker believes he is about to launch into
overdrive as Liverpool go after the Barclays Premier League
Torres said: "It has been a difficult start for me this
season after a busy summer. But now I have got myself back
into form with these two, I hope to go on a run like last
season and maybe get more than the 33 I managed then.
"We know if we can stay near the top of the table in January
or February we can win the title.
"We must stay in the first three or four, and if we can keep
winning in the Champions League we can have a fantastic
"I have been working very hard and knew the goals would
hails derby victory
By Steve Hunter at Goodison - LFC Official Website
Rafael Benitez saluted the performance of
his players after a Fernando Torres brace inspired Liverpool
to a 2-0 win over Everton in the 208th Merseyside derby.
The Reds number nine scored on his derby debut at Anfield
last season and he was the hero again on his first
appearance at Goodison Park - but the Reds boss was keen to
stress the whole team deserved credit.
"It was a good performance by the team and Fernando was
really good," said Rafa. "We had a lot of players like
Keane, Gerrard and Kuyt who were doing a good job for the
team and the defenders, but I prefer to talk about the team
and how well we did today.
"With these type of games you have to play with passion and
also with game intelligence, so you need to use your brain
and also your muscles. We did both things really well.
"I thought we played really well against United and again
today. This was a very positive performance and the team was
well organised and we knew what to do.
"Clearly we have players who can change games like Fernando
with his goals and it gives the team confidence and it makes
it easier for us to play well and keep the ball. Torres is
always a threat for defenders."
Last season El Nino scored 33 goals in his debut season in
England and the striker believes he could beat that this
campaign. It is a view that he shares with his manager.
"I think it's positive he has confidence but I like to see
the team winning and if he scores 32 goals then I will be
pleased," added the boss.
Benitez also had words of encouragement for Robbie Keane who
played a major part in both Torres goals.
"Robbie was doing a good job for the team and played his
part in both of our goals," he added. " I think the team did
a really good job and each player did their job really well.
"We are level on points with Chelsea at the top of the table
and I am really pleased and I hope we can stay there for a
long time. We can talk about the next game with more
confidence. We have confidence and you can see the team is
playing well and has a good balance.
"We are strong in defence and we know we can create in
attack so that is very important. When you are playing well
we know we can beat anyone."
Liverpool striker Fernando Torres was on
target twice as the Reds beat 10-man Everton 2-0 in the
208th Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.
The Spain international had managed just one goal all season
before Saturday's match.
He got himself booked at Goodison Park, argued with referee
Mike Riley about the heavy-handed treatment he was getting
from Everton's defenders and then hit back where it hurts.
Torres volleyed home his first after 59 minutes and cracked
in the second three minutes later.
Everton have still to win at home this season and had Tim
Cahill sent-off with 10 minutes to go to cap a miserable day
for David Moyes' side.
The hosts had full-back Tony Hibbert back for the first time
this season after a knee ligament operation in the summer,
while midfielder Mikel Arteta had recovered from a virus to
Liverpool were without Javier Mascherano, with a calf
problem, and fielded the side that drew 0-0 with Stoke last
An interested observer in the directors' box was Standard
Liege boss Laszlo Boloni, who was preparing for this week's
UEFA Cup tie but also watching former player Marouane
Fellaini in his first derby.
The midfielder probably won his move to Goodison Park after
two excellent performances against Liverpool in the
Fellaini was first into referee Mike Riley's book after just
nine minutes for a foul on Alvaro Arbeloa.
Everton should have been ahead after 14 minutes when Cahill
failed to make a decent connection to Arteta's corner from
just six yards.
With Ayegbeni Yakubu up front and Arteta and Cahill
attacking from deep it meant Liverpool had the majority of
possession as Everton sat back and tried to hit them on the
It almost succeeded after 26 minutes when Joleon Lescott's
cross was dropped by Jose Reina under minimal pressure from
Fellaini, who spun to strike a fierce shot that Jamie
Carragher somehow blocked on the line.
But referee Riley had spotted an infringement and awarded a
Xabi Alonso was booked for blocking an Arteta run on the
right before Robbie Keane almost created a scoring
opportunity for Dirk Kuyt, arriving late in the box.
Yakubu was booked three minutes into the second half for
diving in the box having pushed the ball past Martin Skrtel
before plunging to the floor.
Two minutes later Riley booked Torres, who had questioned
the referee's decisions throughout the first half, for a
foul on Lescott.
But the Spaniard finally channelled his annoyance into the
game and saw a 20-yard strike go just wide before Gerrard
was much closer from slightly further out.
Albert Riera should have done better when presented with a
shooting chance by Keane but when Torres was denied a clear
opportunity, having shrugged off Phil Jagielka, Riley was
again on his case, awarding a fortunate free-kick to the
But after 59 minutes Torres got his own back. Arbeloa robbed
Arteta far too easily on the touchline and quick passing
involving Riera and Alonso released Keane on the left.
The Irishman's cross to the far post was met beautifully on
the volley by Torres to beat Tim Howard.
Three minutes later Torres was celebrating again. Liverpool
surged forward again and when Jagielka's tackle 10 yards out
stopped Keane in his tracks, the ball fell for Torres to
smash into the top corner.
Torres scored again seconds later but the effort was ruled
out by referee Riley.
Arbeloa was booked after 85 minutes for a retaliatory kick
at Cahill after a tussle between the pair before Yakubu
missed an open goal as Leon Osman's cross flashed in front
Five minutes later Cahill was sent off. Referee Riley showed
him a red card for a late challenge on Alonso.
It was the eighth red card in the last eight derbies, and
the 17th in 33 Premier League clashes between the clubs.
Substitute Louis Saha fired a 25-yard shot just wide in the
dying minutes but that was the closest Everton came all