After The Match 


Liverpool - West Bromwich 1-0 (0-0)          29.8.10              PL
Goals: Torres (65)
Team: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Skrtel, Poulsen, Lucas, Gerrard, Kuyt, Jovanovic, Torres
Subs: Rodriguez (Jovanovic 59), Babbel (Torres 89)
Not used: Jones, Pacheco, Spearing, Kyrgiakos, Kelly
Yellow: None
Red: Morrison (86)
Referee: Lee Probert
Attendance: 41,194
Shots on target: 4-3
Shots off target: 4-9
Blocked shots: 3-4
Fouls conceded: 8-8
Corners: 7-6
Offsides: 1-1
Possession: 50.7-49.3
Yellow: 0-0

HEADLINES "It was hard fought, especially in the first-half..."
Roy Hodgson
2908: Roy's Spain plea over Torres
2908: Torres magic edges Reds past Baggies


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Roy's Spain plea over Torres

By Paul Hassall at Anfield - LFC Official Website

Hodgson is hopeful Fernando Torres will not receive a call-up for Spain following the striker's sensational winner in the 1-0 win over West Brom.

The Reds boss was delighted with the No.9's contribution after his volley not only secured the first league victory of his tenure, but also saw him net a landmark 50th goal in all-competitions at Anfield.

However, the boss warned that the forward will only continue his improvement if he remains at Melwood to maintain his fitness programme.

"I think you could see from the first-half - he's trying very hard at the moment. He's playing catch up like I have said before," Hodgson told his post match press conference.

"He started his pre-season late and had to nurse his knee through a World Cup, but the goal will be great for his confidence.

"We are hoping Spain will pass up on his services and give him the chance to continue his recovery and 'pre-season'.

"He needs more training and more matches and you won't see the best of him until further down the road.

"It would be good if Del Bosque would look kindly on him and us. There's no doubt that he would prosper from two weeks of quite hard training here - continuing his pre-season work really. If he goes there and plays matches, it is quite a different type of training and preparation. It's not really what he requires at this moment in time.

"Also we want to keep an eye on the knee that caused him problems before and throughout the World Cup.

"We will be happy if this is what happens but we can't say his isn't fit to play matches because he played 85 minutes today.

"He wasn't firing on all cylinders and went to the World Cup. He wasn't at his best during that time or during the World Cup. Being careful with him is an absolute necessity. If we can keep him on this fitness programme, he will get stronger and fitter and then it's just down to match practice.

"The more work our Sport science people can do with him to build him up, the better it will be for his long-term future. If we are unable to do that because he is asked to play so many matches in this early part, it's going to affect us negatively."

He added: "I'm due to speak to someone from Spain after this conference. We can only propose that this is the best option for the player. But we don't have the right to pull him out."

Torres' winner came after West Brom had more than matched the Reds in what was a keenly contested encounter of few chances.

Hodgson believes being able to call upon players of El Nino's quality are what mark the best team apart in the Barclays Premier League and expects more of the same from the striker in the months ahead.

"That is the difference," he said. "The Barclays Premier League is such that most teams have good players, are well organised and can cause problems for their opponents.

"Often the difference is a piece of magic that breaks the deadlock and changes the rhythm of the game. If we are going to have a good season it will be because people like Torres and Gerrard will do things that not all players in the league can do."

The win saw Hodgson notch up his first success in the league at the third time of asking.

The boss admitted he was pleased to be off the mark and praised the move that led to the winning goal.

"It was hard fought, especially in the first-half because we weren't firing on all cylinders and they were playing very well," he said.

"They caused us problems. But I thought we had a much better second half and got the points thanks to a world class strike. It was an excellent piece of play. It started with Pepe's throw. Then there was the build-up down the left with Dirk Kuyt, who played it into Fernando for him to finish it with the volley.

"It was a good goal to win the game. I thought we could have had a second because Steven Gerrard produced a piece of magic for Fernando at the far post, but Carson was equal to that.

"All in all, it was a very good three points against a good Barclays Premier League team in West Bromwich Albion."

Asked if Torres had picked up a new injury following the 84th minute challenge that saw Baggies midfielder James Morrison receive a straight red card, the boss said: "I don't know how bad it is. He took a kick. It's not a muscle injury, but it was a nasty kick as everyone saw.

"The medical team were looking at it but I think his shin guard may have saved him there.

"I was a long way from the incident and there were a lot of people around the ball. It looked like a wild challenge to me from my position on the bench. I wouldn't want to pontificate as to whether it was or wasn't (a red card) - suffice to say the referee thought it was and that is good enough for me."

Torres magic edges
Reds past Baggies


Fernando Torres underlined his quality and importance to Liverpool with a brilliant strike to see off 10-man West Brom 1-0 at Anfield.

Two knee operations at the back-end of last season and a late return from the World Cup have impacted on the 26-year-old's fitness and match sharpness.

But a clinical strike midway through the second half - his first Premier League goal since March 28 and 50th at Anfield in all competitions - proved too good for promoted West Brom.

Torres was rested for the midweek Europa League play-off trip to Trabzonspor and the decision was justified with victory in Turkey without him and, more importantly, rewarded with the winning goal against the Baggies.

He had not scored in 10 matches for club and country coming into this game as he has been working his way back to fitness but even a 75% fit Torres provides a threat for opposition defences.

Torres had three half-chances in the opening 45 minutes but none could have been classed a genuine opportunity.

His first in only the third minute was curled straight into the arms of former Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson before a close-range strike was then crowded out at the near post.

His third sight of goal, in the 15th minute, was an indicator of where the Spain international is in terms of sharpness.

Martin Skrtel's header sent Milan Jovanovic charging down the centre of the pitch but Torres was half-a-yard short in reaching the pass as a sliding Gabriel Tamas cleared the danger.

Liverpool dominated possession but there were a couple of occasions when West Brom threatened to make them pay.

Marc-Antoine Fortune, making his first appearance for the club since he returned from Celtic, fired in a low shot which goalkeeper Jose Reina collected at the second attempt while late in the half James Morrison sliced a long-range shot just wide.

New signing Raul Meireles, given the number four shirt vacated by Alberto Aquilani's loan to Juventus, would have been hugely underwhelmed by what he saw.

It is doubtful, though, whether the display would have been enough to have had left-back Paul Konchesky, also watching from the stands, reconsidering whether to complete on his move from Fulham in the next 24 hours.

Four minutes after the interval Steven Gerrard controlled the ball on his chest before attempting a speculative 40-yard volley which dropped harmlessly wide of Carson's left-hand post.

West Brom midfielder was off-target with two long-range efforts while the closest Liverpool came to scoring was when Martin Skrtel hooked a half-cleared Torres cross narrowly wide of the right-hand post.

That was until Baggies defender Jonas Olsson almost gifted them a goal when he attempted to roll Tamas' pass back to Carson but sent it past the far upright.

The goal eventually came in the 65th minute when Torres combined with Dirk Kuyt down the left and when his team-mate returned the ball to the edge of the penalty area the Spain striker expertly shifted his position to volley into the turf and past Carson.

Seven minutes later he almost had his second when he side-footed Gerrard's far-post cross straight at Carson.

Eight minutes from time he was denied again when Kuyt and Gerrard worked the ball across the top of the penalty area only for the Spaniard's strike to be charged down by Gonzalo Jara with the aid of an arm - unseen by referee Lee Probert.

However, the referee did spot Morrison's lunge at Torres and responded with a straight red card.

Torres departed after another 89-minute work-out safe in the knowledge he is gradually edging closer to his prolific best and Liverpool had secured their 2000th league victory.

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This page was last updated 12.09.10. 16:48 cet

Thor Zakariassen