After The Match 


Reading-Liverpool 2-4 (1-1)        25.9.07                            LC
Goals: Benayoun (23), Torres (50, 71, 86)    Convey (28), Halls (64)
Team: Itandje, Finnan, Aurelio, Carragher, Arbeloa, Leto, Sissoko, Lucas, Benayoun, Crouch, Torres
Subs: Riise (Aurelio 67), Gerrard (Crouch 77), Hobbs (Lucas 89)
Not used: Martin, Putterill
Yellow: Lucas (70)         Bikey (51), Duberry (58), Fae (67)
Red: None
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance: 23, 567
Shots on target: 6-5
Shots off target: 2-4
Blocked shots: 0-0
Fouls conceded: 14-15
Corners: 7-3
Offsides: 4-4
Possession: 45.9-54.1
Yellow: 3-1
a great night for Fernando."

    Rafael Benitez

2609: Torres sends out a clear message
2609: Coppell hails Torres quality
2509: Carragher hails terrific Torres
2509: Rafa delighted with Torres treble
2509: 5-star Torres runs riot at Reading

Torres sends out a clear message

By Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo

The message to Rafa Benitez from Fernando Torres was crystal clear: I need to be playing football, not sitting on the bench.

It followed a man of the match performance at Reading in which the Spanish striker scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 win.

And, quite frankly, on the evidence of what we have seen of Torres so far this season, I only hope the Liverpool boss takes the message on board and plays him regularly from now on.

His wasn’t just a performance about goals, although he took each one with brilliant composure. It was about pace, strength, the ability to be a constant menace, technique, skill and the confidence of a striker who simply wants – and needs – to be out there leading the Reds line in every game.

We know that won’t happen, but we also know that the Reds cannot afford the loss of two points to the likes of Birmingham City in the Premiership, either.

Torres didn’t allow the Reading defence to relax for the 90 minutes. Despite some crude tackling, a total lack of protection from a referee who was embarrassing, and the fact he should have won a penalty which was blatant as any I have seen, it was a complete performance from a complete player.

More often than not you have to play your strongest team. Benitez’s idea of that, and mine, are probably different, but I would write in Gerrard, Torres, Mascherano and Carragher, every time.

At least we’re back on the goal trail. But, strangely, although possibly due to the change in personnel, the defence appeared to be struggling at times.

Reading’s first goal was well offside – more about that later – but the second came when the Reds failed to clear a corner.

It was a packed area, too, and they could have avoided that type of situation if the strikers remained around the half way line and kept at least three defenders occupied.

Gerrard was only on for 10 minutes, yet stood out, while Sissoko was everywhere and had a fine game. Benayoun did well and showed he had an eye for goal with a smartly taken first.

The equaliser was a nonsense. How referee Martin Atkinson, or his linesman, missed the three in offside positions I don’t know. Then he failed to give a penalty when Torres was grounded and that was clear-cut, too.

I think the refs pick on Liverpool. Some of his decisions were downright embarrassing and I find it very disturbing that refs can be so wrong. It was just like Rob Styles, who also got it wrong over the penalty at Anfield against Chelsea.

It’s time to bring the technology in like they have in rugby and cricket. If there’s a doubt, they turn to a third umpire (referee), and football could do the same. We’ve got to try to get every decision right.

I enjoyed the game, though, with the three different types of goal Torres scored. His class showed that the Reds can lift their game to a different level, and if they did that all the time they would beat most sides.

Coppell hails Torres quality

By Lewis Rutledge - Sky Sports

Steve Coppell admitted Fernando Torres was the difference between the sides following Reading's 4-2 defeat to Liverpool.

Torres had a quiet start to the Carling Cup clash at The Madejski Stadium, but netted a superb hat-trick after the break to send Liverpool into the round of 16.

Coppell was happy with the way Reading competed with Liverpool for most of the evening, but admitted his side did not quite have the quality to combat Torres.

"I thought we had some good opportunities but the difference was obviously £20million," said the Reading boss.

"We are disappointed. You want to play against the best players and that's where you make your reputation by stopping these people playing.

"For us to come off and he's scored three, then we are disappointed.

"For the first 45 minutes he was fairly anonymous. He didn't contribute much in the first half but that is the quality of £20-odd million."

Coppell, who feels that Torres' greatest weapon is his speed, believes the Spaniard will take the Premier League by storm once he settles in.

He explained: "Realistically he is yet to set the world on fire in this division but as he got his goals he grew in stature.

"We had to take more gambles and that only opened up more avenues for him.

"He gives them what they don't have with other players and that is just raw pace.

"A couple of times it wasn't a question of intricate play, it was just a question of kick it and run and he can run quicker than most."

Carragher hails terrific Torres


Jamie Carragher hailed hat-trick hero Fernando Torres after Liverpool won 4-2 at Reading to reach the Carling Cup fourth round.

Torres was controversially left on the bench for the Reds' last two Premier League games but demonstrated the finishing ability that saw manager Rafael Benitez spend £20million on him in the summer.

"He's won us the game," defender Carragher said. "It was a tight game, a very difficult game but he's made the difference.

"Some great finishes but it's not just his goals, it's his all round work for the team."

As for whether Torres would be handed a more regular first-team place, Carragher added: "That's up to the manager. All he can do is do his own job and he's made a great start at the club. He's a real team player."

Carragher revealed he thoroughly enjoyed playing in Tuesday night's entertaining tie.

"It was a good game to play in. It was a typical cup tie,"
he said.

"Reading gave their all."

As for Liverpool's current form and prospects of winning the Carling Cup, Carragher said: "We've had three draws, still unbeaten so that's not too bad.

"I'm just delighted to be in the next round.

"We want to do as well as we can in all the competitions."

Rafa delighted with Torres treble

By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website

Rafa Benitez hailed the display of Fernando Torres after his three-goal blast saw off Reading in the Carling Cup.

The Reds boss was full of praise for his side after seeing goals from Yossi Benayoun and Torres book Liverpool's place in the fourth round of the competition.

"It was a great night for Fernando," said Benitez.

"He had a lot of space and he killed their defenders with his pace and movement.

"The understanding between him and Crouch was very good and I thought it was a fantastic team performance.

"It was a difficult game because Reading tried to play football and they play with a great passion."

5-star Torres runs riot at Reading

Evening Echo

Fernando Torres hit a second-half hat-trick to earn Liverpool a place in the fourth round of the Carling Cup and send a timely reminder to coach Rafael Benitez.

Benitez had left the Spanish striker, signed for £24million from Atletico Madrid in the summer, out of the starting line-up for their last two Barclays Premier League matches.

But he returned with a vengeance to kill off battling Reading in a six-goal thriller at the Madejski Stadium.

Liverpool, unbeaten in nine games this season, made nine changes to the side which drew with Birmingham 0-0 at the weekend. Only captain Jamie Carragher and Alvaro Arbeloa survived from that team.

Reading made eight changes to the side which defeated Wigan 2-1 with Nicky Shorey, James Harper and Michael Duberry the only ones to retain their places.

There was no hint of the drama to come after a disappointing opening to the tie. Reading should have gone ahead in the 20th minute when a cross from John Halls fell perfectly for Leroy Lita on the edge of the six-yard box.

But the Reading striker failed to beat Liverpool’s debutant goalkeeper Charles Itandje who collected his downward header with ease.

Liverpool went ahead in the 23rd minute thanks to a magnificent piece of individual skill from Yossi Benayoun. He went on a solo run and beat Andre Bikey on the edge of the penalty area before firing a right-footed shot into the roof of the net.

However, the lead was shortlived as Reading were level in the 27th minute through Bobby Convey.

A corner from Nicky Shorey appeared to have been cleared by Momo Sissoko’s header but the ball fell invitingly for Convey and his angled volley found its way into the corner of the net.

Torres, who had required lengthy treatment in the opening minute after a tackle by Bikey, went down again under a challenge from Duberry in the 34th minute.

But he managed to run off the knock to his left ankle once more as Liverpool attempted to restore their advantage.

However, it was Reading who almost stole the lead before the break and again it was Convey who provided the threat.

He looked certain to score his second of the game when the ball fell to him on the edge of the six-yard box but this time the Reading winger’s volley was superbly saved by Itandje.

Liverpool spurned a real chance to restore their lead in the 48th minute when Torres set up Sebastian Leto but the Reds defender sent his shot wide of the far post.

But the Merseysiders were back in front a minute later when Leto sent Torres through the middle with a slide-rule pass.

The Spaniard made no mistake as he slipped the ball beyond Federici and into the corner of the net for the first of his terrific treble.

Moments later Bikey was booked for a foul on Torres as the Spaniard attempted to show him a clean pair of heels.

Torres probably did not think he would be taking part in the Carling Cup when he signed for the Reds in the summer but after being rested for Liverpool’s last two Barclays Premier league games, he was clearly in the mood to send the right message to Benitez.

The Spanish superstar may have found his omission hard to reconcile but the goal took his tally for the season to four in six starts.

But while Torres was displaying all the reasons why Liverpool paid out £24million for him, Reading were far from finished.

In the 64th minute Liverpool failed to deal with another Reading corner adequately enough and when the ball fell to Halls, his quick footwork allowed him to send a low shot into the corner of the net for their second equaliser of the night.

But Torres struck for a second time in the 70th minute when he converted a low cross from substitute John Arne Riise to restore Liverpool’s lead.

The Spaniard was now in his element and four minutes from the end he capped a superb performance with his hat-trick.

England midfielder Steven Gerrard, on as a late substitute, put Torres in the clear and he kept his cool to round Federici and slot the ball into the waiting net.

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen ©