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
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
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
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
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
"For the first 45 minutes he was fairly anonymous. He didn't
contribute much in the first half but that is the quality of
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
"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
"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,"
"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."
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."
runs riot at Reading
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 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
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
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
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
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
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.