Premier League - Torres sinks Chelsea
Sun, 07 Nov 17:57:00 2010
Fernando Torres scored a stunning double as Liverpool's renaissance continued with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Premier League leaders Chelsea at Anfield.
The Spanish striker, who has been criticised for his performances this season, scored both his goals in the first half before Liverpool survived a Chelsea onslaught in the second to pick up all three points.
The champions remain only two points ahead of Manchester United at the top of the table as they struggled to cope without Michael Essien and Frank Lampard, and also Dider Drogba who only came on at half time due a recent bout of illness.
Meanwhile, Liverpool's third successive victory moves them up to ninth and will be a huge relief for manager Roy Hodgson who had seen his side in the relegation zone before the start of their recent impressive run.
Torres's first goal came in the 11th minute when he got on the end of a superb chipped ball over the defence by the returning Dirk Kuyt.
The Spaniard had too much power and pace for John Terry as he produced a superb first touch before putting the ball past Petr Cech with a scuffed but effective finish.
The bulk of the first half was fast and frantic stuff which suited Liverpool just fine as they prevented Chelsea from settling into the match and creating meaningful chances.
The already rocking Anfield then reached fever pitch just before the break when Liverpool doubled their advantage thanks to a vintage Torres strike.
Good work from Raul Meireles set the goal up as he nicked Ashley Cole in possession before finding Torres on the edge of the box on the left; the striker then cut inside on to his right foot and curled the most delightful strike into the corner of the net to send the home fans into raptures.
Despite struggling with fever, it was no surprise to see Chelsea introduce Drogba after the break, and the Blues certainly improved in the second-half as they hunted for a way back into the match.
Liverpool though, remained well organised, constantly with two banks of four behind the ball in the second period and, while they effectively abandoned any attacking ambition for long periods, they made it mightily difficult for Chelsea to create chances.
There were a few moments though that left the Kopites with hearts in mouth; in the 60th minute Ramires headed a Cole cross just over the bar and then moments later Pepe Reina had to be alert at his near post to bat away a Yuri Zhirkov drive.
Reina's finest moment though was to come five minutes later when he made a point-blank stop to deny Florent Malouda from six yards out after a fine cross from Drogba.
Chelsea also had a penalty shout when Kuyt looked to climb over Cole but, as the clocked ticked on, Chelsea's desperation seemed to turn more to resignation, and indeed Liverpool could have had a third on the counter attack themselves.
Cech made a superb save of his own in the 74th minute as he somehow got a foot on a low drive from Kuyt, while Maxi Rodriguez seemed to be brought down in the area by the Chelsea keeper after he rounded him in stoppage time.
However, neither incident mattered much because Torres had already earned Liverpool the glory with his first-half efforts.
Liverpool will make to look it four on the spin on Wednesday when they travel to face Wigan while Chelsea will hope to bounce back at home against local neighbours Fulham on the same night.SeŠn Fay / Eurosport