Premier League - Liverpool end away woes
Kenny Dalglish finally got the first victory of his second spell in charge of Liverpool with a 3-0 Premier League win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.
Fernando Torres gave the Reds a deserved lead on 36 minutes with a simple tap-in after Raul Meireles had beaten the offside trap, before the Portuguese doubled the advantage with a stunning strike just after half-time. Torres then added a third in injury time.
The win ends Liverpool's woeful run of five straight away defeats and lifts them, temporarily at least, into the top half of the table. Wolves remain in the bottom three.
Just 24 days after Stephen Ward's goal sealed a famous win for Wolves at Anfield which helped hasten the departure of Roy Hodgson, Liverpool finally started showing sustained signs of renewed vigour under Dalglish on their trip to the Midlands.
Whether it was the lack of quality in Wolves' defending or a renewed boldness in the Liverpool players instilled by Dalglish, the visitors were by far the more attacking side at Molineux.
The same static Wolves defending that led to the goal was evident early on when Lucas Leiva was allowed to charge down the channel and pull a ball back to Christian Poulsen from the byline. The Danish midfielder, recalled to the Liverpool line-up in place of youngster Jay Spearing, had his sidefooted effort blocked en route to goal.
Midway through the first half Meireles found Torres with a long diagonal ball, and the Spain forward drew a decent save from Wayne Hennessey when perhaps he might have done better. Torres then returned the favour by backheeling into the path of Meireles, who fired wide of the far post with a low drive.
Soon afterwards Liverpool were ahead via Torres's eighth goal of the season, but they almost gifted Wolves an equaliser in first-half stoppage time when Nenad Milijas was unmarked at the far post and forced the hitherto untroubled Pepe Reina into action with a point-blank stop.
Wolves showed characteristic spirit at the start of the second half, but they soon found themselves two goals down with Meireles's second goal in as many games.
Christophe Berra could only head a long ball back to the Portugal international, who struck a fiercely dipping volley into the top corner, giving Hennessey no chance. Meireles finally getting amongst the goals, and developing a good understanding with Torres in the absence of the suspended Steven Gerrard, could be a major factor in any change to Liverpool's fortunes.
Still the home side refused to quit, but their lack of cutting edge was exposed following a series of set pieces and decent deliveries into the Liverpool box.
Both sides introduced young prospects as the half wore on. Wolves brought on former Liverpool trainee Adam Hammill for his debut, while Dalglish continued to show his faith in young midfielder Jonjo Shelvey by maintaining his run of appearances from the bench in each of his four matches back in charge.
Both almost made an instant impact. Hammill's delightful curling cross completely outfoxed Liverpool's centre-backs but it was not met by a team-mate. Shelvey then fired over the bar after Meireles picked him out with a cross on the break.
Torres got his second goal and Liverpool's third in stoppage time after Dirk Kuyt's surging run ended with the Dutchman being tackled in the Wolves box. The ball broke free for Torres to smash home from close range, sealing the win as Liverpool avoided having Wolves complete a first league double over them for 60 years.