Sunday, 20 September 2009

Media Round-Up: West Ham United 2 - Liverpool 3

The Telegraph
"It must make Rafael Benitez shudder to wonder what he would do without Fernando Torres. Liverpool were stumbling towards two more dropped points now before the Spaniard contrived one of his extraordinary sleights of hand, ghosting through West Ham United's defence for a headed winner that his team scarcely merited."

"The consensus building around Liverpool was that they lacked a lethal threat up front, the dreaded 'X-factor'. Torres emphatically gave the lie to that theory here, although Liverpool still betrayed a worrying susceptibility at the back, twice allowing West Ham back into this pulsating game."

"Torres could not resist the acrobatics, going wide with an extravagant volley, but he needed nothing so theatrical to break West Ham down. In a move of great poise and determination the Spaniard broke down the left flank, beffudling James Tomkins and creating space for himself to nudge a crisp shot beyond Green."

"referee Andre Marriner awarded them a fortuitous penalty, deeming that Hines had been shoved to the ground by Carragher. Diamanti duly stepped up to dispatch the kick but, in connecting the ball, tottered, with television replays clearly showing that he had taken too touches."

"Benitez was furious, and his players protested loudly to Marriner that the goal should have been ruled out but the score stood. Such a perceived injustice galvanised Liverpool, who redoubled their attacking energies"

The Guardian
"The captain could smile. Liverpool are level on 12 points with the Manchester clubs, a win behind Chelsea. "It was important to get the three points, and hope the sides above us drop some" he said, before praising Torres who, quaintly, had attracted criticism recently but now has five league goals this campaign in a total of 55 in 91 games for Liverpool."

"He's been playing OK to me," was Gerrard's verdict of the streaked-haired wonder. "He's scoring and was on fire today with the two goals."

"A purring Benítez is a collector's item. But later even he could not resist. "I'm really pleased with him. The main thing for us is if he can keep his mentality," Torres' countryman said, before offering a scary thought. "He is a very good player and hopefully he can get better."

The Times
"Normal delivery has still not resumed at Liverpool. Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are back in their most creative places, the goals and wins have started flowing again, yet there is something fundamentally awry with a Rafa Benitez team that defends like Postman Pat."

"Liverpool were imperious going forward, carving wide holes in a laudably adventurous West Ham and scoring three times. Watching Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel attempting to halt little Zavon Hines and bustling Carlton Cole, however, was not good for the manager’s nerves. Benitez’s team left with three points, but play like this against the elite teams and there will be no Premier League trophy at Anfield this year."

“I’m not worried about the other teams,” said Benitez. “My concern is if we can improve, if we can defend as a team well, if we cannot make mistakes and we can continue scoring goals. When you talk about individual mistakes you know it is easier to find a solution. So Carra knows, Skrtel knows and we know that is just a question to be focused. We can do it, no problem. But if we cannot then I will say to Torres he has to score more goals.”

"The opener was coming. Insua stole possession from Hines and raced down the left wing. The Argentine’s pass fed Torres at the edge of the box, enabling the striker to spin round James Tomkins before elegantly lifting the ball over Green. A goal to steal your breath away."

"West Ham seemed outclassed, all the more so when Matthew Upson and Behrami were both substituted through injury before 30 minutes had passed. Then Carragher gifted West Ham a penalty."

"With a quarter of an hour left, Johnson drove into a box he used to defend. The ball ricocheted back, but only as far as Ryan Babel, who looped his cross to the back post. Torres leaned back and over his marker to twist a header into Green’s bottom corner. Liverpool are back in the top three; even with their stellar striker they’ll go no higher with a defence like this."

The Independent
"Fernando Torres scored the first of the evening and had the last word too with a winning header, his vision clearly unimpaired by the three black eyes he has collected in the last few weeks."

"Liverpool have now scored 16 goals in six League games - five of them from Torres - though what was surprising was the laxity in their defence. Jamie Carragher, who conceded a penalty, and Martin Skrtel looked shaky for such an experienced partnership and offered West Ham some hope until the finish."

"the accident-prone Carragher handed them a goal, shoving Hines as the youngster raced to the byline and conceding a penalty. Diamanti slipped as he took it, Liverpool protesting in vain that he touched the ball twice before it flew past Pepe Reina. "

"But when a first attempt on goal for some time materialised with quarter of an hour left, it brought a goal. Johnson, marauding forward in his favoured fashion, had a shot blocked, the ball running out to the right for Babel to cross and Torres, rising between Faubert and Tomkins, to head in. "He was very cheap," Benitez said of the £22m striker who has scored 55 times in 91 games. At today's prices, who could argue?"

The Mirror
"Liverpool’s lead was restored in the 41st minute when Benayoun’s corner was headed goalwards by Gerrard and although the ball seemed destined for the net, Dirk Kuyt got the final touch from close range."

"Where there is Fernando Torres, there is hope."

"In reality, this was not Torres at his imperious best. He wasn’t even the best player on the pitch – that honour fell to West Ham’s 20year-old livewire Zavon Hines."

"But there is no denying the Spaniard’s goal sense and it was enough to clinch a victory that took Liverpool up to third place in the table."

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