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Torres lifts Hodgson spirits

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Phil McNulty | 07:30 UK time, Monday, 8 November 2010

Anfield

Roy Hodgson - with tongue firmly in cheek - claimed his Liverpool career had gone downhill from the day he arrived to sign his contract.

Hodgson was asked about the ups and downs of his turbulent early months at Anfield following Liverpool's 2-0 win against Chelsea on Sunday and replied: "What ups are you talking about?"

He was indulging in some deliberately downbeat irony, and perhaps a swipe at critics who justifiably put Hodgson's management under scrutiny when Liverpool slid into the Premier League relegation zone, after what was easily his most satisfying day in charge.

If the downhill slide was at its most dangerous in the spell between the home loss to Blackpool and after the Merseyside derby defeat at Everton in front of new owner John W. Henry, the beating of champions and Premier League leaders Chelsea was the clearest sign of upward momentum.

Hodgson's relaxed smile and light-hearted verbal jousting suggests he is finally settling to his task, although his revelation that he would enjoy Liverpool being in ninth place illustrated just how far they had fallen and just how much he needed this run of three successive league wins to propel them up the table.

It was only a little over a month ago that Hodgson heard Liverpool's fans, famous for their patience with managers, chant ominously for Anfield icon Kenny Dalglish during that Blackpool defeat, so he is well aware of the game's fickle nature.

Hodgson has yet, it appears, to fully win over Liverpool's followers. No resounding chants are heard for the manager, but if he still has work to do win the affections of The Kop and increase his stock of credibility, a deserved win against Chelsea is a fine starting place.

Liverpool's victory marked the high point of his brief tenure. And while more hard evidence will be required in coming weeks before the upturn in fortunes can be regarded as anything like permanent, there were plenty of positives for Hodgson to savour.

torres_595pa.jpgChelsea's John Terry can only watch on in despair as Torres puts Liverpool ahead at Anfield: PA

Not least of those was the most conclusive indication yet that Fernando Torres is emerging from the darkness of one of the most frustrating spells of his career and back to the form that illuminates Anfield.

If so much of this win was built around the sweat and toil of two of Liverpool's unheralded performers, Dirk Kuyt and Lucas Leiva, the real difference between these two sides was the world-class marksmanship of the rejuvenated Torres.

Torres has been accused of a lack of interest in Liverpool and a lack of effort in their early struggles. My take on this contentious issue, as I said earlier in the season when he was subjected to serious criticism, was that it was actually a case of a chronic lack of service and Torres' mind not trusting his fragile body after a succession of injuries, with his confidence badly damaged as a consequence.

Signs have been detected in recent weeks that mind and body were on the mend. The winner against Blackburn and the instinctive creation of Maxi Rodriguez's late winner at Bolton Wanderers (admittedly a gem in a fairly wretched personal display) hinted at recovery.

And, as on previous occasions, it was Chelsea and John Terry who felt the pain of being hit by the full force of Torres' brilliance as he showed what Liverpool have missed during his barren spell.

As Kenny Dalglish watched from Anfield's directors' box, he will have seen plenty of himself in the two goals Torres scored. The touch of finesse to take control of Kuyt's clever pass and lift a finish over Petr Cech was almost a signature Dalglish moment, as was the curling shot into just about the only space available for the second.

But in their own way they were also pure Torres, instinctive, natural and good enough to punish the best around when all the moving parts are in full working order.

Liverpool's win, however, was not built by Torres alone. Hodgson's decision to adopt a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation, with Kuyt using his boundless energy to give Torres vital assistance and also add weight in midfield, worked perfectly.

Lucas, so often the target for the crowd's impatience, has rarely had a finer game for Liverpool. Tireless and stifling any space Chelsea hoped to get, Anfield may just start to view him in a different light if he maintains this form.

Raul Meireles took one for the team in an unfamiliar right-flank role to stop the advance of Ashley Cole, while youngster Martin Kelly showed what many of us have suspected, namely that Glen Johnson's absence might be more of a boon than a blow to Liverpool.

Liverpool's fragile confidence surfaced in the needless negativity and sitting back that invited a Chelsea revival in the second half, one they repelled thanks to defensive defiance, the odd moment of good fortune and the outstanding goalkeeping of Pepe Reina.

The trick for Liverpool and Hodgson now is to repeat this desire and passion at Wigan Athletic and Stoke City in the next week. For all the good work of recent weeks, ninth place represents more of a welcome improvement than the announcement of a full recovery.

Liverpool, remarkably, given the pessimism and concerns that swirled around the club just a couple of weeks ago, are now only five points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.

Hodgson was right when he said: "I preach caution." Liverpool should not get too carried away on the basis that they have still not done much to get carried away with. Too much has been mediocre for that to be wiped away by the odd impressive victory.

But if Torres can build on the foundations of form and fitness this game will give him, Hodgson and Liverpool's lives will be so much easier.

For Chelsea, this was perhaps a defeat that has been in the making for weeks. They ground out a drab goalless draw at Aston Villa and were fortunate to beat Blackburn Rovers.

It was predictable that they would miss Frank Lampard and Michael Essien in midfield, absences compounded by the fever that forced Didier Drogba to take a watching brief for the first 45 minutes.

Ramires and Jon Obi Mikel were too wasteful in possession and bowed too often to Steven Gerrard and Lucas, while Yuri Zhirkov operated on the margins of the game with little impact.

Torres made Chelsea's defence look vulnerable, while captain Terry had a forgettable, uncomfortable day that he will not recall with any great fondness. Not only did he appear to struggle with the pace and movement Torres threatened, he was also too busy attempting to take refereeing duties away from Howard Webb.

Webb was far too lenient on Terry's consistent questioning of decisions, indulging his excesses too often. Terry's experience and standing as a former England captain should not give him special dispensation to harangue referees on a regular basis as he did here.

Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti was, as ever, dignified and measured in defeat. He accepted Liverpool were the better team, refused to use absentees as an excuse for a poor performance and was generous in his praise of Torres.

He also put the setback in context, knowing Chelsea will improve when the likes of Lampard and Essien return and pointing out that they still head the Premier League.

Liverpool's sudden rise up the table only underscored the unsettled nature of this season, with no team making a cast-iron case as potential champions and only seven points separating Wigan in 18th place and Newcastle United in fifth.

It is this compressed nature of the table that has also increased Liverpool's sense of well-being and Hodgson's delight at how his team have pulled themselves around - although he will be aware this also means careless defeats could send them tumbling back down.

The good news for Hodgson and Liverpool is that Torres is now edging back towards his best. His poor form, it would appear, was temporary as his class is permanent.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    A fantastic performance by Liverpool. I think it is great for both Liverpool and the Premier League to have a firing again Fernando Torres. His two goals were amongst the highlights of the weekend when the other top three clubs were terribly dissapointing. I have to worry a bit about Man Utd when their best player was (with all due respect) Ji Sung Park. Average performance which underlines the lack to depth in the squad. Chelsea even with Drogba didn't do enough to earn a point but at least the Premiership race is opening up again. Well done to Newcastle and Chris Houghton! Fully deserved result...

  • Comment number 2.

    Thank you Liverpool...but it's great to see a great team winning again (especially against Chelsea)

  • Comment number 3.

    But being fired up and beating the big teams has never really been Liverpool's problem has it? Torres frequently torments the likes of Vidic and Terry, but Liverpool rarely turn up against 'lower' opposition.

    Also, as much as it pains me to say it, Lucas is impressing me this season and that boy Kelly looks pretty awesome.

  • Comment number 4.

    Chelsea had half a side, missing their 3 best players. Lampard, Essien, and Drogba.

    Gerrard has rarely got the better of Essien in 5 years, and many defences have struggled with the Brilliance of a fit Drogba over the years. This result was on the cards.

    Take Gerrard, Torres and Kuyt out of the Liverpool side and you would have had a more even game.

    Chelsea proved one thing to me, that Alex and Terry will be found out in the biggest games, against the better strikers. They badly missed the Class of Carvalho yesterday

  • Comment number 5.

    oh what a surprise another positive Liverpool article

  • Comment number 6.

    Oh, and my goodness when will someone call John Terry out for what he is... He's brave and a great leader but technically and positionally not good enough

  • Comment number 7.

    "It was only a little over a month ago that Hodgson heard Liverpool's fans, famous for their patience with managers, chant ominously for Anfield icon Kenny Dalglish during that Blackpool defeat, so he is well aware of the game's fickle nature."

    Really Phil? Fickle? To be fickle the fans would have had to have wanted Hodgson in the first place and he was never the man the fans wanted.

    These recent results mean he will keep his job for the next couple of months at least but some of his actions (buying over-the-hill journeymen in Poulsen and Konchesky for lots of money) and the things he has said ('I couldn't stop Torres going to Man Utd' - I mean, grow a backbone) has done nothing but alienate most of the Anfield faithful.

  • Comment number 8.

    #3 valid point in general but wins at home to Blackburn and away at Bolton in recent weeks show that Liverpool can perform against the "difficult to beat" Prem teams. I think we'll get an idea of what sort of season Liverpool are really going to have following their next 2 fixtures (Wigan & Stoke).

  • Comment number 9.

    I dont mean to put a downer on the 'Torres is back to form' discussions, but does anybody else think Torres actually had a poor game, ignoring his 2 goals. His touch was poor, his work effort was non existant and he always chose the wrong option to shoot when people were in a better position than him ? Just a thought.

  • Comment number 10.

    maybe now some people will get off Hodgson's back.

    Fully deserved win and although had a few scary moment in the second half i thought we defended brilliantly against a team that has plenty going forward.

    I sincerelly hope that Johnson stays on the bench as our defence looks more balanced when he is not playing. the young kelly just added another impressive performance on his CV and given time i can see him getting even a call up (provided he improves his game a bit more).

    also maybe know people will keep their mouth's closed with Hodgson's team selections in europa league. Torres looks a lot better and gerrard looks to have more energy

    Lucas is not the best midfield player BUT i think he did his role brilliantly (which was to close down and annoy the chelski midfield players)

    P.S. the game showed how much we missed kuyt. he does all the hard work and creates chances for others

    P.P.S if benitez was still in charge he would have played Gerrard out of position on the right and play meirelles in the middle so credit to Hodgson for not playing him out of position as everyone know Gerrard plays best through the middle

  • Comment number 11.

    1. At 07:58am on 08 Nov 2010, ManUtdFan wrote:
    A fantastic performance by Liverpool. I think it is great for both Liverpool and the Premier League to have a firing again Fernando Torres. His two goals were amongst the highlights of the weekend when the other top three clubs were terribly dissapointing. I have to worry a bit about Man Utd when their best player was (with all due respect) Ji Sung Park. Average performance which underlines the lack to depth in the squad. Chelsea even with Drogba didn't do enough to earn a point but at least the Premiership race is opening up again. Well done to Newcastle and Chris Houghton! Fully deserved result...
    ========================================================================
    bit harsh on park,hes a big game player that steps up when you need him (emirates 09 in the cl springs readily to mind).once nani,giggs,rooney and berbatov are restored to the team,i expect more solid victories to occur for utd.

  • Comment number 12.

    #8 I guess we will see. To be honest, I always assumed the 'not performing against lower opposition' was more to do with Benitez not having any motivational skills than with the team necessarily. Happy for Liverpool to just cut through Arsenal, Chelsea and City if they want though!

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    "It was only a little over a month ago that Hodgson heard Liverpool's fans, famous for their patience with managers, chant ominously for Anfield icon Kenny Dalglish during that Blackpool defeat, so he is well aware of the game's fickle nature."

    Want to know the real most "fickle" thing about football Phil? You. You and your journalistic mates. It's becoming boring. 'Liverpol in crisis'. 2 weeks later..."Liverpool are back...but City in crisis" then..."City are back....Chelsea in crisis" And this is coming from a United fan who would love to see the above three clubs in crisis. But let's be honest, they're not. Chelsea are favourites, City will come third or fourh and Liverpool will come fifth or six. The league is nearly as predictable as your blogs.

    Are you sure you're not on a retainer from Sky to keep up interest in this flagging league?

    Want to know the best thing you could have blogged on this weekend which would have beneffited you, the BBC, football in general and us poor readers? FC United's victory on Friday night. But that would have involved a bit of imagination wouldn't it now.

  • Comment number 15.

    #14 Not necessarily a bit of imagination, but it would require some actual research and journalism.... bazinga!

  • Comment number 16.

    Mr Chelsea


    LOL! You did a naughty. You gotta curb that temper of yours ;-)

  • Comment number 17.

    Phil thanks for the blog, i really love the reading your blogs, though sometimes i don't understand some parts, because English is not my native. As a Manchester United supporter I was pleased with the result. But what's more important is that the player like Torres are playing in this league, the best league in the whole world must say.
    The league is getting better, also I didn't expect Arsenal to loose at Emirates, it very unfortunate for them, they don't use their chances unfortunately.
    Hope we will get the win on Wednesday against City.
    Liverpool good luck for the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 18.

    Fair play to RH and his band of merry men. HW is a dubious referee and it would have been good to ask him how JT remained card-less, after both JT and Alex cluttered into FT. The ESPN has a weekly column called 'the fifth official' may HW be auditioning JT for the part. Whatever happened to something about respecting refs, although I am not sure HW deserves any respect!

  • Comment number 19.

    @11 BigEggo
    Yes I do agree with you that Park is a "Big Game" player. I have huge respect for the energy that both he and Fletcher give. However industry alone will not win you the title. There is a lack of creativity from central midfield which is hampering Utd. Obertan and Bebe are still work in progress...

  • Comment number 20.

    What has happened to all the crisis blogs and the doom and depresion merchants wanting Roy sacked?

    Decent manager is Roy and the sooner the scousers appreciate him the better for them.

    Torres, a magnificent player returing to form. But more than any of the other big 3, Chelsea always seem to struggle with Liverpool than the others.

    Does anything happen in the EPL outwith Liverpool, ManU, Arsenal and Chelsea Phil? The BBC SPL blogs are so rarely about our big two but the corresponding ones in England are never far away from your big 4.

  • Comment number 21.

    @Stuart

    To be honest if you are lapping up garbage like that story about Torres and ManU from the tabloids to use as ammo against the manager you're getting desperate.

    @Ross

    I think 2 goals of that sort of quality from a striker represent a very good performance, regardless of a few poor touches or stray passes.

  • Comment number 22.

    regards grmarantos
    Your wrong, Rafa would have played Stevie G in the middle with Kuyt out wide and Mereiles alongside Lucas in a 4,2,3,1 formation. which is pretty much what we did for most of the game and hence a solid performance!

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    i dont know about anyone else,but i feel this is one of the best premier leagues ever.the ups and downs of every team has to be a bonus for entertainment.lets hope it carries on in this vain.

  • Comment number 25.

    20. At 09:28am on 08 Nov 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    Does anything happen in the EPL outwith Liverpool, ManU, Arsenal and Chelsea Phil? The BBC SPL blogs are so rarely about our big two but the corresponding ones in England are never far away from your big 4.

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Funny thing to say, given that Phil's last 3 blogs prior to this have been about Spurs, City and Villa.

  • Comment number 26.

    Mr Chelsea is an angry man by the looks of it :)

  • Comment number 27.

    Also, how long before I'm no longer a 'new member'? Been a member since February, and I don't feel new... Not that it would matter for Phil "speed is of the essence" McNulty's moderators...

  • Comment number 28.

    I like Torres, being an Arsenal supporter myself I will admit that Torres is star quality when he's at his best. Liverpool certainly missed him when he was out injured for a while but his second goal yesterday was superb and his first goal was a good matter of control and finish he played great yesterday. I'm sure now that Hodgson will manage the team he wanted his way just as he did Fulham who improved dramatically when he was at the reigns.

  • Comment number 29.

    Morning everyone...to AJM1982 - I think you will find I have made the point fairly specifically that I do not think Liverpool are "back".

    I wrote: "Liverpool should not get too carried away on the basis that they have still not done much to get carried away with. Too much has been mediocre for that to be wiped away by the odd impressive victory."

    But Liverpool fans had every right to be pleased with an improved display yesterday and the signs that Torres is edging back towards his best.

    I still get the impression a lot of Liverpool fans remain to be convinced by Hodgson. I don't sense a real bond between Anfield and the manager yet. How can he remedy this? Winning games is a very good start.

    This is a negative on what was a positive day for Hodgson and Liverpool though, so what impressed you most about the win, Torres apart? I thought Lucas and Dirk Kuyt were outstanding.

    As for Chelsea and their fans, they just started so slowly and allowed Liverpool to gain momentum. They've looked a little vulnerable recently, are you worried that your lead at the top has been cut?

    Is it simply that no team could start without players of the calibre of Lampard, Essien and Drogba and not feel the pinch. This is my view certainly.

    And in conclusion for now to Andy...you complain about a positive Liverpool blog. Not sure I can win on this one seeing as I received plenty of flak for criticising Liverpool after they lost to Northampton, Blackpool and Everton.

    No worries though, plenty to discuss from yesterday's game and also the fluctuating state of the Premier League, so keep the debate going here.

    I have also been very critical of John Terry's behaviour yesterday, spending far too much time openly debating decisions from Howard Webb. Do you think I have been too harsh? I don't - I feel Webb should have nipped this dissent in the bud a lot earlier.

  • Comment number 30.

    i give up

  • Comment number 31.

    Sadly despite that victory Hodgson still doesnt give Liverpool fans confidence. he only played Kelly because of very last minute injuries to Johnston and Soto.

    He then played very defensively in the second half when attacking the KOP. Sadly he is a small team manager in the wrong team.

  • Comment number 32.

    9 of the Liverpool starters were from last season's team. The other 3 i.e. Meireles, Konchesky and Kelly cannot be better than those they replaced i.e Alonso/Masch, Aurelio and Glen Johnson. So Hodgson probably jumped the gun in the summer by spending on some inferior players esp. Poulsen who can't even match Lucas, let alone Alonso or Mascherano.

    Now he says he need to spend some more. He really needs to buy wisely or else Liverpool might get some short-term relief but could ultimately slip down further the pecking order.

  • Comment number 33.

    Well, what can I say, full credit to Liverpool for an excellent performance. In the first half they were better in midfield and then in the second half they were robust in defence.

    I don't think there is too much more to it than that.

    Of course, Torres took his chances like the Torres of before this last six months.

    For Chelsea, to not have Lampard or Essien in a game where Liverpool were so up for it was clearly a problem but it's early days.

    Gives the other teams a chance to catch up a bit ;-)

    Finally, Phil, I don't understand your last point in post #29. All players do this and as Chelsea's captain, isn't it appropriate that it is him that does it? Elsewhere in the match I saw Webb taking to Gerrard on first name terms. Is that any more or less appropriate? I don't see the complaint.

    (Though I will say that overall, all players should show much more respect for the ref and the language that is used is terrible. How is that not dissent and bookable more often?)

  • Comment number 34.

    #25
    Funny thing though that would be the point where you had all emerged from the War & Peace Liverpool in crisis blog series followed by the Wayno series of blog soaps.

  • Comment number 35.

    Liverpool need to be wary, that the Torres they signed from Athletico, was a man who turned in spectacular performances one week and was anonymous for the next two... they need the Torres from the first season back immediately, or failing that get somebody to share the burden. Joe Cole currently is not that player, though Maxi who has been awful for the majority of the season, is starting to show one or two glimpses, so maybe it is just time they need.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    Maybe this is a bit of a tangent Phil but do you really feel that having Glen Johnson on the sidelines, replaced by Martin Kelly, is a boon for Liverpool? If so, should Kelly take Johnson's place in the England setup? Given that he's only played once for the under 21s that sounds premature but if he plays better for Liverpool than Johnson then it's sound logic that he'd play better for England.

    If not him or Johnson who else would play at right back? It's actually more of a problem position than goal keeper in a lot of ways. Simpson has earnt a lot of respect from the Toon, should he be given a chance? Maybe try fitting in a centre back at that position. It was a genuine concern at the World Cup that Glenn was the only right back in the squad. Since Wes Brown and Luke Young retired we have only Johnson and Richards who really play there with any caps. Bit worrying.

  • Comment number 38.

    Football IS fickle. Mancini was under 'pressure' after 3 sucessive losses. Now he is fine - after 1 win. RH is geat - after 3 or 4 wins. Old Wenger has lost 2 in a row - already talk about 5 trophy less seasons surfacing. Arsenal will probably beat some mid table side 4-1 and the 'professor' will be declared a genius. What will happen if Chelsea lose the next one? Crisis, crisis! Lampard will probably become their most important player this season, because he is not playing..Fickle football.

  • Comment number 39.

    25. At 09:35am on 08 Nov 2010, kanchelskis_legend wrote:
    20. At 09:28am on 08 Nov 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    Does anything happen in the EPL outwith Liverpool, ManU, Arsenal and Chelsea Phil? The BBC SPL blogs are so rarely about our big two but the corresponding ones in England are never far away from your big 4.

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Funny thing to say, given that Phil's last 3 blogs prior to this have been about Spurs, City and Villa.

    *************************************************************************
    Read your quote of Rob again, Kanchelskis, and you'll see your comment supports exactly Rob's argument (i.e. 'the [BBC Sport blogs] in England are never far away from [the] big 4.' (e.g. Spurs, City and Villa, three of the, arguably, bigger 7!))

    It would be nice to hear some different stories for a change. A general article on how the premier league is shaping up could be a start. I wonder why everything always needs a point of interest before you read it, rather than an intelligent piece of writing that demands interest..

  • Comment number 40.

    Poor performance from Chelsea. We were over run in midfield and really for the first time (thankfully) we really missed Lampard. I won't be too hard on Ramires as he is young and new to the PL. However, Mikel should have done better and Zhirkov was virtually a bystander.
    However, I am surprised no one has mentioned the foul on Ashley Cole prior to Torres' second goal. Webb waved play on as he thought Cole had broken free of the grab over his shoulders but lost the ball seconds later, the ref should have then deemed no advantage and called the free kick back. Still, I have no major complaints about the result and as Phil rightly said, this defeat had been coming. Onto Fulham on Wednesday and Sunderland on Sunday - 6 points should be won. I think we have enough this season to win the league but would like to see if we could add a player or two in the January transfer window if the right players are available.

  • Comment number 41.

    Thought you were going to 'give up' Mr Chelsea? You should do you're just embarrassing yourself now....

  • Comment number 42.

    All im writing is how useless and pathetic anelka was yesterday as a front man.

    why are my posts being moderated!

  • Comment number 43.

    So Chelsea lost. ...to a rubbish team.
    Bolton beat Gareth Bale and no mention of it.....
    I reckon Hodgsons Irony is more than justified given the drivel written about him and Liverpool.
    Didn't the same happen at Fulham when he was there, into the relegation places.
    The season is long and calling winners or losers this side of Christmas is just doing a Keegan.
    Anything else happen in the league this weekend? Nope didn't so. Mediocrity is stalking the premiership.

  • Comment number 44.

    Finally made it.

    Three cheers for me.

    hip hip horay. hip hip horay. hip hip horay

  • Comment number 45.

    Not only did he appear to struggle with the pace and movement Torres threatened, he was also too busy attempting to take refereeing duties away from Howard Webb.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Phil........and Gerrard wasn't?

    Stevie Me was in Webb's ear the entire game from the very first minute!

    But anyway congratulations to Liverpool, a fully deserved 3 points on the day!

    Chelsea need to bounce back in their next two league games, which perhaps fortunately, are both at home!

  • Comment number 46.

    our midfield was pathetically poor yesterday reminiscent of liverpools midfield this season up until yesterday of course.

    however we did have essien missing and lampard. two of the worlds best centre midfielders.

    zhirkov. pathetic
    ramires. out muscled. no clue
    mikel. well andy gray pointed out. he wont harm you.

    malouda was our only threat.

    anelka as ive said before useless and hopeless up front.

  • Comment number 47.

    Good column Phil and hats off for spotting John Terry's constant bothering of the officials. Ferdinand was criticised in every article I read last week so to see "Lionheart" getting called out is refreshing. He could learn a lot from his manager who remains a real class act as you allude to. Likewise Roy Hodgson who has been rightly criticised for results and often performances but who you just feel will come good.

    Liverpool will hope to be in the mix for 4th now. Spurs dont look able to balance European involvement and City seem to lack consistency despite the amount of quality in their ranks. A lot could depend on the head to heads where Liverpool have got some tough games out of the way.

    Whilst it's tempting to say Manchester United were the big winners yesterday our season has been far from convincing having yet to visit Chelsea, Arsenal, City (all 3 also to come at home), Liverpool, Spurs or any of the impressive looking promoted sides yet still dropping points on 5 occasions. Whilst the spirit seems to be getting the team through at the moment Nani and Rooney's returns can't come soon enough if results are to turn into performances and title challenging consistency. The City game on Wednesday is the first really tough challenge the team has faced and a line up anything like Saturday's will spell big problems.

    Arsenal you'd have to fear for as well. They've always been susceptible on the road but now seem to be having trouble at the Emirates where they've been strong over the past couple of seasons. Wenger has consistently failed to sort out a goalkeeper and midfield enforcer and it keeps coming back to haunt him.

    Time for Torres to come back into the fantasy league side methinks!

  • Comment number 48.

    I think we'd have been torn apart if Drogba had been fit and played from the start but there's definitely progress and Liverpool looked very good for periods in the match.

    It was telling how exhausted Torres and Gerrard looked in the last 15 minutes. They were literally out on there feet.

    Nice to see Dirk back and running around like a maniac as well.

  • Comment number 49.

    Some Chelsea players do look lazy at times as if they 'expect' to win. Liverpool are still a very average side though and Howard Webb wants to concentrate on not wanting to be the centre of attention

  • Comment number 50.

    Bit of an irony, Liverpool have played all the top 4, Spurs just United and Man City. How many points do Spurs have ?

    So why is Redknapp not under the collar for an under performing club?

    I simply pose the question because he seems to be flavour of the month and yet Hodgson is castigated. You dont win a Champions League in November.

    Hodgson probably knows that today he is in favour, after Wigan and Stoke, it could be different. Oh, did Liverpool win at Wigan or Stoke last year ?

    Maybe the problem lies with Liverpool's fans being spoilt by a history of recent success, recent being in people's memory.

    Expectation needs managing, will Liverpool fans accept that ? I dont think so and that is part of the problem. Yes, there is nothing wrong in aiming high but a bit of realism please.







  • Comment number 51.

    3. At 08:51am on 08 Nov 2010, Great_Shatners_Ghost wrote:
    But being fired up and beating the big teams has never really been Liverpool's problem has it? Torres frequently torments the likes of Vidic and Terry, but Liverpool rarely turn up against 'lower' opposition


    ----

    MYTH!!!!

    out of all the times he played against vidic, The big serb has gotten the better of the spaniard more then not

    and whoever said if you score two good goals it means you played well need his/her head testing, 2 periods of about 5 seconds do not make a good performance over a total of 90 minutes.(im not having a go at torres by the way as i didnt watch the whole game, i mean for everyone before you all start)

  • Comment number 52.

    Over the last 3 games, Liverpool are starting to look like a decent team again, as they have unbelievable awful for the last 12 months. On paper Liverpool’s first team is extremely strong, however, if Gerard or Torres gets injured/lose form they will be back to square one. It seems strange that despite the fact they have bought a number of good attacking players to the club, none seem to perform.

    But overall Phi, I am bored reading about Liverpool & Man U, there are 20 teams in the Premiership not 2. 7 of your last 10 blogs are centred either of the two, and mentioned in the rest….. Please mix it up a bit.

  • Comment number 53.

    The grit, determination and belief is back with us, you could see it building in the last few games. Obviously having settled ownership has got everyone's minds back focused on football. We've got some high-calibre, determined players with more than a point to prove after what's been happening recently. Still, this is just the beginning, there's still a lot of deficiencies in the team, and a lot of work to do before we're challenging Chelsea and Man U on a regular basis. Yesterday was nice but let's keep things in perspective.

  • Comment number 54.

    Well, things do seem as if they are looking up but we'll have to wait to see if this can be maintained. I like Roy Hodgson and I think he's just the sort of steadying hand to bring a bit of balance back to the club. All this "out of his depth" nonsense is just that: nonsense. the bloke has a lot of experience dealing not only with tough situations but also with players. Maybe once the ship is steadied a new energetic results manager could come in, but for now, Uncle Roy is just what we need.
    Oh, and wasn't the first half yesterday a confirmation that on form, Gerrard is the world's best midfielder, and that includes the likes of Iniesta and Xavi. And Torres back on song - what a great all round footballer he is - could mean that the good times are back.
    We'll wait and see.
    Another positive note is the development and progress made by the the youngsters such as Lucas and Kelly and, to a lesser extent, Spearing.
    The team's body language is another indicator that things are on the up and that the dressing room, at last, has regained the winning mentality that it's lacked over the last 18 months or so.

  • Comment number 55.

    John, Post 50.

    Expectation management? Football?
    I think you fundamentally understand why people go to football matches. If your grammar wasn't so appalling I'd recommend you point your mouse in the direction of the business forums.

  • Comment number 56.

    I hope not to many Chelsea fans watched Carvalho contain both Aguero and Forlan last night, as Terry and Alex are not good enough to cope with players of torres class. Carvalho will be sorely missed against any sort of quality it seems.

    God know what will happen once they face the berb/rooney/hernandez? Will terry moan that hernandez is too mobile and should be sent off? Quite fancy Andy carroll up agaisnt them too

  • Comment number 57.

    3. At 08:51am on 08 Nov 2010, Great_Shatners_Ghost wrote:
    But being fired up and beating the big teams has never really been Liverpool's problem has it? Torres frequently torments the likes of Vidic and Terry, but Liverpool rarely turn up against 'lower' opposition


    ----

    MYTH!!!!

    out of all the times he played against vidic, The big serb has gotten the better of the spaniard more then not

    ----

    I'm a United supported and I definitely don't agree with this. Maybe Torres hasn't left him looking like a fool every game but I don't think Vidic has had the better of him more than twice. I think Vidic is amazing but something about Torres just seems to throw him off. Personally I think Drogba is a better striker and Vidic plays pretty well against him, it's just something about Torres that unsettles him...

  • Comment number 58.

    Phil, as Chelsea fan, while I do not think that you are being necessarily harsh on John Terry, I do believe that you are being totally inconsistent. From the moment very early on after he fouled Zhirkov, Steve G was in HW's ear teh whole game. He maybe have been more subtle, even taking the time for a nice chat and a joke between his moans. But then we all know Stevie G is a saint, and JT well........ Anyway of more relevance, Liverpool outperformed Chelsea in every department. Chelsea's start was too passive, and Torres scored a great goal out of nowhere. Amazingly with a bit of luck we could have sneaked a draw but would have been undeserved.

  • Comment number 59.

    #56 weezer316

    Just can't see how you can draw that conclusion. Chelsea's defence has been brilliant this season.

    Torres' first goal was a lovely touch and slightly scuffed finish. Can't see what a defender can do against such excellent front man play. The second goal was nothing to do with the centre halves. Although Ivanovic should have closed him down, it was a great finish from Torres.

  • Comment number 60.

    Hi Phil,

    I enjoyed reading your blog and I believe that Liverpool are finally moving in the right direction. However, as you point out, a couple of defeats and we could find ourselves right back where we were a couple of weeks ago. But a couple of wins in the next week and then suddenly Top 4 looks very likely.
    I have never seen a league a tight as this one. There isn't a game that you can say who the outright favourite is anymore. Anybody can beat anyone and they are doing so. After the drubbing that Newcastle got from Arsenal 14 days ago I was expecting Arsenal to steamroll Newcastle. What happened was an astonishing display by Newcastle secured 3 points for them.
    I also predicted that Chelsea were going to have a blip. Their start of the season was incredibly impressive, but it was also helped by the fixture list. The first big test they had was against Man City which they failed miserably. Their result against Arsenal masked the fact that they were under the cosh for 70 minutes only to win the game with the brilliance of Drogba. I am eagerly anticipating their encounters with Tottenham and Man Utd.
    Although I do expect Chelsea to regain their crown, they will find this season very tough and I expect the winners to win the premier league with the lowest point total in years.

  • Comment number 61.

    51. At 11:01am on 08 Nov 2010, feetofmagic wrote:
    3. At 08:51am on 08 Nov 2010, Great_Shatners_Ghost wrote:
    But being fired up and beating the big teams has never really been Liverpool's problem has it? Torres frequently torments the likes of Vidic and Terry, but Liverpool rarely turn up against 'lower' opposition


    ----

    MYTH!!!!

    out of all the times he played against vidic, The big serb has gotten the better of the spaniard more then not

    and whoever said if you score two good goals it means you played well need his/her head testing, 2 periods of about 5 seconds do not make a good performance over a total of 90 minutes.(im not having a go at torres by the way as i didnt watch the whole game, i mean for everyone before you all start)

    -*--------------------------------------------------------
    As a United and Vidic fan I will tell you it's not Myth. Since Torres arrived on Merseyside he has run riot against Vidic with one exception, the last time out.
    As for a striker scoring 2 goals and having a poor game, you are having a laugh. The job is to score, the aim to score more than opposition. Job done match won well done.

  • Comment number 62.

    Weezer316, since Chelsea have conceded 5 goals in 11 premiership I am not too worried that Carvalho is playing well elsewhere. If Torres is on form, very few defenders, no matter how good they are, can cope, similarly when they face Drogba at his best. I am more worried about the team starting Away games too passively, and therefore handing momentum to the opposition.

  • Comment number 63.

    Post 31, Alseno

    Some people are never happy. Liverpool beat the Premiership Champions, who are presently still top, 2-0 and we get the criticism that they "played very defensively in the second half when attacking the KOP". What a surprise! Chelsea "threw the kitchen sink" at them in the second half, as Roy said. Would you have preferred that Liverpool didn't defend? With great goalkeeping and really commmited defence, Liverpool kept them out. Totally. Kept out the champions and scored twice against them. That result would be accepted readily by EVERY Premiership manager, indeed by almost every manager in the world!

    As if this complaint is not enough, you then say (of Roy Hodgson) "sadly he is a small team manager in the wrong team". Really? He's managed three International teams and the current European Champions. Oh, I'm sure you'll dismiss these inconvenient facts but might it not have something to do with the fact that you, along with many other LFC supporters it must be said, just didn't want Hodgson in the first place (but Dalglish maybe?) and will never rate allow Roy credit no matter what he achieves. Also, you might have noticed how many of the game's most senior and respected managers, have, over many years, expressed their admiration for Roy Hodgson. Are they all deluded?

    All I'm saying really is give Roy and Liverpool a proper chance before criticising. They need a full transfer window and the rest of this season for all the newcomers to gel together properly. After this, we all have a right to jusge and criticise, but by then it will be based on a meaningful set of results and not on the results during a short period during and immediately following a terribly disruptive ownership dispute, where the confidence of many players was badly damaged.

  • Comment number 64.

    Great performance considering our start to the season.

    The 1st half we were effective in all areas and defensively solid throughout. It did help that Drogba wasn't on for the start or arguably off shade with a slight illness but Chelsea were far from toothless.

    The 2nd half i expected us to be cautious with our previous form and not wanting to let the match slip, Chelsea had a lot of the ball but the whole team held out brilliantly which is something we've been failing to do of late.

    Lucas ain't a world class player, i wouldn't even call him a top player but in our current midfield he's looking a better option than others in the slot. Poulsen already for me doesn't have anything to offer, he's got the Babel factor as far as i can see and i don't write many players off but i did Babel years ago and Poulsen fills me with the same feeling. Ever since Lucas's 1st season where he was poor (while being played out of posistion) he put the time in at the gym last season, worked his socks off and had a fair season if not decent. The guys still young and proves he's committed what more could you want?

    If we had a 30m rated world class midfielder in the team would Lucas be in? No. But you can only play with the cards your dealt and at the moment he's one of the better options and proves his commitment. He must be doing something right in training to be considered but people only make snap judgements on the odd incident they see in the match.

    The squad was solid last night against, lets not forget the Champions and the team that looked unstoppable (even to me, and i still think they will win the league).

    We needed the confidence, we got that and in that we got back Torres. I don't think he was comfortable with his support and the same could be said of Maxi who when he's up for it like he was in a few games last season, his inter-play with Gerrard was brilliant. His confidence is coming back too because he's been quite poor in previous matches where you can see a lack of confidence.

    The midfield is starting to gel and the passing will come but its obvious we need signings. I do however feel we should stabilize in January and not splash the cash. A striker and a winger/decent holding midfielder is all we need (not want) for now.

  • Comment number 65.

    So, who's up for a bit of 'Phil McNulty Blogs Premiership Fantasy League' action?

    Let's see how the teams are doing, eh?

    Post Categories so far this season
    8 Nov: Liverpool
    3 Nov: Spurs
    1 Nov: Man City
    31 Oct: Aston Villa, Birmingham
    24 Oct: Man Utd
    22 Oct: Man Utd
    20 Oct: Man Utd
    19 Oct: Man Utd
    18 Oct: Man Utd
    17 Oct: Liverpool
    13 Oct: England
    11 Oct: England
    8 Oct: Premier League
    4 Oct: England
    3 Oct: Liverpool
    29 Sept: Liverpool, Everton
    25 Sept: Man City
    20 Sept: Liverpool, Man Utd
    15 Sept: Man Utd, Rangers
    13 Sept: Man Utd, Rangers
    11 Sept: Everton, Man Utd
    10 Sept: England
    8 Sept: England
    7 Sept: Aston Villa
    6 Sept: England
    4 Sept: England
    2 Sept: England
    29 August: Blackpool, Fulham
    26 August: Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd, Spurs
    24 August: Liverpool, Man City
    12 August: Premier League

    Which means there are 41 Premier League Specific Team Post Categories in total (discounting the general Premiership blogs).

    And here's the Phil McNulty Blogs Premiership Fantasy League table
    Man Utd = 10
    Liverpool = 6
    Man City = 3
    Spurs = 2
    Aston Villa = 2
    Everton = 2
    Birmingham = 1
    Blackpool = 1
    Fulham = 1
    Arsenal = 1
    Chelsea = 1
    Newcastle = 0
    Bolton = 0
    Sunderland = 0
    West Brom = 0
    Blackpool = 0
    Blackburn = 0
    Stoke = 0
    Wigan = 0
    Wolves = 0
    West Ham = 0

    Other topics:
    Premier League (general) = 2
    England = 8
    Rangers = 2

    Which means that Liverpool and Man Utd have more blogs than the rest of the league put together (16 to 14), discounting the general premier league blogs.

    What a surprise.

    It's a two horse race really isn't it? Everyone else just shouldn't bother reading.

  • Comment number 66.

    BigLRed,

    Its indisputable that Chelsea have failed in the away games at City and Liverpool, losing in both cases to teams who outfought them in tight games, and took the few chances on offer. Re the Arsenal game, "under the cosh" is the sought of nonsense that Wenger came up with afterwards. Chelsea were in control, and were deserved winners. The games against Spurs and United should indeed be crackers. Will be good to see the best midfielder in the world Gareth Bale. Oh hang on that was last week, this week its Stevie G.

  • Comment number 67.

    The least 'predictable' season in the Premier League for a long time, with the three newly-promoted clubs holding their own and those that have finished regularly in the top four in the last decade stuttering. Is the standard across the twenty clubs higher than in previous years or are the so-called big clubs no longer as strong ?

    Raging Ball

    Serious Football

  • Comment number 68.

    Liverpool have had the worst start to the season imaginable, but if results go are way we could be in fourth spot come Saturday night. We have Wigan on Wednesday and Stoke on Saturday and with all respect we have to be looking for six points from those games. I dont expect results to go are way, Newcastle have two home games, as do City ( an easy three points on Wednesday for them!)and also Spurs have two home games, but you never know we could go fourth on Saturday!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Looks like the moderators have gone on their mid morning tea/coffee break.

  • Comment number 70.

    So Phil...

    You have twice raised the point about Terry complaining to the ref too much!

    Several posters on here have replied that Gerrard was doing exactly the same and was in Webb's ear the entire match!

    Therefore it is only right you reply!

    Do you disagree? Or did you think it would be good and fair journalism to just highlight Terry and ignore Gerrard?

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    i think that chelsea did not play well,but then liverpool to me did not offer anything apart from defending and torres goal.without gerrard and tores they would still struggle.chelsea could have still scored two easy goals in that game and they controled the game a bit in the second half.as for webb,he makes some little bad decisions which affects the game in whole.he is an inconsistent refree.have never liked him.congrats to liverpool though.chelsea still favorites to retain the trophy.

  • Comment number 73.

    Ancelotti should be worried big time about his midfield when he can't pick his first choice.Aside from Torres Liverpool were no threat,yet chelsea got outplayed by the likes of Lucas,Kuyt and Mereiles,please do me a favour! Zhirkov showed why he is a squad player,and Ramires looked lost,Mikel is okay when better players are around him but put him in a situation when he has to make things happen,well forget it.As for Kalou he confirms whar everybody knows already knows about him.The amount of good games he has played can be counted on the fingers of one hand,not a great return in six years!

  • Comment number 74.

    Phil you talk about the effect of Chelsea not having their best three players Drogba, Essien and Lampard in this match but last season and indeed some part of this season when Arsenal have been without their best three players Van Persie, Fabregas and Vermalaen you've always ignored that and lambasted Wenger.

  • Comment number 75.

    "The touch of finesse to take control of Kuyt's clever pass and lift a finish over Petr Cech"

    Surely you're not refering to the occasion where Torres scuffed the ball causing it to bounce into the turf and over Cech?

    Much better from Torres and Liverpool, hope we can keep this momentum going now, another couple of wins should put us right in the Top 6.

  • Comment number 76.

    I love the irony of the fact that Liverpool are "nothing without Gerrard and Torres" and yet without Essien and Lampard (or Drogba) Chelsea looked vulnerable at the back and pretty clueless up front!

    I think that both Gerrard and Terry were encouraged to be in dialogue with Howard Webb and despite his faults, I like his style. If he talks to the players, they can understand his decisions and it defuses the 'them and us' dictatorial position adopted by many Officials.

    Quite how JT didn't get a yellow card could well be debateable but then my red tinted glasses probably missed more than a couple of rash Red challenges too!!!

  • Comment number 77.

    46. At 10:44am on 08 Nov 2010, Mr Chelsea wrote:

    however we did have essien missing and lampard. two of the worlds best centre midfielders.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Essien is one person. Who is this other centre midfielder you refer to?

  • Comment number 78.

    Hmmmm ! Some mildly contentious stuff on here, but Phil I think your blog is balanced. Reading the responses and others posted yesterday on other sites, I have a new found respect for Ancelotti, Chelsea and many of their fans.
    As a Reds fan, I took some comfort from the match, in that we won. It wasn't a 'convincing' win, it could easily have gone the other way but for a little luck in Reina's goalmouth and some spectacular form from a certain Spanish striker.
    Equally as important as the win yesterday, are comments from Hodgson. It would be prudent to not get 'too excited' about a run of 4 wins (three EPL and one Europa). Blackburn and Bolton were dogged displays more akin to Roy's Fulham, than something you would expect from a 'top four' club in the EPL. Napoli was a great result which in reality had Gerrard in similar form in the second half as Torres' first half yesterday. I say then, lets stay grounded, slightly cautious, but delight in the fact that some more bricks have been laid to turn this season into one of moderate and relative success. Realistically as a Liverpool fan, I am hopeful that with Europa and FA Cup still to play for, we still stand a chance of silverware and league wise, on current position and form, Champions League for 2011-2012 season is viable.
    There is still much work to do at Liverpool, and as a true fan I offer my support to NESV, our Manager and our team (all players without exception), but retain the right to challenge their offerings based on results and achievement.

    A final comment.....the EPL 'had' lost its way over the last few seasons. It is truly exciting, once again to look at the table six weeks shy of Christmas and genuinely believe that there are opportunities for many more upsets giving us a grandstand finish in May, if not for the top spot certainly for second through seventh !

    Well done Redmen !!

  • Comment number 79.

    My second blog and I've already got a yellow card. I'll be back



  • Comment number 80.

    Re Vidic/Torres

    Torres arrived in 07/8. Results that season were 1-0 and 3-0 to United. Torres didn't do anything of note in either.

    In 08/9 I'm inclined to think Torres didn't start at Anfield when awful mistakes by VDS/Brown & Giggs gifted Liverpool a deserved 2-1 win in which Vidic was sent off. Then of course came the 4-1 OT horrorshow featuring a Vidic mistake for the first goal by Torres and a clumsy foul which saw him sent off again.

    The following season 09/10 it was Ferdinand not Vidic who was left for dead by Torres for their opener in a 2-0 win. Vidic got a yellow for a foul on Torres but generally did ok. The second goal was on the break in the dying minutes. The game at OT featured a Torres goal which resulted from poor midfield play by Michaal Carrick. Vidic was not at fault.

    This season Torres won a pen and fk from Evans and O'Shea at OT. Vidic was not personally culpable and those were the only moments Torres or Liverpool contributed to the match.

    The 4-1 game has clouded everyones thinking of that particular duel which all results considered has been pretty even.

  • Comment number 81.

    post #1 - manutdfan - what are you talking about? You are worried about Man U because a 'squad' player had a good game. Is it not a sign of strength that a player who is perhaps not a regular 1st choice provided the goals in a victory against a team who beat City last week. Total nonsense.
    Agree with you that Torres is an asset to the league though - no one wants to see players of his class with their head down

  • Comment number 82.

    #77 BournemouthRed

    Could be the one that scored and created 32 league goals last season. More than anyone else in the league?

  • Comment number 83.

    "It was only a little over a month ago that Hodgson heard Liverpool's fans, famous for their patience with managers, chant ominously for Anfield icon Kenny Dalglish during that Blackpool defeat, so he is well aware of the game's fickle nature."

    I wasn't at the Blackpool game but I've been going to Anfield on a regular basis for 10 years and on pretty much every occasion Kenny Dalglish's name has been chanted or sung, because he is widely regarded as the greatest player to have played for Liverpool.

    It sounds like the cheap tabloids were trying to make a story here.

  • Comment number 84.

    Oh well, crisis seems to be over, top 4 finish seems practically sealed and Torres back to his very very best on a permanent basis then!

  • Comment number 85.

    77. At 12:08pm on 08 Nov 2010, BournemouthRed wrote:
    ---------------------------------

    hello buddy.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/8648924.stm

    do you see the guy in the centre of the picture. the one who wasnt there yesterday. thats him :-)

    the guy on the left coincidentally of the picture in that link had a good game yesterday as he didnt have essien putting him in his backpocket as per usual.

  • Comment number 86.

    Hamburgblue,

    Re: the Chelsea Arsenal match was a tight match, but before the 70th minute I only remember Arsenal having chances. I dont remember a chance for Chelsea to note apart from the genious of Drogba. I am not an Arsenal fan, nor a Chelsea hater, I call it like I see it.
    Other than that I agree that we will have another player next week who'll be the best player the premiership has EVER seen, until the week after.

    Just look at Torres. He was responsible for the last 6 goals LFC have scored, only to be told that he is useless, past his best, wanting to leave and not in the right frame of mind. Now, he is the BEST striker in the world, because he scored two against Chelsea. The clue is in the middle.

  • Comment number 87.

    You gotta love this game eh.... it's the only place where so many home 'experts' can ply their trade at the same time as countless thousands of others across the nation find their niche identity and outpour their emotions within the family of sport that allows them a belonging and sense of collective pride that otherwise seems missing in their drab greedy life of consuming! No wonder the players earn fortunes, they are the contemporary gladiators in a theatre of social control that keeps the masses busy while a few become very rich and powerful at the spectators expense. Does this animal really have a lengthy future?

  • Comment number 88.

    @yapyw00 - "9 of the Liverpool starters were from last season's team. The other 3 i.e. Meireles, Konchesky and Kelly cannot be better than those they replaced i.e Alonso/Masch, Aurelio and Glen Johnson."

    Is that how Liverpool won, by putting 12 men on the pitch?

    @tomefccam - "Chelsea had half a side, missing their 3 best players. Lampard, Essien, and Drogba." How many games has Lampard played this season that can justify that comment? Malouda and Cole have also had a great season, as has Cech. And whose fault is it that Drogba was on the bench? Hardly an excuse...

  • Comment number 89.

    He then played very defensively in the second half when attacking the KOP. Sadly he is a small team manager in the wrong team.

    Do you not understand that a 2-0 lead at half time, against the champions, at home, is a pretty good position to be in. Maybe, had chelsea made it 2-1 you would 'attack the kop' and go for that third goal but whilst it was 2-0 why push forward so much?? I get the feeling that poor old Roy just can't win with some people....perhaps if you actually went to watch football live more often you would understand. There's no pleasing some people

    .....and Koscielny shouldnt of been sent off yesterday ;)

  • Comment number 90.

    #59 and #62

    IM sorry, blackpool et all is one thing, Tores is another. The start to the season Chelsea had was to do with the opposition they faced. As soon as they faced a decent side (Man city) they were in trouble, with Terry again in some trouble if I mind right. Again yesterday. torress causes him bother. Same with Alex who seemed lethargic.

    It will be interesting once they face Manu and spurs. Mobile strikers like Defoe/hernandez really seem to unsettle chelseas back line and when faced with real closing dwon in midfield Mikel is shown to be far to slow with his distrobution

  • Comment number 91.

    Rubbernutz.

    Sorry to offend you with my grammar, when you are perfect in all your communications, come back and criticise me.

    Just for your information, I was a season ticket holder at Liverpool for 25 years (79-04)and saw both good and bad times.

    Part of the problem with Liverpool fans is that they believe they have a right to be amongst the elite, their memories of recent cup successes only enhancing that belief. Hodgson is shot down within 4 months of being appointed.

    The reality is that Liverpool are now in the same class as Tottenham, perceived big club, good in cups from time to time but as far as league achievement, forget it.

    Redknapp aint getting grief, why should Hodgson. Oh yes, Rafa won the Premiership didnt he ? So did Houllier. so did Evans, so did Souness.

    Liverpool will not win the title for another 20 years (they will become the equivalent of England at international level - win a trophy once, and then EXPECTATION is that every 2 years they will become either European or World Champions). The reality with England is the total opposite to the expectation given the history of short term thinking at international level.

    Question - will Liverpool fans accept even another 2/3/4 seasons of building ? As with most fans, I suspect the answer will be no.

    Fail to beat Wigan and Stoke and the knives will be out again but that problem with not beating the so called "lesser" teams has been Liverpool's achilles heel for 20 years and more, I remember Man Utd not losing at Anfield for many years when Liverpool were in their heyday in the late 70/80's. Who won the titles ?

    Liverpool cannot consistently beat the so called lesser teams, have failed to do so for 20 years so please less hyperbole when the probablity of failing to get 2 away wins this week comes to fruition.








  • Comment number 92.

    BigLRed,

    Your last comment about Torres, reminds me of a delicious moment in the game (even if it was painful as a Chelsea fan) when our expert Andy Gray and commentator just finished slagging off Torres having lost his touch, when he deftly controls Kuyt's ball, and slotted home. Then they pretended that they had been lauding him all along. Laughable !!!

  • Comment number 93.

    viverra u beat me to it!!

  • Comment number 94.

    #87 divaldo

    Ha, that made me laugh. You're pretty right though.

    That said, I'd like to think that though I have an opinion on what I saw yesterday, though not a strong one, I couldn't be accused of living vicariously through 'my' team.

  • Comment number 95.

    80. At 12:20pm on 08 Nov 2010, Bellion-Wonderland wrote:
    Re Vidic/Torres

    Torres arrived in 07/8. Results that season were 1-0 and 3-0 to United. Torres didn't do anything of note in either.

    In 08/9 I'm inclined to think Torres didn't start at Anfield when awful mistakes by VDS/Brown & Giggs gifted Liverpool a deserved 2-1 win in which Vidic was sent off. Then of course came the 4-1 OT horrorshow featuring a Vidic mistake for the first goal by Torres and a clumsy foul which saw him sent off again.

    The following season 09/10 it was Ferdinand not Vidic who was left for dead by Torres for their opener in a 2-0 win. Vidic got a yellow for a foul on Torres but generally did ok. The second goal was on the break in the dying minutes. The game at OT featured a Torres goal which resulted from poor midfield play by Michaal Carrick. Vidic was not at fault.

    This season Torres won a pen and fk from Evans and O'Shea at OT. Vidic was not personally culpable and those were the only moments Torres or Liverpool contributed to the match.

    The 4-1 game has clouded everyones thinking of that particular duel which all results considered has been pretty even.

    -------------------------------------
    You are right in Sep 08 Torres didn't play at all.
    In the 4:1 Horrow show, Vidic ended up looking scared before getting sent off.
    In the 2:0 vidic gets booked in the 74 min for a two footed lunge at Torres who gets subbed 4 mins later.
    For the game at Old Trafford you tell me Vidic wasn't at Fault, what's his role in the team? Striker?
    For the 2:1 to United in March 2010 Torres scored again, and bookies were offering 20:1 for Vidic to see red. Here is a report of the goal "GOAL! Manchester United 0-1 Liverpool Cripes - I had just been writing that we were yet to see a chance when the ball was fed to Dirk Kuyt dashing down the right channel. He got to the touchline and cut it back to Fernando Torres, who had drifted away from Neville at the back post and arrived in the middle of the area to thump a header past Van der Sar"
    No mention of Vidic who was a central defender at the time, where was he or Ferdinand if the full back was cut out of the game, one of them should have got across.
    Son on the balance, there is far more mention of Torres doing his job, and pretty much nothing about the central defensive paring stopping him. I am not saying it's all down to Vidic but to excuse him the way you do, he would have to be on the subs bench.

  • Comment number 96.

    i think Kelly had a great game especially given the opposition and the stature of the game. What it does mean is that Hodgson should have a look at Glen Johnson at right midfield. Not saying he will turn into a gareth bale but everyone knows he offers more going forward then defending...Means that Kuyt can stay close to Torres, which i believe is a better position for him - and then Lucas and Miereles can fight for a slot with Stevie and Joe Cole, once he is fit and finding form.. can take Maxi's spot...
    much better all round

  • Comment number 97.

    Phil McNulty:
    "And in conclusion for now to Andy...you complain about a positive Liverpool blog. Not sure I can win on this one seeing as I received plenty of flak for criticising Liverpool after they lost to Northampton, Blackpool and Everton."

    .......................................................................

    No...Phil...I think you miss the point as usual...the complaints are not about the "spin" of your Liverpool Blog...Just the fact that, yet again, IT IS ANOTHER LIVERPOOL BLOG!!!! Why don't you just cave in and entitle your whole blog "Phil McNulty - he cant help writing about Liverpool.."

  • Comment number 98.

    Liverpool for the league next year then.

  • Comment number 99.

    @20 RH is still on probation. With no disrespect at all there is no point in beating Chelski, if you are going to lose to the likes of Blackpool. That is the reason MH lost his job at ManCity last season, and that is the reason Arse.nal will not win this year's EPL. I still maintain that both long term and short term RH is not right for LFC. He is constantly associated with the likes of SWP, CC, and he brought Konchesky and Poulsen. We learn from the board game Monopoly that you sell quantity to buy quality (neither Poulsen nor Konchesky is quality). Acquilani may not have been very good but I can say without contradiction that Poulsen is not much better. As JM once said if you want a quality omelet you star with quality eggs bought at Sainsbury. Well RH appears to shop from the flea market of football where you find the SWPs and CCs of the football world. So IMO RH still needs to be replaced. The most obvious sign is the arrival of Damien. A casual glance at Chelski and Man*** shows that CA and SAF are the respective directors of football strategy, so if RH is any good he should be competing with CA and SAF and not have the Damiens of this world to show him the way. Is is possible that Damien is somehow responsible for the changing fortunes of LFC? Just a thought!

  • Comment number 100.

    Phil you say that you can't win for posting a positive Liverpool blog and were criticised for writing a negative one after Northampton/Blackpool/Everton, I suspect that you are missing the point - maybe you should blog about something OTHER than Liverpool (Chelsea, Man City or Man Utd).

    I must also say that I am glad that one of you reporters has finally pointed out that Terry tries to act like the referee, only thing being that he has been like that for years but it takes him to do it against Liverpool for it to talked about!

 

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