So Liverpool won at Anfield to record their fourth victory in a row which many felt wasn’t possible. However it was an assured display from the Reds who dominated the game and had kept Chelsea at an arm’s length for the majority of the game. It was no surprise to see the team celebrate at the end as it was a great team performance.
Anfield was certainly rocking on Sunday and it will have given great encouragement to all the players and manager that they are certainly on the right path and taking a step forward. Also Torres has now scored 60 goals in 90 league appearances which show’s his quality. Astonishingly 44 goals have come in 47 appearances at Anfield which is a great feat considering the Spaniard has been struggling with injuries in the last few seasons.
Now we can’t get too carried away with what has happened but it does bring a new sense of optimism to the club and the fans considering just a few weeks it was thought that a club of Liverpool’s stature would be involved in a relegation dog fight.
Torres took his first after a beautifully flighted ball from Dirk Kuyt who just returned after five weeks on the sidelines from an injury with the Dutch national team over the heads of John Terry and Ashley Cole which Torres dispatched into the bottom corner with ease one touch to set himself the second to strike the ball.
The second came after the ball was won in the middle of the park which broke to Miereles who passed the ball to Torres who on the left hand side of the area cut inside Ivanovic and all Peter Cech and John Terry could do was watched as the ball curled into the top corner. The delight was clear to see on Torres’s face as the clubs top marksmen returned to goal scoring form.
The 4-4-2 formation worked for Hodgson as Torres had more support at the top of the pitch but also dropped back to help the midfield. Lucas worked tirelessly throughout the game even eclipsing Gerrard and was quick to close down Ramieres , Zhirkov and Mikel he gave them no room to breathe let alone make passes which left the creative talents of Malouda, Anelka and Kalou and the later Drogba stifled.
Even in the second half Liverpool had to withstand periods of large pressure from Chelsea after introduction of Drogba, even then the team stood firm with two lines of four which made it very hard to penetrate, each player stuck to the task with Kuyt again running around like the energiser bunny helping the midfield allowing Miereles to help Lucas and Gerrard by going into the middle. The defence also looked sturdy with Martin Kelly at the back doing a better job than what most people consider Johnson would have done.
During the large amount of pressure that the Liverpool defence had to with stand Drogba sent a free-kick wide. Ramires headed over. Malouda was thwarted only by a remarkable reaction save from Reina. Anelka also drilled in a shot saved by Pepe which came back off the bar only for Carragher to step in and stop Drogba from converting the chance and Reina to gather. That last ditch attempt to stop Drogba from getting the ball epitomised the character and spirit of the Liverpool side looking to secure all three points and leaving with a clean sheet.
Liverpool fought hard, throughout the game and this could be seen through the work carried out by Kuyt. Like Torres, the Dutchman received the compliment of a flattening by Terry. Kuyt took no notice and gave Terry a clattering later himself and soon made Cech pull out a superb save, before departing to a standing ovation. Gerrard was working overtime stopping dangerous Chelsea attacks, running back to cut out an Anelka cross from the left.
Liverpool held on to win and the delight was clear to see for everyone. The thing is as previously when playing well this season Liverpool have gone a step back, we need to use these wins as a platform and look at the performance yesterday and build upon it. There was a lot of positives to take, Gerrard was once again running the show in the middle, Lucas proved his many critics wrong by putting in another assured sterling display, Martin Kelly proved he can play against the best and also that he deserves a starting place the lad never put a foot wrong really.
Liverpool now have two tough away fixtures at Wigan and Stoke, let’s see how he sets up the team for these fixtures but at present the doom and gloom has been lifted for a while with the future looking a bit brighter with Liverpool in the top half of the table and their best performance under Hodgson who must be credited with his tactics and team selection doing something Liverpool fans have wanted and that’s playing two up front.