2.01.2009

Fernando Torres Strikes Twice, Reds Still Alive


It took 89 minutes, numerous shots on goal, and a gift of a red card to Frank Lampard, until Fernando Torres kept Liverpool in the Premiership title race with two extremely late goals. His match winner sent 44,174 spectators at Anfield into a frenzy, and moments later he finished off a 2-0 victory over Chelsea.

The second half belonged to the Reds, who kept the ball for more than two-thirds of the half, taking full advantage of Chelsea's 10-man side following Lampard's exit at the hour mark. The sending off put a spark to the heels of Liverpool, and bogged Chelsea down in defense, as they played conservative for the last third of the match.

You always knew a goal was in it for Liverpool, as their attack wore down Chelsea. Fabio Aurelio's cross in the 89th set Torres up for his brilliance, and the Spaniard headed the cross into the back of the net. Petr Cech was a second too late for the header, as was Brazilian defender Alex, enabling the ball to ripple into goal, igniting the Kop into chaos at Anfield.

It was fitting for the match winner to go to Torres, who had not scored in nine months at Anfield. The resurrection of his home form could serve as big boost in the arm of Liverpool who entered the match five points adrift of Manchester United at the top of the table. Their inability to win games in the month of January against Stoke, Everton, and Wigan put the "must win" moniker on the match with Chelsea, to which the month of February serves as a beginning.

They're still two points off of league leaders United who have a game in hand, but the win at least delays the slaying of the Reds, while on the other side of the pitch, Chelsea's title hopes are surely gone. Five points off, with United's game in hand puts Chelsea in a nearly impossible spot considering they still have away matches against Arsenal and Aston Villa remaining.

The heartbreaking loss pours salt into the wounds of Lampard's red card, which for all intensive purposes, was one of the worst straight reds that I've ever seen. It set a dismal tone for Scolari's side, and gave Liverpool all the momentum.

Next up for Chelsea is Hull City, followed by a rest of the month which includes difficult home ties with Juventus and Wigan and that treacherous trip to the Midlands to face Villa. It'll be a long month for the Blues, and if Scolari wants to salvage his job, he'll have to pull something out of his hat.

"Liverpool were better than us all game. We need to look again, to try again, we have many games but we are behind two clubs. It is more difficult than before but we have to fight to the end."

—Luiz Felipe Scolari


Photo: The Telegraph


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