Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Torres Treble Defeats Reading

Liverpool Advances Into Next Round

Carling Cup 3rd Round

Reading 2 - 4 LIVERPOOL


REA - Convey 28, Halls 64;

LIV - Benayoun 23, Torres 50, 72, 86;

A stunning hat trick from Fernando Torres ensured Liverpool's safe passage to the next round of Carling Cup and ended the Red's 3 games winless streak.

Although Reading did make life much more difficult with 2 equalisers, it was the class of Torres which proved to be the ultimate difference between the two sides. Yossi Benayoun, too, was on the score sheet with a breathtaking opener.

Rafa Benitez once again ringed changes to the side with Alvaro Arbeloa drafted into an unfamiliar centre defender position with Fabio Aurelio returned to his favoured left back slot after recovering from injury.

Lucas Leiva partnered Momo Sissoko in the middle of the park while Peter Crouch and Fernando Torres started their first competitive game together upfront. It was a strong side on paper and there was also a tinge of youthfulness on the bench with reserve captain, Jack Hobbs, and starlet, Ray Putteril, on the sidelines.

With 3 disappointing outings to Portsmouth, Porto and Birmingham, Liverpool looked to bounce back and kick start their campaign once again after a promising start. But it wasn't easy at all, with Reading proving to be a tough opposition with much resilience and doggedness.

They started the game off brightly and controlled the tempo of the game while Liverpool seemed to be on the back foot most of the time.

The home side were most definitely the better side of the opening periods of the game and really should have taken the lead when Leroy Lita was completely left unmarked in the six yard box and his free head was straight at stand in goalkeeper, Charles Itandje.

It would've surely changed the face of the game had it gone in because Liverpool struck back just a minute later.

Yossi Benayoun weaved past two challenges before planting a powerful shot right into the top corner, leaving Adam Federici with absolutely no chance. It was the Israeli's first ever goal for Liverpool and it just showed how much class he has.

But Liverpool's decision to put up with the makeshift defence was paid duly as Reading hit back with a wonderful equaliser through Bobby Convey. Nick Shorey's corner was cleared half heartedly by the Liverpool defence and the American international struck a first time volley and it whistled into the bottom corner of the net.

In the second period of the game, Reading seemed to have lost a bit of steam and Liverpool soon capitalise with Torres' first of the three. Sebastian Leto slipped a brilliant ball for Torres, who beat the offside trap and slotted the ball into the bottom corner with ease.

The goal justified why the Reds were willing to pay a whooping £24million for him in the summer and more were to come.

But once again Liverpool lost concentration at the back and Reading scored through another corner. Perhaps Charles Itandje's inclusion in the squad made the defence a little less assured, which was shown in the second Reading goal.

It was a scramble and Liverpool weren't able to clear their lines while Itandje's indecisiveness and inexperience probably cost the team. John Halls was able to poke the ball into the net despite 3 Liverpool defenders closing him down.

But it was the class of Torres which prevailed and enabled Liverpool to coast to victory at the Madejski stadium.

John Arne Riise's introduction was rewarded as the Norwegian fullback skinned de La Cruz before placing the ball for Torres to awkwardly but skillfully, slice home. It was at all an easy effort yet the Spanish striker made it looked so easy.

Then he put the final nail on Reading's coffin as he was unfazed by the one on one with Reading goalkeeper, Federici. Substituted late on, Gerrard provided the killer ball as Torres then beats the offside trap and found himself only the goalkeeper to beat. He rounded him duly and scored his first ever hat trick for the club.

The goals epitomises a true goalscorer despite the fact that it was only a cup tie. From what we've seen, he is definitely the player we have been missing for a long, long time. It is his predatory instincts and hunger that sets him apart.

A good outing for the Reds and a better one for Torres. Let's hope he continues his good goalscoring form and 6 goals in 6 starts is really quite a feat.

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