Sunday, August 17, 2008

Second Season Syndrome? Not For Torres

Fernando Torres Magic Seals Opening Win

English Premiership

0 -1 Liverpool


As Fernando Torres and his fellow Liverpool players stepped out of the Stadium of Light for the opening fixture against Sunderland, fans of the Reds will be hoping that Torres will once again be Liverpool's hero while the skeptics will be rubbing their hand in glee as they expect the Spanish hotshot to show the symptoms of the 'Second Season Syndrome (SSS)'.

Well, that's something which most fans are familiar with, seeing the likes of Marcus Stewart and Sunderland's very own Kevin Philips having the season of their lives before faltering away in their next campaign.

Torres came to England with a reputation and prolific in scoring is anything but. In his Athletico days, he wasted far too many chances and was dubbed as a profligate. But his first season at Anfield was a revelation and though he didn't set the world alight at the European Championship, he scored the most imporant goal that gave Spain their first ever taste of success in the competition since God knows when.

Despite his vast improvement as a player, doubtors are still around to put him down and suspected that he will not have an easy 2nd season in England, with defenders knowing him inside out finally.

Well, they're probably half-right.

Torres, thought didn't contribute much to the game, came up with an absolute cracker to give Liverpool all 3 points in their opening game. As the commentator summed it up perfectly, that was the only significant thing he did the whole game and it's just the one that counts at the end of the day.

Without a shadow of doubt, that is a making of a legend and I'm definitely not hyping this up. You don't expect players to perform at their best game in, game out but all you need is a little bit of sharpness and effectiveness. Torres showed just that.

Rafa Benitez would be relieved to see his side claim all 3 points as Liverpool, who looked uninterested at times, huffed and puffed their way to the finishing line. Without the magical touch of Torres and the much needed introduction of Xabi Alonso, it would've been just another away game for Liverpool, like how they used to do it all the time.

The first half was exactly how Liverpool looked like they were all of last season in their away fixtures. Passive, lacking the drive and energy and most of all, lack of urgency. It looked like there was no cohesion in the team and the passing was absolutely dreadful.

With Carragher and Dossena punting long balls ahead for Torres and Keane, the strikeforce is always going to be second best and until the last 10 minutes of the first period, Liverpool failed to sustain any sort of pressure or getting any sort of momentum.

Sunderland on the other hand, were aggressive and looked more likely to get any breakthrough. They played some lovely football with Steed Malbranque displaying some of his nifty touches and Richardson troubling Alvaro Arbeloa with his direct running.

12 minutes in and Sunderland nearly took the lead through Daryl Murphy but the gigantic striker failed to gather enough power or direction to beat Pepe Reina. That was a warning sign for Liverpool but the visitors failed to wake up.

Yet it was the introduction of Xabi Alonso at half time that was pivotal and turned the game around indirectly. He dictated the tempo of the game well and Liverpool finally looked to have got the upper hand.

Yet it seeemd as though it wasn't going to be Liverpool's afternoon as a Dirk Kuyt's strike was fumbled away by Craig Gordon and just as Torres was about to follow up, Robbie Keane was at the wrong place at the wrong time and the duo that was supposed to form a strike partnership, got into each other's way.

The Liverpool record signing of this summer was subdued and as space in and around the Sunderland defence was premium, he was left isolated and Nyron Nosworthy kept him quiet throughout. He was eventually replaced by Nabil El-Zhar.

Yet Liverpool believed and poured men forward. Xabi Alonso nearly caught Gordon out with an audacious shot from the half-way line. Reminsce of goals against Newcastle and Luton emerged.

Just right after that, Torres came out of the shadow and totally silenced the Sunderland faithfuls with a peach of a strike. He received the ball just outside the penalty area and with much confidence, he let fly and it went to the bottom right of Gordon's goal.

Totally unsavable.

It was just a show of his class and the midas touch of his. You could tell that he's totally delighted with that strike and probably deep down, he's glad he scored in the first game. He'll of course hope that he'll keep this momentum going.

Not the most beautiful display of football but the Liverpool fans should be happy with the 3 points. But they should be slightly worried with the performance in the first half as they looked totally toothless and clueless.

Most importantly, it'll be interesting to see how the Keane-Torres partnership will forge in the coming months after that 'miscommunication'. Here's hoping that it's just a minor hiccup and as the season goes on, they'll gel and form a deadly strikeforce. The sooner, the better of course.


sajitha said...

An Interesting blog

Ellie said...

Congrats on making it on the Blogs of Note. :D

<3 ellie

Ellie said...

Congrats on making it on the Blogs of Note. :D

<3 ellie

Lakeland Jo said...

congratulations on making the blogs of note page- you deserve it.Its a really smart and informative blog. Pity its not an NUFC blog really- I am a dedicated toon army fan. Mind you- we are all united against Man utd suppose....

Mr. Nissan said...

one guy looked like he was about fall. nice blog.

Life said...

hi, to be honest, i don't like football much. My wife(Soma) used to love football. I was reading your to pay tribute to my wife who died of cancer last yr at age of 39. Well, I must say your blog is very nice and well organized. good luck.

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the dawn of islam said...

great blog..!

figurin said...

Congrats on making it on the Blogs of Note.

tina said...

I don´t like football but I like the players...