Fernando Torres's disappointing start to 2010/11 has mirrored that of Liverpool FC – so it is appropriate that the day he hit form with two goals to defeat leaders Chelsea FC 2-0 was the one that moved the Reds into the top half of the Premier League.
Liverpool were in the bottom three before last weekend but back-to-back league wins, either side of a stirring fightback against SSC Napoli in the UEFA Europa League, has taken them up to ninth, within five points of the top four. It was only Chelsea's second league defeat of the season and Torres, after struggling to shake off the injury that restricted him at the FIFA World Cup, showed all of his trademark vim and predatory finishing with the two first-half strikes. It doubled his tally for the season.
Every day I am feeling better and improving," Torres said. "It has been difficult. It was a tough end of [last] season for me, and so was the World Cup, with lots of injuries. I don't know if I can play my best soon, but I hope I will."
Manager Roy Hodgson was understandably delighted. "I am pleased Fernando will get all the plaudits," he said. "He has taken his fair share of criticism, some of which has been exaggerated and not deserved, but people will now say he is back to his best. Let's hope that is the case. It certainly was against Chelsea."
Tribute to the Spain forward was also paid by Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, whose team are now only two points ahead of Manchester United FC. They could lose their lead on Wednesday when they face Fulham FC and Sir Alex Ferguson's side are also in derby action at Manchester City FC. "He scored two fantastic goals and showed he was fit and has come back from a poor spell," Ancelotti said. "He is a fantastic striker."
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