Sunday, September 28, 2008

Torres at the double for Reds

Cahill off as Toffees come unstuck

Fernando Torres scored both goals as Liverpool secured a 2-0 win over Everton in a typically fierce Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

The Spanish international struck twice in three second-half minutes to give Liverpool the local bragging rights and get them back to winning ways after last weekend's goalless draw with Stoke.

After a goalless first half Torres ended his goal drought by scoring his first goal since the opening day of the season by volleying home Robbie Keane's cross on 59 minutes.

Torres doubled the lead three minutes later when he clinically scored from close-range to put the game beyond Everton.

To compound Everton's misery Tim Cahill was sent off ten minutes from time by referee Mike Riley for a late tackle on Xabi Alonso.

The defeat was Everton's third straight Premier League defeat at home, while Liverpool have got their title challenge back on track and Torres back to form.

Everton should have been ahead after 14 minutes when Cahill failed to make decent contact with an Arteta corner from just six yards.

Joseph Yobo blocked a shot on the turn by Torres and Cahill saw a glancing header go wide at the other end.

Everton were content to commit just Ayegbeni Yakubu up front, with Arteta and Cahill attacking from deep. It meant that Liverpool had the majority of possession as Everton sat back and tried to hit them on the break.

After 26 minutes Joleon Lescott's cross was dropped by Jose Reina under minimal pressure from Fellaini, who spun to strike a fierce shot that Jamie Carragher somehow blocked on the line.

But referee Riley had spotted some sort of infringement, unseen by Everton eyes, and awarded a free-kick. The tempo had now risen a few notches, with Everton at last fired up.

Alonso fired high over before Yakubu turned Martin Skrtel before dragging his shot wide.

Yakubu was booked three minutes into the second half for diving in the box, having pushed the ball past Skrtel before plunging to the floor.

Two minutes later Riley's book was out again, this time for a foul by Torres on Lescott, the Spaniard having spent much of the first period questioning Riley's decisions.

Torres finally channelled his annoyance into the game and saw a 20-yard strike go just wide before Gerrard was much closer from even further out.

Albert Riera should have done better when presented with a shooting chance by Keane but when Torres was denied a clear opportunity, having shrugged off Phil Jagielka, Riley was again on his case, awarding a fortunate free-kick to the hosts.

But after 59 minutes Torres got his own back. Arbeloa robbed Arteta far too easily on the touchline and quick passing involving Riera and Alonso released Keane on the left.

The Irishman's cross to the far post was met beautifully on the volley by the Spaniard to beat Tim Howard.

Three minutes later Torres was celebrating again as Liverpool surged forward again and when Jagielka's tackle 10 yards out stopped Keane in his tracks Torres smashed the ball into the top corner.

Torres scored again seconds later but the effort was ruled out by referee Riley.

Arbeloa was booked after 85 minutes for a retaliatory kick at Cahill after a tussle between the pair, with Everton desperately trying to get back into the game.

Then Yakubu missed an open goal as Leon Osman's cross flashed in front of him.

Five minutes later Cahill was off, with referee Riley showing him a red card for a late challenge on Alonso, after the ball had long gone.

It was the eighth red card in the last eight Merseyside derbies, and the 17th in 33 Premier League clashes between the clubs.

Lucas and Jermaine Pennant replaced Alonso and Keane after 86 minutes. Saha saw a 25-yard shot flash wide in the dying minutes as Everton failed to get back in the game.

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