Fernando Torres’ second half double gave Liverpool a comfortable and deserved 2-0 win at Everton on Saturday.
Torres had been somewhat frustrated until he opened the scoring from a clever Robbie Keane cross, volleying home from close range. Just three minutes later he doubled the advantage firing high into the net as the ball broke free after good work by the ever-industrious Dirk Kuyt.
Torres’ goals were the first goals scored whilst both he and new strike partner Keane were on the pitch together this season and put Liverpool temporarily back on top of the Premier League table.
Everton had Tim Cahill sent off late on for a double footed challenge and Liverpool had 2 goals disallowed inside a minute when Kuyt and Torres both had the ball in the back of the net but controversial referee Mike Riley disallowed both, Torres’ in-particular seemed harsh and denied him a hat-trick.
BBC Sport Report
Fernando Torres struck twice in three minutes as Liverpool comfortably eased past Everton in the Merseyside derby.
Torres slid home Robbie Keane’s cross after 59 minutes then pounced on a loose ball to score from close range after Phil Jagielka tackled Dirk Kuyt.
Tim Cahill had Everton‘s best chance after 13 minutes but mis-kicked from Mikel Arteta’s corner.
Everton‘s misery was complete when referee Mike Riley sent Cahill off for fouling Xabi Alonso after 80 minutes.
It was a victory that gives Liverpool their best start to a Premier League season – with star striker Torres ending a barren six-game sequence in style and keeper Pepe Reina not having a save to make in the match.
But Everton‘s struggles continue as this marked their third home defeat in three league games this season – and they now face a pivotal Uefa Cup clash with Standard Liege in Belgium on Thursday with the tie locked at 2-2.
Everton recalled Tony Hibbert for the first time this season after knee surgery, allowing Phil Neville to push into central midfield alongside Â£15m club record signing Marouane Fellaini.
Liverpool dominated possession for lengthy periods of the first half, but failed to test Everton keeper Tim Howard.
Everton‘s Cahill had the best chance after 13 minutes when Arteta’s corner squirmed through to find him unmarked, but the Australian midfield man could not make proper contact when unmarked only eight yards out.
Torres was unhappy at what he clearly felt was an over-physical approach from Everton‘s defenders, and his frustration increased when he saw a goal-bound shot on the turn blocked by Jagielka.
The Spanish striker finally tested Howard with a tame effort after 51 minutes, and Steven Gerrard was only inches off target seconds later with an angled drive that had Howard scrambling.
Torres finally got it right after 59 minutes when he was allowed to escape at the far post to expertly steer in a perfect cross from Keane.
And he slammed in a second from close range three minutes later when he pounced after Jagielka’s excellent tackle denied Kuyt right in front of goal.
He thought he had completed a five-minute hat-trick when he beat Howard again from close range, but referee Riley awarded a free-kick against Kuyt.
Everton had barely threatened the Liverpool goal, but they almost pulled one back with 13 minutes left when Joleon Lescott’s cross flew across the face of goal with Fellaini and Yakubu unable to apply the finishing touch.
And Everton‘s miserable afternoon got worse a minute later when Cahill was shown the red card by Riley for a foul on Alonso.
Everton substitute Louis Saha shot just wide with seconds remaining – but it was a minor inconvenience to Liverpool keeper Reina on what was otherwise an afternoon of dominance for Rafael Benitez’s side.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert (Saha 62), Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott, Osman, Cahill, Neville, Fellaini, Arteta, Yakubu
Subs not used: Nash, Baines, Castillo, Vaughan, Valente, Rodwell
Booked: Fallaini (9), Yakubu (48), Neville (64)
Sent off: Cahill (79)
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Dossena, Kuyt, Gerrard, Alonso (Lucas 85), Riera (Aurelio 66), Keane (Pennant 85), Torres
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Babel, Agger, Hyypia
Booked: Alonso (39), Torres (55), Arbeloa (75)
Referee: Mike Riley