Fernando Torres’ two goals proved crucial as Liverpool secured a 3-2 win over West Ham in London on Saturday evening.
The Spaniard showed glimpses of being back to his sharpest after a somewhat sluggish start to the season thus far. He cleverly opened the scoring by beating two defenders and poking past Robert Green and later headed home the winner from a Ryan Babel cross.
In between Torres’ two goals West Ham had twice come from behind to level. The first arrived after livewire winger Zavon Hines was brought down in the box by Jamie Carragher and Alessandro Diamanti controversially scored the spot-kick after slipping and seemingly striking the ball twice. Hines proved a headache for Carragher and Martin Skrtel in the first half, with both Reds’ defenders booked.
At 1-1 Liverpool re-took the lead on 41 minutes. Yossi Benayoun took the corner which allowed Steven Gerrard to rise above the Hammers defence and head goalwards, Dirk Kuyt was on hand to turn it in and claim the goal himself. It was refreshing to see somebody other than Gerrard take a corner and it worked.
But just as it looked like Liverpool would go into half-time leading, their lack of being able to defend corners this season once again proved crucial. Carlton Cole rose to head the home side level on the stroke of half-time.
Babel replaced Kuyt with 30 minutes remaining and provided a different dimension down the right, after some headless shots and dribbles the Dutchman finally remained cool to cross for Torres and the Spaniard claimed his fifth goal of the season with a superb header.
Team Line-ups and Subs
West Ham: Green, Upson (Gabbidon 25), Ilunga, Tomkins, Parker, Noble, Faubert, Behrami (Kovac 27), Cole, Alessandro Diamanti (Dyer 65), Hines.
Subs not used: Kurucz, Gabbidon, Spector, Dyer, Kovac, Payne, Nouble.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Kuyt (Babel 60), Mascherano, Lucas, Benayoun (Aurelio 85), Gerrard, Torres (Riera 90).
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Degen, Dossena.
Referee: Andy Marriner