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Alonso & Torres Rescue Liverpool







Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool

A moment of Spanish magic from Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres saw Liverpool come away from the Stadium of Light with a fortuitous 1-0 win against Sunderland.


Benitez started the match with his new strike partnership of Fernando Torres and Robbie Keane up front, whilst Xabi Alonso was left on the bench with the youngster Damien Plessis partnering Steven Gerrard in midfield. Sunderland, meanwhile, gave debuts to new signings Pascal Chimbonda, Teemu Tainio, Steed Malbranque and El-Hadji Diouf.

Yet Liverpool began the game in shaky fashion, particularly at the back where Sami Hypia was especially nervy. An early weak header back to goalkeeper Reina almost putting in Diouf. Fortunately for the visitors, the Senegalese hesitated and a covering Jamie Carragher managed to clear.

The home side, by contrast, were knocking the ball around confidently, particularly in midfield with Reid, Richardson and Malbranque looking good on the ball and attempting to find Diouf, who was making a nuisance of himself up front.

The home side’s best chance of the first half fell to Daryl Murphy. Richardson and Diouf combined well on the left, with the former Bolton man managing to whip in a decent cross which Murphy managed to connect with, however his header lacked power and failed to really trouble Reina.

Liverpool, meanwhile, were struggling to create any real chances although they did grow into the game as the match wore on. The much vaunted partnership of Torres and Keane saw little of the ball in the first half and it fell to captain Steven Gerrard to try and rouse his side.

The closest Benitez’s men came to a goal was minutes before the interval. New signing Robbie Keane brought the ball down well on the edge of the box before firing a low shot well wide.

Benitez changed things at half time with Xabi Alonso replacing the youngster Damien Plessis and Liverpool gradually began to apply some pressure and dominate possession.

Yet the first real chance of the second half fell to the home side and once again, Diouf. Richardson on the break, slipped in Murphy whose cross was met by the forward but, again, his header couldn’t beat Reina when well placed.

Roy Keane opted to change things, replacing Tainio with Whitehead on the hour mark and the game began to open up. Steven Gerrard was driving his side forward but Sunderland were defending well and managing to get bodies back and shield Gordon.

However, their defensive shield almost conspired to give Liverpool the lead with twenty minutes to go. A Kuyt shot was deflected and almost fooled goalkeeper Gordon. However, a decent parry by the Sunderland stopper fell to Fernando Torres whose tap in was blocked by Robbie Keane.

That was the last of the action for Keane, whose disappointing debut was ended early, the Irishman replaced by El-Zhar.

And with ten minutes to go the game looked to be heading for a draw but Fernando Torres, so often Liverpool’s match winner last season, decided to intervene despite having been quiet for much of the game.

Substitute Alonso put the ball through to his compatriot who controlled it on the edge of the box before firing a low shot into the corner and past Gordon to give Liverpool the lead.

The home side were stunned and were unable to respond yet despite the result manager Roy Keane will be pleased with the performance. Although Sunderland still look a little lightweight up front, they do appear to have improved on last season.

Benitez, however will be delighted with the victory especially when it had looked as though the afternoon would end in frustration for Liverpool.

Last season, draws were the problem for the Anfield side, 13 in total which quickly put them out of the title race. Whilst the performance was far below what Benitez will be demanding from his team, today’s victory suggests they may just be ready to move on.

Sunderland: Gordon; Chimbonda, Nosworthy, Collins, Bardsley; Malbranque (Edwards, 73), Tainio (Whitehead, 56), Reid, Richardson; Diouf (Chopra, 81); Murphy.

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Dossena, Carragher, Hyypia, Benayoun (Aurelio, 81), Kuyt, Gerrard, Plessis (Alonso, 46), Torres, Keane (El Zhar, 76).




Torres scored the only goal against Sunderland to give Liverpool a great start of the Premier League season with three points.



83′ F Torres







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Alonso & Torres Rescue Liverpool Reviewed by admin Ucop on 5:44 PM Rating: 5

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