x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Rafa hails the quality of Torres

Rafa Benitez, the Liverpool manager, tips Fernando Torres to illuminate the Premier League after the Spanish striker scores two goals in a thrilling 3-2 victory at West Ham.

Rafa Benitez, the Liverpool manager, has tipped Fernando Torres to illuminate the Premier League this season after the Spanish striker scored two goals in a thrilling 3-2 victory at West Ham. "If he continues to play like he did today, he can be one of the best," said Benitez. "When you talk about the Premier League you talk about a lot of players with quality so it is not easy to pick just one, but he is among the best.

Torres struck first in the 19th minute but Alessandro Diamanti was fortunate to level from the penalty spot after slipping as he struck the ball. Dirk Kuyt put Liverpool back in front five minutes before the break only for Carlton Cole to equalise on the stroke of half-time. That left Torres to head the winner in the 75th minute, delighting Benitez. "It is easy to see his qualities," added Benitez. "If he is keen to learn, he will improve. Hopefully he will be better in the future."

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, defended Emmanuel Eboue after his deliberate handball against Wigan became the latest controversy to involve Arsenal. Eboue was cautioned for attempting to divert the ball towards goal with his hand during the Gunners' 4-0 win. "Of course we want to stamp out cheating in the game," Wenger said. "It is not necessarily cheating sometimes, it [handball] can be a reflex as well."

The incident comes in the wake of the saga surrounding Eduardo, the Croatia international who received a two-match ban from Uefa for diving against Celtic in the Champions League. The decision was subsequently overturned on appeal. Eboue has already been in trouble this season; the Ivorian booked for diving at Old Trafford last month. "When the player goes down sometimes it is not always because he wants to cheat," said Wenger.

* PA Sport