x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Torres back to give Reds title hope

Fernando Torres says he was never worried about his goal drought as Liverpool continued their solid start to the season and push for honours.

Fernando Torres in action for Liverpool during their Merseyside derby win against Everton at Goodison Park.
Fernando Torres in action for Liverpool during their Merseyside derby win against Everton at Goodison Park.

LIVERPOOL // Fernando Torres said he was never worried about his goal drought as Liverpool continued their solid start to the season and push for honours. The Spanish striker had gone six games without scoring, but that was soon forgotten as he struck twice to sink Everton yesterday.

The brace could not have come at a better time as it settled a tight Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. Torres, who fired 33 goals last season, has now set his sights on even more, hoping too that the Reds will use this vital victory as a springboard to success at home and abroad. "Six games [without a goal] is too many times for a Liverpool striker," he said. "I have been working hard, I knew the goals would arrive. Now I want to keep going, scoring in the Champions League and scoring almost every game.

"We know if we can stay near the top of the table in January or February we can win it. "We must stay in the first three or four of the league and if we can win in the Champions League we can have a fantastic season." Robbie Keane was involved in both goals too and Rafa Benitez will have been pleased to see his £46.5 million (Dh314m) strikeforce finally show there is a potent partnership developing between them.

Keane has not scored in 10 games since his summer arrival from Tottenham, but his second-half performance was much improved and he will take heart from the way Torres bounced back after his goal famine. Torres, who had last scored against Sunderland on the opening day of the league season, was a frustrated figure early on, unhappy with the physical approach of the home side. But, typically, he responded in the best way with two fine finishes and was only denied a hat-trick by the whistle of Mike Riley.

Benitez saluted his fellow countryman and was always confident his side, unbeaten so far this season, would get past their battling neighbours. "It was important for him [Torres] and us that he gets two goals in a derby," he said. "I think we were always in control. We were organised and knew what we had to do. The teamwork was really good. "If we continue winning and he [Keane] keeps playing well, I will be pleased. He was working hard for the team and was another key player for us."

The defeat was Everton's third in succession at home. Goodison Park manager David Moyes said that he will appeal the straight red card his goalscoring midfielder Tim Cahill was awarded for his late challenge on Xabi Alonso in the 80th minute. @Email:akhan@thenational.ae