Saturday, August 04, 2007

First For Torres In Reds Win

Fernando Torres scored his first goal for Liverpool in the 2-0 win over Shanghai Shenhua.

The club's record signing put The Reds ahead in the Port of Rotterdam tournament opener before Steven Gerrard curled in a fine second goal.

Though chances were at a premium at Feyenoord's De Kuip stadium, Liverpool took the lead with their first real opportunity on 13 minutes.

Yossi Benayoun - another new signing for Liverpool - threaded through a clever pass for Torres, who produced a cute finish over the Shanghai keeper.

Torres wanted a penalty after half-an-hour after taking a tumble in the box before strike partner Peter Crouch's weak chip was easily saved.

Liverpool were given a scare before the break when Blanco slipped through, but his shot clipped the legs of keeper David Martin.

In the second half, Gerrard climbed off the bench to add a touch of class to a laboured contest when he worked room for a shot and curled his effort inside the far post from 20 yards.

Former Feyenoord striker Dirk Kuyt then slipped a pass through for Benayoun, but the Israeli was closed down as he scented a goal.

Rafa Benitez's men will face tournament hosts Feyenoord in their second game of the competition on Sunday.

Comment: Finally, the golden boy of Liverpool has found his scoring boots again. Hopefully he will continue scoring more goals for Liverpool in the upcoming football season.

Reds Raring To Go

Liverpool first-team coach Alex Miller says the new-look side are determined to get off to a good start this season.

The Reds have been busy in the transfer market this summer as they look to mount a serious title challenge.

Liverpool continue their pre-season preparations this weekend in the Rotterdam Tournament and Miller knows the side need to get off to a good start if they want to pose a threat to Manchester United and Chelsea this season after disappointing starts in the last two campaigns.

"In the last two seasons we haven't made good starts but hopefully it will be different this year.

"We have made one or two changes to our training programme which we believe will help us start really well.

"The competition is so tough in England that it's so important you get off to a good start and that will be our aim from the moment we kick off at Aston Villa.

"We have added some players who we believe will help us be a better squad and we are hoping they gel really quickly with the rest of the squad.

"I'm not stupid enough to say this is going to be our year or that we're going to win it, but we will certainly be challenging. We have a good set of players and we will take some beating."

Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt is looking forward to making an emotional return to Feyenoord after leaving De Kuip for Anfield last summer.

"The other Liverpool players have asked me about Feyenoord, the club and what to expect from the crowd," said Kuyt.

"I have told them they can expect something special and I am certainly looking forward to the game and my return to Rotterdam.

"It is almost one year ago now that I left, and I am certainly happy to be back here to play this weekend.

"I want to show the crowd as well as myself that I am a better player now."

Liverpool Face Tricky Toulouse Test

Liverpool must overcome a tricky trip to Toulouse if they are to reach the Champions League group stage.

The Reds, who have won the competition five times and were beaten in last season's final, must face the Ligue 1 side over two legs for a place in the lucrative section of the competition.

Arsenal's first European tie since the departure of talismanic striker Thierry Henry will be a tough one too, against Czech side Sparta Prague.

Scottish champions Celtic face a tough test against Spartak Moscow in their bid to reach the group stage while Rangers will face either 1991 European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade or Estonian side Levadia Tallinn if they overcome FK Zeta in the second qualifying round. They lead 2-0 from the home leg.

The first legs will be played on August 14 and 15, with the return matches taking place on August 28 and 29.

Toulouse reached the Champions League qualifiers by finishing third in Ligue 1 behind champions Lyon and runners-up Marseille while Arsenal's opponents Sparta are the champions of the Czech Republic.

Their success last season was their 34th domestic title and they became the first club since the break-up of Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s to win the domestic double.