Hodgson delighted for match-winner Torres

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The Independent Football

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson was delighted striker Fernando Torres silenced his critics with both goals in the victory over Chelsea but was keen to praise the rest of the team for their performance.

The Spain international grabbed the headlines with goals in the 11th and 44th minutes, his fifth and sixth in five matches against the Londoners at Anfield.

But were it not for a well-organised defensive display, some hard work in midfield and the brilliance of goalkeeper Jose Reina the hosts could have crumbled under the second-half onslaught.

"I am pleased everyone is talking about Torres because they have talked about him negatively and not always correctly because he has not been anywhere near as bad as people would like to suggest," said Hodgson.

"He has had to take that on the chin and accept all of that so it is great he is getting some plaudits now.

"I thought the first goal was a marvellous piece of teamwork and the second was just a fantastic strike.

"I could see from the moment he cut inside Ivanovic he was looking for that corner and with the confidence of the first goal behind him he found it.

"But I think the team will get a good amount of credit and it won't be put down to entirely one man.

"The midfield and back players put in a lot of good work. In most of the games we have played we have been quite hard to beat but what makes the difference is goals at the other end.

"Recently we've found a little bit of goal form which has given us three straight wins - which in the Premier League is enormous.

"What you are looking for all the time is that bit of extra quality your team has over your opponents and we had that from Fernando, along with a very disciplined and organised performance from the others."

Torres' first came when he brought down Dirk Kuyt's looping cross over the head of John Terry and fired across Petr Cech and into the corner.

His second was even more brilliant, cutting inside Branislav Ivanovic to whip a shot around the full-back, past the goalkeeper and inside the far post.

The Chelsea reaction came after the interval with Didier Drogba, whose illness prevented him starting the game, coming off the bench to liven up proceedings.

But still Liverpool held firm; Reina superbly saving Florent Malouda's close-range effort midway through the half before, more fortunately, somehow diverting an Anelka shot which squeezed under his body up and onto the crossbar.

The victory was appreciated by new owner John W Henry, who was in the directors' box to witness it first hand.

"An indication of what can happen when this group comes together as one?" he wrote on Twitter last night.

"The second goal was perfection. Learned what a very clean sheet is."