Torres debut ends with defeat by Liverpool

Chelsea 0 Liverpool 1

Fernando Torres' much-anticipated Chelsea debut ended in disappointment for player and club as Raul Meireles sealed a memorable win for the Spaniard's former Liverpool team-mates.

Meireles hooked home from close range after 68 minutes to take the game - and potentially any lingering title aspirations - from the big-spending Blues.

It was a different story for £50million Torres though, with the most expensive player in British football history hauled off after 65 unremarkable minutes.

Torres received a noisy reception when his name was called, with his new fans cheering and his old ones booing the announcement.

The game was little more than a minute old when he had his first sight of Liverpool's goal, courtesy of a mislaid pass from Maxi Rodriguez.

The Spaniard took a couple of touches towards the edge of the area before aiming for the top corner, but there was too much elevation on the shot.

Liverpool continued to show nerves, Dirk Kuyt giving away possession in the middle of the park after under-hitting his pass to the lively Martin Kelly.

Torres followed suit when he next saw the ball, taking a heavy touch and surrendering possession under pressure from Steven Gerrard.

With Torres partnering Didier Drogba in attack, Nicolas Anelka's role was a more withdrawn one but the Frenchman struggled to create much in the opening 15 minutes.

Jamie Carragher and Kuyt combined well down the right to fashion a rare Liverpool attack but the Dutchman's cross could not find the waiting Meireles.

There was a heart-stopping moment for Martin Skrtel when Anelka nearly robbed him on the edge of the penalty box but the centre-half did well to hook away Ashley Cole's cross from the left.

Daniel Agger floored Torres, to the amusement of the away contingent, when he tried to pass him on the left flank but the free-kick was harmless from Drogba.

Torres gave a glimpse of his sure touch when he flicked the ball to Frank Lampard to set up a quick break and moments later he had the chance to show his predatory instincts from eight yards.

He got on the end of Drogba's pass but saw the diving Carragher smother his shot.

With 33 minutes gone Liverpool should have had the lead.

Following good work by Glen Johnson, Gerrard drilled the ball across the face of the Chelsea goal and to Maxi at the far post.

The Argentina winger fluffed his connection from point-blank range and saw the ball canon back off the crossbar.

If the first-half's lack of quality could be explained away as nervous tension following the Torres transfer, the drab start to the second was a disappointment.

It took seven minutes for the first move of note, Kuyt handing Johnson a shooting chance from 20 yards, and even then no save was needed.

The hosts started to come to life after that, Drogba and Anelka each forcing corners as they looked to test Reina.

Torres continued to be a subdued presence and it did not help his cause that each time the ball came his way, at least two former team-mates were on hand to relieve him of it.

Kuyt, meanwhile, was working hard in the Spaniard's former lone striker role but with Luis Suarez waiting on the bench Liverpool had more explosive options in reserve.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti clearly felt he did too and with 65 minutes gone he called time on an unremarkable Torres debut by sending on Salomon Kalou.

The Reds took the lead soon after, Gerrard breaking down the right and whipping a ball into the centre that neither Petr Cech nor Branislav Ivanovic came to meet.

The ball evaded Kuyt but Meireles was rewarded for his supporting run and hooked the ball home with aplomb.

Drogba tested Reina at the near post as Ancelotti's men attempted to rescue both the game and their title challenge and also made a hopeful appeal for handball in the Liverpool area with 10 minutes remaining.

Liverpool had chances on the counter, substitute Fabio Aurelio hammering one at Cech's near post and drawing a smart save.

The Blues became increasingly frenzied in their attempts to draw level and the first appearance of new £20million signing David Luiz, as a replacement, passed by almost unnoticed.

Ivanovic appealed for a penalty as injury-time began, but the officials were rightly uninterested.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing