Club Focus – Liverpool – Confidence boost for Liverpool

Victory over Blackburn on Sunday ensured Liverpool ended their week on a much-needed high. The Reds may not have climbed out of the relegation zone just yet, but the impressive performance was enough to bring some hope back to Anfield.

There are two players in particular who have earned high praise for their efforts against Rovers – Greek international Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Spanish sensation Fernando Torres. Kyrgiakos was brought to Anfield by former boss Rafael Benitez for a relatively small fee. At the time, many fans were surprised at his arrival. The ageing defender had a lot to prove to the supporters, but his first few months in a Liverpool shirt were disastrous to say the least. Kyrgiakos made costly mistakes, particularly one in a Champions League group stage match, which made him a somewhat unpopular figure on Merseyside. However, credit must be given to the centre-back who has certainly turned his Liverpool career around.

Kyrgiakos was one of the very few players who was applauded for his performance in the defeat to arch-rivals Everton a week ago and his commanding presence against Blackburn on Sunday showed that he is actually a very competitive defender. In addition to his solid defensive performance, Kyrgiakos also put the Reds in the lead against Rovers, with a powerful header. The centre-back had other similar chances in front of goal and fans are confident that they can use the Greek international’s attacking qualities as an extra weapon.

Teammate Martin Skrtel heaped praise on Kyrgiakos for the way he has deputised for the injured Daniel Agger and Liverpool fans voted him their Man of the Match for the performance against Rovers. It remains to be seen whether Kyrgiakos can keep his place in the starting line-up when other injured defenders begin to return.

Fernando Torres scored the winner against Blackburn and key Liverpool players have praised his contribution. The Spaniard has come under much scrutiny for his performances since the World Cup, but fans are hoping that his winning strike will boost his confidence. Fellow countryman Pepe Reina has backed Torres to shine and believes that the forward will only continue to score goals if opportunities are created for him. Reina said: “I do not think we have been assisting him like we should, particularly in the last few weeks. He has not been able to do anything at all. We know he is the type of player that can win a game just like that, but we cannot expect him to keep doing it on his own. We have to feed him in. That is the point.”

Meanwhile, there has been speculation surrounding Reina’s own Liverpool future. Arsenal are keen admirers of the goalkeeper, however recent media reports suggest that Manchester United are now tracking his availability. It has been reported that Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to poach the Spaniard from Anfield in a cut-price £12m deal. However, given the lack of transfer activity between the two rival clubs in modern times and Reina’s much-expressed love for Liverpool it is unlikely that such a deal will take place. The Reds must be wary that unless Roy Hodgson begins to turn things around at Anfield, many of the current stars might target a move away from Merseyside.

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