Club Focus – Liverpool – Meireles finds new lease of life under Dalglish

Liverpool secured their first win under new boss Kenny Dalglish, with an encouraging 3-0 victory over Wolves at Molineux. Spanish striker Fernando Torres scored twice, though the man of the match on Saturday was Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles, who capped off a delightful performance with a sensational goal.

Prior to the game against Mick McCarthy’s side, Liverpool had won just once on their travels all season – against Bolton Wanderers. However, since Dalglish has taken charge, the Reds have looked more comfortable in games and consequently put in some good performances. Therefore, despite a poor first half to the season, an emphatic win such as this had always been on the cards ever since Dalglish replaced Hodgson.

Liverpool played well against Merseyside rivals Everton last time out, but could only take a point from that clash. Meireles scored his first goal in a Reds shirt during that game and his goalscoring run continued against Wolves, where he confidently struck a long-range volley which swerved in to the back of the net. But it was not only his goal which impressed – the midfielder was brilliant throughout the whole encounter, making good runs, creating chances, pinging fantastic passes and getting into good positions.

Under Hodgson, the central midfielder was at times shifted to the right hand side, where he was totally ineffective. Indeed, some people criticised his performances during this tough spell for the player, however that criticism seems to have been rather unfair. A manager is always taking a risk when playing someone out of position and that risk backfired on Hodgson. However, Meireles now looks very comfortable on the ball and is able to orchestrate play from his natural position under Dalglish. Credit must be given to Hodgson for luring a player of such quality to the club, but only Dalglish can be praised for getting the best out of the Portuguese international.

Another positive for the Reds was the return to form of Torres. The World Cup winner has been criticised by many in recent weeks, with some fans suggesting he looked disinterested and wasn’t putting a shift in. Again, this was an unfair assessment of the striker. To put it simply, Torres was not getting the supply needed to cause damage under Hodgson’s tactics – a fact even Pepe Reina admitted to. However, the midfield and most notably Meireles gave Torres plenty to feed on against Wolves and being the quality striker that he is, Torres bagged a brace to add to his impressive tally of goals in a Liverpool shirt.

Dalglish will be hoping Meireles and Torres carry on playing well for the visit of Fulham to Anfield on Wednesday. Dalglish will be able to call upon captain Steven Gerrard for that particular fixture, as he has now served a three match ban for his sending off against Manchester United in the FA Cup a couple of weeks ago. With Gerrard back in the mix and Meireles hitting form, it will be interesting to see how Dalglish sets his stall against Mark Hughes’ men.

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