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Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010
Torres refinds form as Reds slay Chelsea
LONDON (AP) Fernando Torres rediscovered his goalscoring touch Sunday with a double strike that enabled Liverpool to stun leader Chelsea 2-0 and move into the top half of the Premier League.
Liverpool's worst start to a season for more than 50 years left the club in the relegation zone last month, but a hat trick of wins have lifted the 18-time champions to ninth.
"We weren't good enough at the start of the season," Torres said. "But we thought from the beginning we needed time to work with a new manager and new players.
"Now we have to show against the teams in the middle of the table, or teams who are not as good as Chelsea, we can play this way — with this intensity and quality."
After the second loss of its title defense, Chelsea is two points ahead of Manchester United and five ahead of third-placed Arsenal.
The Gunners lost 1-0 to Newcastle on Sunday, with Andy Carroll's header inflicting their third loss of the season.
Manchester City joined Arsenal on 20 points after Mario Balotelli scored twice in a 2-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion that ended his team's three-match losing streak in all competitions.
A rejuvenated Liverpool has now won three straight league matches and the return to form of Torres indicates that Roy Hodgson's side should not be returning to the drop zone.
The often injured Spain striker has never regained full fitness since being carried off on a stretcher with a groin strain during the World Cup final against the Netherlands in July.
Before Sunday, Torres had scored just twice this season but he beat Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Cech after just 11 minutes at Anfield.
Dirk Kuyt, returning after a month's absence with an ankle injury, chipped a pass from the left over Chelsea captain John Terry and Torres took one touch before firing into the net.
"It's been difficult for me with injuries but I am training every day and every day feeling better and improving," Torres said. "I know the expectation I have but I can handle that."
Torres' second came in the 44th minute. Raul Meireles seized the ball after Ashley Cole lost possession in the middle of the pitch and picked out Torres on the edge of the penalty area.
He then cut inside before curling a shot around Branislav Ivanovic and inside Terry and the far post.
"Thanks to Pepe Reina and the crossbar we kept our clean sheet," Hodgson said. "The players are getting more comfortable with the way we want them to play and the shape of the team."
There was also a shock at the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal beaten for the second time this season by a promoted side as Newcastle emulated West Bromwich Albion's success in September.
Carroll's goal came on the stroke of half time, with the English striker rising above goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to head Joey Barton's deep free kick into the net.
Arsenal had Laurent Koscielny sent off in stoppage time after the defender fouled Nile Ranger on the edge of the penalty area.
"I think against West Brom we were complacent — I don't think we were today," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "We played against a good Newcastle team, strong physically and mature. I still believe we were unlucky to lose the game. They had one shot on target."
City's win at West Brom eased the pressure on manager Roberto Mancini after the team's dismal recent form.
Balotelli first netted in the 20th after combining with captain Carlos Tevez, who was back in the team following his two-match injury layoff.
Six minutes later, the 20-year-old Italian striker fired into the bottom corner of the net from David Silva's cross.
But Balotelli was dismissed in the 63rd following a tangle with Youssouf Mulumbu, who was himself sent off in the 82nd for fouling Tevez.
"Mario Balotelli played very well," Mancini said.
Real beats Atletico
MADRID (AP) Real Madrid maintained its 11-year unbeaten run over Atletico Madrid with a 2-0 victory on Sunday that kept it top of the Spanish League despite Lionel Messi's 16th goal of the season inspiring Barcelona to victory at Getafe.
Madrid hasn't lost a Spanish capital derby since 1999 as first-half goals from Ricardo Carvalho and Mesut Oezil ensured that streak stretched even longer.
Madrid stayed top of the standings with 26 points from 10 games, one better than Barcelona after the defending champion won 3-1 earlier.