Torres not a big motivating factor, insists Dalglish
Published 07/02/2011 | 05:00
At the final whistle Kenny Dalglish exchanged high-fives with Sammy Lee, a veteran of the famous Anfield boot room, and then turned to hug his new recruit, former Chelsea stalwart Steve Clarke, who played 330 games for the west London club and spent four seasons at the Bridge as assistant manager.
Dalglish's return to the club is going better than perhaps even the owners dared believe possible, with four wins in a row thanks to this narrow victory at the home of the Premier League champions.
Liverpool are up to sixth in the table, and Dalglish singled out Jamie Carragher for special praise, for the way he snuffed out the threat posed by Chelsea's £50m striker Fernando Torres in his first game back after two months out with a dislocated shoulder.
Dalglish said: "It's like getting another player in, really. After he did his shoulder at Tottenham, he was a long time out. But he could still train. It's great credit to his level of fitness, even at his age. He's not a teenager any more.
"The sports science people kept him as fit as they could, but his heart and level of determination and pride at playing for this club got him through as well. He won't be feeling as good tomorrow, perhaps, but it was great to have him pushing people into position, talking and encouraging. He's a great asset to this football club.
"I didn't see our goalkeeper having too much to do and our defence was magnificent in front of him. I don't think any of their forwards will be too happy about the game they had."
Dalglish claimed seeing Torres in the opposition team made no difference to him, although clearly the Liverpool fans at the Bridge felt differently, with several disparaging banners, and some derogatory chants. Dalglish said: "I don't think it was any incentive. Our incentive was to get three points. Whatever someone else wants to do with their life, that's their choice. I came here to win three points.
"If Carlo Ancelotti was playing up front, I'd have still wanted three points. The personnel and the opposition aren't important to me. The fans are entitled to their opinion.
"We've signed two fantastic players in Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll, and we are looking forward to seeing them coming back to play, if they can get in the team. The way the boys played today, it won't be too easy for them.
"Carragher, however, admitted the Torres factor added to the victory. "Fernando is one of the best strikers in the world and I'm sure he'll prove that for Chelsea but he's not with us now. There was a lot of speculation before the game and that might have made it even more special," he said.
Chelsea failed to capitalise on Manchester United's defeat on Saturday, and manager Carlo Ancelotti denied his change in tactics to accommodate his new £50m signing was behind the defeat.
"The problem was not putting these players together. These players have a lot of quality -- I'll try everything to put them together, and I will replace this in the future. The shape was good and they have the quality. Obviously we could play better as a team, not just in front. When you don't play quickly from the back, you have difficulty playing well up front," he said.
"We played a fantastic game with this shape at Sunderland and wanted to reproduce that. But Liverpool were strong defensively, put strong pressure in their half, and we were not able to find the solution. The right result would have been a draw, but this is football."
Ancelotti denied suggestions that Torres had endured a miserable home debut and said the reason for replacing him after the 66th minute was not down to his lack of menace.
"He (Torres) did a good job on the pitch. We had difficulty finding enough space in front, because Liverpool defended very well and they put three defenders in the middle, and we didn't find the right way to attack them," Ancelotti said.
"And we were too slow playing from the back. We didn't find the space. Fernando tried to do something, used his movement and did a good job.
"We have to work in training to combine with the other strikers, but that's normal. I took him off because, after 60 minutes and a very busy week, it was good for him to come off." (© Independent News Service)