Benitez: More to come from Torres

Posted Saturday, September 19, 2009 by PA

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez insisted two-goal hero Fernando Torres could become even better after the Reds edged a five-goal thriller against West Ham Upton Park.

Torres struck first in the 19th minute but Alessandro Diamanti was fortunate to level from the penalty spot after slipping as he struck the ball.

Dirk Kuyt put Liverpool back in front five minutes before the break only for Carlton Cole to equalise for a second time on the stroke of half-time.

That left Spain forward to Torres head the winner in the 75th minute, delighting Benitez.

"If he continues to play like he did, he can be one of the best," said Benitez. "When you talk about the Premier League you talk about a lot of players with quality so it is not easy to pick just one, but he is among the best.

"He is a very good player and it is easy to see his qualities. If he is keen to learn, he will improve.

"He is a very good player and hopefully he will be better in the future.

"I was really pleased with him in the Champions League game in midweek. He didn't score but he created chances and space for his team-mates and worked very hard.

"He was a threat and that means the rest of the team can work in a different way.

"He is now fit and we are working hard with him to prevent injuries. If he cannot play one or two games, we have Kuyt or Ryan Babel who can score goals.

"Hopefully he won't be injured and he can score a lot of goals for us but we have different options.

"We were in control of the game and the reaction of the team was very positive. I could see that Kuyt was tired and Ryan was really good. His pace was crucial for us and the key at the end."

Benitez, glad to see his side pick up three points after a series of early defensive lapses, also joked: "He is married and a perfect husband, so sorry for the women, but they will not have any chance.

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola admitted it was difficult to find an answer to Torres.

"He is a great striker, he is not easy to mark," said Zola. "It is not easy to defend against players like him especially when they are in the form he was."

But Zola was more encouraged by West Ham's performance and promised they will soon improve.

"It was very encouraging," said Zola. "We were unfortunate not to pick up any points. But we will get better and it won't be long."

One of the successes for Zola, along with new-boy Diamanti, was the performance of winger Zavon Hines.

He had Liverpool's rearguard struggling all afternoon and he could have put the home side in front in the opening minutes.

"Zavon has done very well in the last week but he was even better against a difficult team," said Zola. "The boy is taking his chances very well. he helped the team defensively and he is establishing himself, which is down to his work and attitude.

"You need to have players like him. I am hoping a few others will do the same in the next few weeks. He is playing with a brave attitude and making an impact."

Diamanti scored West Ham's first-half equaliser from the penalty spot. Mark Noble had missed the club's previous two spot-kicks.

Diamanti appeared to touch the ball twice when he slipped as he took the penalty.

"It was decided before the game that Diamanti would take any penalties," added the Italian.

"His penalty was very scary. I think he slid as he took it, but he said that he meant to do it. But he had a good game and worked a lot for the team."

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