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Torres extends Anfield scoring streak

SoccerNews in English Premier League 4 May 2008

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Fernando Torres marked Liverpool's final match of the season at Anfield by scoring the winner in their 1-0 win over Manchester City here Sunday.

It meant the Spain striker had now scored in eight straight league games at Anfield, equalling the club record of Roger Hunt, a member of England's 1966 World Cup winning team.

But Torres's 32nd goal of an impressive debut campaign for the Reds couldn't disguise the fact that, at 11 points behind arch-rivals and Premier League leaders Manchester United, their 19-year-wait for the title would carry on into next season.

However, the build-up to this match was dominated by the continued speculation over Sven-Goran Eriksson's future as City manager, with the club's fans making it clear that they are fully behind the Swede, who, reports claim, will be sacked by Thai owner Thaksin Shinawatra at the end of the season.

Shinawatra was not at Anfield but director Sasin Monvoisin and executive director Taweesuk Jack Srisumrid were in the directors' box as City did an impressive job of containing the Reds in the first-half.

Despite a surprise start for Torres, who was withdrawn in the midweek Champions League defeat at Chelsea with a hamstring problem, and dominating possession, Liverpool struggled to penetrate a well-organised City.

It took them almost 20 minutes to cause the visitors problems when Ryan Babel headed wide from Dirk Kuyt's cross with goalkeeper Joe Hart stranded.

Torres dragged well off target with his first effort on goal a couple of minutes later before captain Steven Gerrard drilled narrowly wide from more than 25 yards.

Just after the half hour, Hart made a fine save from Gerrard's curling effort after the England international had been fed by Argentinian left-back Emiliano Insua, who was making his first start at Anfield.

Less than half a minute after the restart, Richard Dunne was at full stretch to deny Torres after fine inter-play with Gerrard.

And a minute later, the same combination opened City up again, with Gerrard sliding Torres in behind Corluka only for the striker to push his shot past the far post.

Five minutes after the interval, City threatened for the first time when Elano's curling free-kick beat Jose Reina only to rebound away off the post.

It was far more open than the first half and at the other end, Javier Mascherano skipped past Elano and Michael Johnson and fizzed a shot narrowly high and wide.

But just before the hour, Torres grabbed his 23rd Premier League goal of the season with a composed finish after he surged onto Kuyt's diagonal pass and slipped a low finish past Hart.

That effort sent confidence surging through the Reds and Hart pulled off a fine double save from Kuyt's thumping volley and Lucas's overhead kick as the hosts piled forward.

Then a well-hit cross from Sami Hyypia, who had stayed forward after a Babel corner, was met by Kuyt's glancing headed only for the ball to come back off the bar.

Babel was guilty of a shocking miss as Liverpool continued to tear City apart, slicing high and wide after fine work by Torres, who held off Dunne and crossed from the right.

Having spent the vast majority of the second half on the back foot, City once again threatened from a set-piece as Reina had to get a firm block on Benjani Mwaruwari's powerful free-kick.

But Liverpool, who will end a season marred by a boardroom split between co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, without a trophy, were soon on the offensive again, with Torres chipping straight at Hart and the City goalkeeper also pushing wide from Mascherano's drive after a surging run.

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