Liverpool FC 6 Hull City FC 1: James Pearce's verdict
28 September 2009 06:00
IT was only right that with royalty in town Fernando Torres put on a show fit for a king.
This was the greatest striker on the planet at the peak of his powers.
Liverpool co-owner George Gillett insisted the presence of Saudi Crown Prince Faisal alongside him in the directors box was to celebrate a partnership that will see Liverpool Academies set up in the Middle East.
However, if Gillett is hoping to convince the prince to buy a stake in the club he couldn't have asked for a better sales pitch.
Torres terrorised Hull into submission with a hat-trick of breathtaking quality.
The way the prince and his entourage flocked around the Spaniard after taking a stroll on the hallowed turf with Gillett an hour after Saturday's game, certainly suggested the guest was suitably impressed.
Torres was on his way home with the matchball in tow but stopped to sign autographs and relive his striking masterclass. Of course Rafa Benitez doesn't do gushing tributes and the manager insisted: "I still think he can do better."
But it's difficult to see how Torres could improve on this display.
After a testing opening month of the campaign when he was battered by defenders and warned by his boss to stop taking out his frustration on officials, he has clicked into top gear.
His stunning double at West Ham banished any fears about fatigue and Saturday's glorious treble will give defenders across Europe sleepless nights.
Torres is leading the chase for the Golden Boot with eight goals in seven league appearances and is currently in a class of his own.
The striker is undoubtedly benefiting from the Reds' greater attacking mentality this season.
Seven home draws wrecked last season's title challenge but this time Liverpool are a very different proposition.
Gone is the cagey approach to home games with two holding midfielders.