Black Cats boss hails Torres and Co
SUNDERLAND manager Steve Bruce made no attempt to make excuses after watching Fernando Torres inspire Liverpool to a comfortable 3-0 win. The Black Cats were blown away by an outstanding Liverpool display in which Glen Johnson scored in between two quality strikes from Torres. The match was over as contest by half-time, when the Wearsiders had fallen two behind after failing to register a single shot on target. That was in stark contrast to Liverpool, who recorded nine of their 15 efforts on Craig Gordon's goal before the whistle had blown for the interval. Difficult is an understatement, said Bruce. Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say you are beaten by a far better team, today was one of those days. We showed resilience in the second half because it might have been embarrassing. Liverpool had a wonderful start. When Torres and Steven Gerrard are in that sort of mood it is very difficult. We were beaten by a very, very good Liverpool team. It's a wonder goal, the first. We maybe missed the first header from the keeper's kick out. But Torres is a class act and when he plays like that, the enforced injuries have left him as fresh as a daisy at this stage of the season. He is a fantastic centre forward. You have to hold your hands up. How do you stop him After the third goal had gone in Bruce, a former Manchester United centre-back, was subjected to humourous chants from the Anfield Kop. Liverpool's supporters likened the Sunderland boss' head to a beach ball, which brought laughter from him as he sat in the dug-out. And Bruce, who was planning to see Rafael Benitez after speaking to the press to discuss the Liverpool manager's January interest in Kenwyne Jones, saw the funny side. I have not seen him yet, I will see him though, said Bruce. As for the Scouse humour I am getting used to it. Today's their day. I will take it as a back handed compliment, I have to take my medicine and disappear with my tail between my legs. I will have to try to come back, with a smaller head. Liverpool have closed the gap on Tottenham, occupants of the final Champions League place, but Benitez has urged his players to carry yesterday's display into the remaining matches of the season. Torres and Gerrard were among a group that was told by the club's chief executive Christian Purslow that there will be investment in the squad once a deal with investment company the Rhone Group has been concluded. A couple of hundred Liverpool supporters stayed behind in the Kop to protest against co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett yesterday. Benitez, though, wants to concentrate on the race for fourth and a place in the Champions League. He said: We know we have to keep going and it will be difficult. The players have confidence and if we can play at this level in more games we will win more games and it will be close. There are fears on Merseyside that Torres will leave if Liverpool fail to finish fourth and reassurances do not arrive during the summer. But Benitez said: Fernando scored one of the best goals but the second one was great too, he was calm. At this moment the priority for all of us is to play well and we will be closer to the top four and closer to the Europa League final. That is the best way for the manager, players to move forward. We are trying hard behind the scenes to plan for the future. It is annoying because we approached this game in the same way as our other games. In a lot of our games we have been playing a similar formation. We have to go for the top four, then other things will come.
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