MATCH REPORT: 2007/2008 Season

25 September 2007: LEAGUE CUP ROUND 3
Reading: Convey (28 mins), Halls (64 mins).
Liverpool: Benayoun (23 mins), Torres (50, 72, 86 mins).
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 23,563

Pos Team P Pts GD
15 Sunderland 7 8 -4
16 READING 7 7 -6
17 Fulham 7 6 -2
Reading: Federici, Halls (Kitson 80), Duberry, Bikey, Shorey, De la Cruz, Harper, Convey (Hunt 80), Fae, Long (Henry 79), Lita. Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Cisse.
Liverpool: Itandje, Finnan, Carragher, Lucas (Hobbs 89), Aurelio (Riise 69), Arbeloa, Benayoun, Sissoko, Leto, Crouch (Gerrard 77), Torres. Subs Not Used: Martin, Putterill.
Reading: Bikey, Duberry, Fae.
Liverpool: Lucas.
Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).
A superbly taken hat trick by Fernando Torres underlined the difference between the two teams this evening. Reading are out of the Carling Cup but the quality of their football was very encouraging. From the start there was buoyancy about their approach, which against slightly lesser Premier League opposition would surely have produced a better result. Having won on Saturday confidence was high and it was reflected in the composure of every player on the ball. The first touch was good and passing well timed and accurate. Everyone, it seemed, wanted the ball and were prepared to work for each other

The tempo was high from the kick off with Reading pressing hard and keeping Liverpool on the back foot. It took the visitors fifteen minutes to mount a serious attack. Only Long looked out of his depth, straying offside and making the wrong decisions when in possession. Reading should have taken a deserved lead midway through the first half when Hall, who had by far his best game in a Reading shirt, curled in an excellent cross. Lita met it with a downward header which lacked power and was straight at the 'keeper. It was costly miss. A minute later Benayoun skipped through the Reading defence and lashed the ball past Federici. A good finish but it looked far too easy. Five minutes later Convey volleyed an even better goal when a deep corner fell to him just inside the box. Reading were already playing well but the goal spurred them on and if Lita and Convey not snatched at half chances just before half time they might have taken the lead.

Reading's worrying habit of conceding soon after half time continued. Duberry got on the wrong side of Torres as he ran onto a through ball and the Spaniard showed his class by holding off the challenge and firing across Federici into the far corner. Once again Reading hit back as Liverpool failed to clear from a corner and Halls found the net through a crowded penalty area. Torres was looking more dangerous as the game wore on and in the seventy second minute restored Liverpool's lead when he held his run into the box, the ball was cut back to him, and he steered it past Federici in convincing fashion. Reading undeterred continued to pass the ball well but as in previous games left themselves exposed at the back. A fingertip save denied Lita what would certainly have been the goal of the season with a breathtaking overhead kick from just outside the area. Gerrard was now on and that was more than Reading could cope with at that stage. He presented Benayoun with an excellent chance but Federici stayed on his feet and blocked well. With time running out Gerrard sliced open a square and flat-footed back four with a ball through the middle for Torres to run onto. His run was perfectly timed and his skill and composure was classic example of how finish in a one to one with the keeper. He simply walked round Federici and rolled the ball into the empty net.

There were good performances throughout the team tonight but Fae certainly looked good enough for a starting place against Pompey on Saturday, Harper revelled in the captaincy and Shorey often came inside and made a significant impact in midfield. Lita held the ball up well, and Bikey had a good game considering he was up against one of the best strikers in Europe. If Reading can sustain this form they will soon begin begin to climb the table.
John Wells


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Despite both sides making a host of changes there was no doubting the importance of the game as they combined to produce an entertaining and competitive encounter. But Torres' all-round contribution and sublime finishing skills proved the difference between the Premier League sides and will have sent out a warning to their domestic rivals.
BBC Sport