Rafa hails Torres' impact

Spanish chief full of praise for compatriot

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was unstinting in his praise for Fernando Torres after the Spaniard's 21st league goal of the season settled matters in the Merseyside derby.

Everton started the 207th game between the two clubs at Anfield just two points shy of their neighbours, but were far from at their best in falling to a 1-0 defeat, which in truth flattered them.

It came as no surprise that Torres scored the game's decisive goal, as he struck in the first period to put Liverpool in almost complete control of the final UEFA Champions League spot in fourth.

"We have said before we have a lot of confidence in Fernando and we are pleased that he scored today," Benitez said.

"For him to score so many in his first season is great for him and for us so we are very happy for him. The understanding between Torres and (Steven) Gerrard is very good."

Nervy finish

Benitez admits Liverpool's failure to find a second goal, as a number of chances went begging, left him somewhat uneasy on the touchline as the game entered its final stages.

"In the first half we had other chances but didn't get that second goal and in the second half we played more on the counter-attack.

"When you are winning by just one goal the opposition could always get a corner or a free-kick so we had to keep our concentration levels high.

"The win was important and we are in a good position but we have difficult games against Arsenal, Tottenham and Blackburn to come yet."