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Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson defends Fernando Torres

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres
Torres' subdued start to the season continued in Utrecht

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson backed misfiring striker Fernando Torres and urged fans to be patient after the 0-0 draw at Utrecht in the Europa League.

The Spain international, 26, missed an excellent second-half chance to win the game for the lacklustre Reds.

Hodgson said: "We know he can do more, we expect more, he expects more.

"But it's early in the season and we've got to be patient. You can't fault his work-rate at the moment, he's just after that elusive goal."

Liverpool were dominated by the home side for long periods of the game and their clean sheet owed much to saves from goalkeeper Pepe Reina as well as a goal-line clearance from Raul Meireles.

But Hodgson was satisfied to come away from the Stadion Galgenwaard with a point, especially as Utrecht are unbeaten there this season - and the result also keeps Liverpool at the top of Group K.

"I thought it was a good point," said Hodgson. "We knew it was going to be a tough game.

"It wasn't a dull 0-0. Utrecht did well. Utrecht were very committed. We saw a good team. They came into this game with enormous confidence. We will take a good point back to Liverpool."

Liverpool have now gone four matches without a victory in all competitions but Hodgson is calling for patience.

He added: "I think people are piling expectations on the club which are unrealistic anyway, so the last thing I am going to do is pile on even further unrealistic expectations.

"If you're not satisfied with being top of the group, you're never going to be satisfied. We have a good home win against Steaua Bucharest and a good draw here in Utrecht.

"Fernando [Torres] is still battling to find his very best form, Dirk Kuyt is coming back from his shoulder injury, but I was very satisfied with everyone's performance tonight. Unfortunately the one or two problems we did get into we created ourselves with individual errors."

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Utrecht had described this game as the biggest in the club's history, and the result obviously meant a lot to their players who applauded all four sides of their ground at the final whistle.

And coach Ton du Chatinier hinted that he felt his side had the better of things in the match.

He said: "We thought they would be stronger. They had a lot of the ball in midfield but we saw in the second half against Manchester United they have problems when they play against attackers.

"We had four or five good chances but Fernando Torres had one and could have killed the game if he had scored."



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see also
FC Utrecht 0-0 Liverpool
30 Sep 10 |  Europe
Hodgson dampens Liverpool expectations
30 Sep 10 |  Liverpool


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Malay Mail Bored to death - 16 hrs ago
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ESPN Soccernet Kuyt sees future in strike partnership with Torres - 28 hrs ago
IAfrica.com Liverpool held by Utrecht - 30 hrs ago


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