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Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool, Torres Makes Disappointing Debut

Monday, February 7, 2011

Extreme : Fernando Torres suffered a dismal debut as Chelsea's 50 million pound ($80 million) striker was substituted following a lacklustre display in his new side's 1-0 defeat against his former club Liverpool on Sunday.

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26The -year-old claims he had to join Chelsea because Liverpool are a club in transition with little chance of challenging for major honours.

Torres was hauled off after just 66 minutes of his first Chelsea appearance and the Spain striker had even more reason to forget his Stamford Bridge bow when Liverpool's Raul Meireles bagged the winner for his old team just moments after his premature exit.

On this evidence, Torres may come to regret his decision to demand a move.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish won the tactical battle with his Chelsea counterpart Carlo Ancelotti and defeat leaves the Blues 10 points behind leaders Manchester United, while Liverpool are now just six points behind Chelsea.

There were friendly greetings for Torres from his old colleagues before kick-off, although the Liverpool fans wasted little time giving him a rough ride as they unfurled a host of abusive banners with messages like "once a red, in our hearts you are dead" and "he who betrays will always walk alone".

Whistles and chants of "Judas" greeted his every touch, but Torres had a golden opportunity to silence those taunts in the second minute.

Maxi Rodriguez's wayward pass gave Torres a clear sight of goal from the edge of the area but his hurried shot sailed high over the bar.

The giant Zigic secured a precious three points for the Blues, now 16th in the standings, when he headed in powerfully from close range after getting on the end of Sebastian Larsson's free-kick midway through the second half.

Defeat for West Ham manager Avram Grant on his 56th birthday is bound to increase the speculation surrounding the Israeli's position at Upton Par,k although the former Chelsea and Portsmouth boss has seen several bosses at other clubs come and go while clinging on to the reins in east London.

After sitting back for long periods, Liverpool should have taken the lead when Steven Gerrard's low cross found Rodriguez unmarked at the far post.

The Argentine midfielder looked certain to score yet somehow managed an astonishing miss as he scooped his close-range effort onto the bar.

Chelsea were showing signs of frustration and a careless Torres pass drew jeers of derision from the Liverpool fans before Petr Cech exchanged angry words with Branislav Ivanovic after the teammates collided.

The below par performance prompted Ancelotti to send on Salomon Kalou in place of Torres in the 66th minute, sparking a jubilant chorus of "you should have stayed at a big club" from Liverpool's fans.

Elsewhere, Nikola Zigic gave Birmingham City a 1-0 win away to West Ham on Sunday that moved the Blues out of the relegation zone and dropped their fellow strugglers to the foot of the table.

The Hammers appealed for a penalty late in the first half when Lars Jacobsen's strike hit Liam Ridgewell on the arm but referee Chris Foy was unmoved. (AFP)

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