Liverpool: When Fernando Torres' quick-thinking led to truly baffling PL goal

  • Kobe Tong
Torres in action for Liverpool.

Fernando Torres scored many a spectacular goal during his lucrative spell at Liverpool.

Whether it was his stunning volley against Blackburn Rovers or solo strikes in Chelsea games, ‘El Nino’ came up with the goods on countless occasions in the famous red jersey between 2007 and 2011.

However, it’s one of Torres’ assists on Merseyside that we’re looking at today because it was the Spaniard’s ingenuity in 2010 that created one of the Premier League‘s cheekiest goals of all time.

Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland (2010)

Cast your minds back, if you dare, to the heady days of the 2010/11 season where the Reds were flirting with spells in the relegation zone under Roy Hodgson’s management and on the back of a disastrous summer of spending.

It’s September 25 and Liverpool, staggeringly, find themselves beached in 16th place having won just one of their opening five Premier League games as Steve Bruce’s Sunderland make the trip to Anfield.

In the end, Liverpool’s woes would continue as they were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw with Darren Bent scoring a brace, but there was still a timeless moment to be had in amongst the Reds’ struggles.

Torres shows brilliant initiative

That’s because Hodgson’s men took the lead after just five minutes in truly bizarre circumstances, but thanks in no small part to the footballing IQ and quick thinking of the aforementioned Torres.

When Sunderland were given a free-kick in their own half during the opening exchanges, defender Michael Turner sought to allow Simon Mignolet to take the set-piece by nonchalantly back-heeling the ball and walking away.

However, with the ball having been static at the time of the play, Torres proceeded to run clear through on goal in the hope that the referee would deem that the free-kick had been taken.

Torres in Liverpool vs Sunderland.
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The Premier League’s cheekiest ever goal?

And after a few confusing seconds where both Torres and Mignolet glanced and glanced again at the match officials, the Liverpool forward slipped the ball to Dirk Kuyt to tap into an open net.

Naturally, the Black Cats were outraged at what had gone down as Turner wasn’t intending to take the free-kick, but a quick conversation between Stuart Attwell and his linesman later and Liverpool were awarded the goal.

So be sure to relive what can comfortably be considered one of the strangest goals that the Premier League has ever seen down below:

Video: Torres shows 1,000IQ to assist cheeky Liverpool goal

Very canny, Fernando; good thinking.

It was, at the time, viewed as the little bit of luck that Liverpool needed to get their season underway and while that didn’t quite prove to be the case, it did indeed prevent them from falling to yet another embarrassing defeat.

Sunderland react angrily

And they couldn’t really complain when you consider just how furious Sunderland understandably were with the decision as Bruce raged after the game: “For me it’s unjust, it’s unsportsmanlike.

“It is not in the rules of the game and they have capitalised on it. Everybody in the ground – including most of the Liverpool team – knew Turner didn’t take the free-kick. He was passing it back to the goalkeeper to take the free-kick from where it should have been taken from.”

Meanwhile, Turner himself chipped in by explaining: “I’ve told the keeper to come out and rolled it back to him. The ref hasn’t blown, they put it in the net. It’s bitterly disappointing.”

Was the right decision made?

But despite their protests, the Premier League’s Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) board ruled that the correct decision had indeed been made.

Their statement at the time read as follows: “According to the Laws of the Game, having stopped the game for any infringement the referee is required to ‘indicate the restart of the match’.

“In practice, in the majority of cases, referees indicate for the restart by gesturing to players to take the kick. These gestures can be minimal… there is no requirement by Law to use the whistle to make the indication.

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“The ball is then in play when it is kicked and moves. So, in this case, the ball was in play as soon as it was kicked by a Sunderland player.”

In other words, it really was next-level intelligence from Torres. Fair play.

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