Hodgson enthused by Torres upturn

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has seen signs that Fernando Torres is getting back to his best.

The Reds’ star striker has endured a difficult start to the season but hit the winner in last Sunday’s crucial Premier League win over Blackburn.

That was only the second goal of the campaign for the Spanish World Cup winner, who has struggled for form since undergoing a knee operation in April.

Hodgson told LFC TV: "I think his desire and his wanting to do a good job have been there from the very first day.

"It is just a combination of things – maybe the team is playing a bit better and their extra confidence is giving him extra confidence.

"Football is always a big amalgam of a lot of factors.

"You do need, if you are going to have a good team, your good players in good form producing what they are capable of producing.

"With Fernando on Sunday, we definitely saw that.

"I see it in training every day and I just hope he keeps going and we have a good few months of it."

Torres’ goal secured only the troubled Merseysiders’ second Premier League win of the season in their ninth outing.

The team remain in the bottom three but Hodgson has taken huge encouragement from the 2-1 victory over Blackburn and wants to carry the momentum into Sunday’s trip to Bolton.

Hodgson said: "One of the major problems is we haven’t started games as well as we would have liked.

"The intensity has not been there right from the offset. We have had to build up to it during the game.

"In Sunday’s game we had the intensity from the offset.

"We have had nine league games – not the most successful league games either – and seven European games, almost the same number.

"It is possible one or two of those European games did affect the intensity from the off.

"But it has been a good lesson for us, a good learning curve for everybody.

"The performance we gave in the second half against Everton and the whole of the game against Blackburn – that is what we need for the whole 90 minutes in the remaining 29 games."

Liverpool will again be without Dirk Kuyt at the Reebok Stadium but the forward is making encouraging progress in his recovery from an ankle problem.

Kuyt was expected to be sidelined for a month after sustaining the injury on international duty a fortnight ago but could now be back to face Chelsea a week on Sunday.

Full-back Glen Johnson has an outside chance of returning at Bolton after a thigh injury.