Roy Hodgson encouraged by Fernando Torres display

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Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson believes there is reason to for optimism after watching Fernando Torres put in an improved performance during the Merseysiders' 3-2 loss at rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

The Spain World Cup winner has struggled to regain form after a number of troublesome injuries, but the former Fulham boss is confident he is beginning to come good.

Liverpool were undone by Dimitar Berbatov's hat-trick, but the Reds showed resilience as they tied things up after falling 2-0 behind.

Steven Gerrard scored from the spot after Torres was chopped down by Jonny Evans and the England captain curled a free-kick through the wall to restore parity before Berbatov's late intervention.

Despite the setback, Hodgson was pleased with the second-half performance.

"It was a lot better, there's no doubt about that," he said.

"Fernando is still a player who needs more games and needs more time and more training. We will get a lot of tremendous use out of him over the course of the year.

"I think he was a lot better than the game against Birmingham, but I don't think he's firing on all cylinders.

"Having said that, we are playing against a very good team in Manchester United who don't surrender the ball to you that often.

"I thought our second-half performance was good and I think we deserved to get back in the game.

"I thought we were a bit unlucky to go 2-0 down when we did and, of course, to concede late on is always tough.

"The three goals were from crosses – one a corner kick – and there is disappointment in that, but otherwise I thought we made a really good effort in the second half to bring us back in the game."

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