Roy Hodgson hopes Fernando Torres' first Premier League goal since August can kick-start Liverpool's spluttering season.
Torres bagged only his second goal this term to secure a 2-1 win over Blackburn at Anfield on Sunday that eased the pressure on Reds boss Hodgson. The Spanish striker, who has been the subject of criticism following his sluggish form, was rewarded for an improved display with the second half match-winner.
The Reds remain rooted in the bottom three, despite an improved display seeing them claim only their second league win of a miserable season. And Hodgson hopes this could be the catalyst for Torres to rediscover the form that once him Europe's most feared striker.
He said: "He played an awful lot better and looked likely to score on so any occasions. He put one in the back of net so we are happy. We need him to score more goals to move us into position where we need to be. He was down, very down when he came from World Cup. Maybe it does get you down when you are criticised.
"I think he was affected by the criticism and what he has going on here at the start of the season. He is coming out of that now and finding the joy of playing and refinding his energy again. You can't enthuse that into a player. He needs to find that in himself and here he did that. It was his best performance of the season."
Hodgson, under fire this week after talk of dressing room unrest at Anfield, believes the win can act as a springboard for his struggling side. They had gone eight games in all competitions without a win in Liverpool's worst start to a season in half a century.
He added: "It's a big ask having to win these 'must win' games as there's an opponent out there to stop you. But we know there's still a lot of work to do. It's not all hunky dorry."
Liverpool were on top from the off but found goalkeeper Paul Robinson in fine form throughout. But Blackburn finally cracked moments after the break with Sotrios Kyrgiakos' header from Steven Gerrard's corner in the 48th minute. The relief was palpable but the joy among the home fans was shortlived as a comical own goal handed Blackburn a leveller they barely deserved three minutes later.
El Hadji-Diouf's shot trickled towards the goal where Paul Konchesky could only clear the ball onto Jamie Carragher's body and in for the fortunate equaliser. But within two minutes Torres converted Joe Cole's cross to seal a crucial victory.
Hodgson added: "What pleased me was that there was no hanging of heads after we conceded the goal. We got going again and that was good for the future. We have to continue battling as we've got ourselves into a perilous position in league.
"It will still take time before we see daylight in the table positions. But one win will help us for sure. I came in here with my eyes open. I did know the expectations are greater than what we are achieving immediately."
The defeat meant Blackburn's win-less run at Anfield was extended to 17 years and Rovers boss Sam Allardyce said: "I was unable to field by best team and it showed. We conceded poor goals. Our basis of our success is based on a solid unit defensively. We were far too weak to cope with Liverpool and that's something we need back."