Fernando Torres turned on the style to inspire Liverpool to a 4-1 win over Portsmouth at Anfield on Monday that keeps alive their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
The Spaniard scored two and was involved in the other two as Rafael Benitez’ s side scored three times in six first-half minutes to end a two-match losing run. “We were expecting a good game, to play well and score goals,” said Benitez, whose side have to overcome a 1-0 deficit to French side Lille later in the week in the Europa League.
“The most important thing was to play with an offensive mentality and a lot of quality. This allowed players like (Alberto) Aquilani to shine.”
A shocking error by keeper Jamie Ashdown, standing in for injured England international David James, allowed Torres to open the floodgates in the 26th minute.
Liverpool supporters were still celebrating Torres's 14th goal of the campaign when Ryan Babel pounced after clever work by the Spaniard two minutes later.
Aquilani made sure of the points in the 32nd minute,his first goal for the club in his fifth Premier League start since joining from Roma last August.
Nadir Belhadj pulled a goal back for the visitors but it was too little too late.