Fernando Torres Shines as Liverpool Hammer Blackburn, Pile Pressure on United

Jon FeatonbyCorrespondent IApril 11, 2009

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 11:  The Liverpool team huddle prior to the start of the prior to the start of the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Blackburn at Anfield on April 11, 2009 in Liverpool, England.  On April 15 it will be the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, the bells of Liverpools two cathedrals will ring 96 times in memory of the 96 fans who lost their lives. At 3:06pm, exactly 20 years since the match was abandoned Liverpools public transport will stop for 2 minutes. There will also be a memorial service on the Kop where 96 candles will be lit and a representative from each family will be awarded the freedom of the city. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League (for two hours at least) after a comfortable 4-0 win over Blackburn at Anfield this afternoon.

Two goals from Fernando Torres and one each from Daniel Agger and David Ngog earned the Reds full points.

The match was preceded by a minute's silence to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, which saw 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives.

Blackburn's defender and former Liverpool footballer Stephen Warnock placed a memorial wreath in front of the Kop in an act which was very much appreciated by the home support.

Liverpool rested Steven Gerrard, who picked up a knock in the defeat to Chelsea midweek, so Dirk Kuyt started behind Torres as Liverpool set out their stall to attack.

Blackburn, coming off a big win at home against Tottenham last weekend, were without a recognized striker so giant centre-back Christopher Samba started up front as Blackburn tried to utilise his physical prowess.

On the other hand, Liverpool's front line was lead by Torres, and the gulf in class was visible after just five minutes.

Captain-for-the-day Carragher flighted a ball forward over the Blackburn defense, and Torres controlled it perfectly with his back to goal before swiveling and unleashing an unstoppable strike past Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson.

Javier Mascherano, who missed the game against Chelsea through suspension, should have added to the lead minutes later.

A quick break from a Blackburn set piece saw Kuyt play the Argentinian international through on goal, but Mascherano was unable to beat Robinson and Torres blazed the rebound over.

Blackburn were unable to keep the ball, and makeshift striker Samba was left isolated up the pitch more and more frequently as the game progressed.

Liverpool were showing much of the same confidence that saw them pick up memorable victories over Manchester United and Aston Villa recently, and the left-side pairing of Albert Riera and Emiliano Insua caused all sorts of problems for Blackburn right-back Keith Andrews.

Kuyt should have made it 2-0 but unfortunately headed straight at Robinson from three yards out following a fantastic cross from Insua.

But Liverpool continued knocking on the door and it opened after Andrews was booked for a foul on Riera.

From the resulting free kick Xavi Alonso found Torres, who got ahead of Samba to head home his and Liverpool's second.

The second half started in much the same way as the first ended. Alonso was finding far too much space for Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce's liking and was at the heart of much of Liverpool's attacking play.

Still, the home side was unable to find a third goal despite their domination of possession, and Samba almost made them pay.

A rare foray into the Liverpool half ended with the ball falling to him in the Liverpool box, but his shot was comfortably saved by Jose Reina.

Shortly afterwards, Liverpool sealed the victory when Agger was allowed to stroll through the Blackburn midfield before unleashing a left-foot drive from 25 yards out that beat Robinson at his near post.

Then, the rout was completed on the stroke of full-time. Carragher's cross was headed towards goal by Lucas, and substitute Ngog had the simple task of nodding the ball into the net.


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