AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
LONDON: Fernando Torres hit his first Chelsea hat-trick as the Blues stepped up their bid for a top four finish with a 6-1 rout of QPR today.
Torres has endured a mostly miserable 15 months since his record £50 million move from Liverpool, but the Spanish striker looks revitalised after his crucial late goal in Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final triumph against Barcelona. He was far too hot for QPR’s statuesque defenders to handle and scored twice in the first half and once after the break to seal his first treble since September 2009, when he scored three for Liverpool against Hull.
Early strikes from Daniel Sturridge and John Terry had set the tone as the Blues destroyed QPR with four goals in the first 25 minutes and Florent Malouda completed their biggest Premier League win of the season. Chelsea move above Tottenham into fifth place and within one point of fourth placed Newcastle, who visit the Bridge on Wednesday.
With the FA Cup final against Liverpool on Saturday and the Champions League final against Bayern Munich next month, Chelsea are eyeing a glorious end to a difficult season. In contrast, QPR, who netted late on through Djibril Cisse, are above the relegation zone only on goal difference and face a nervous finale as they try to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
On Saturday, Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick as Liverpool warmed up for next week’s FA Cup final with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Norwich City. The Uruguay international netted twice in the space of four first half minutes before brilliantly chipping goalkeeper John Ruddy from just inside the Norwich half late on. A home game with Fulham on Tuesday night represents Liverpool’s final dress rehearsal for Saturday’s Wembley date with Chelsea.