Torres-inspired Reds outplay Portsmouth

LIVERPOOL: Fernando Torres turned on the style to inspire Liverpool to a 4-1

victory over struggling Portsmouth at Anfield on Monday which

keeps alive their hopes of qualifying for next season’s European Champions League.

The Spanish international scored twice himself and was involved in the other two goals as Rafael Benitez’s side scored three times in six first-half minutes to end a two-match losing run. 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. Alberto Aquilani made sure of the points in the 32nd minute, the Italian’s first goal for the club in his fifth Premier League start since joining from Roma for £17 million last August.

Ashdown enjoyed a trouble free opening 25 minutes before his horrendous error allowed Liverpool to take total charge. With home fans starting to get restless, Ashdown’s attempted clearance was charged down by Gerrard before Maxi Rodriguez pounced on the loose ball to tee-up Torres to tap home.

Two minutes later the Premier League’s bottom club were 2-0 down

after Torres turned provider for Babel to

drill home. Once again Torres was at the centre of the action after his back-heel allowed Aquilani to slide home from 12 yards before Torres completed the rout in the 76th minute, his powerful shot from just inside the area capping a fine night’s work. Nadir Belhadj pulled a goal back for the visitors but it was too little too late.

Atletico win

MADRID: A 10-man Atletico Madrid beat Osasuna 1-0 at home on Monday thanks to a late goal by Spanish midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado which helps keep their dreams of securing a place in the Champions League alive. With 11 minutes remaining, the 23-year-old cut inside after a pass from Sergio “Kun” Aguero and curled the the ball into the top corner from outside the box. Atletico were reduced to ten men after Simao Sabrosa was sent off in the 57th minute for his second bookable offence.