Torres brace eases Liverpool into the break

Liverpool 2 Blackburn 0

Two first-half goals from Fernando Torres put Liverpool firmly in the driving seat of this Premier League clash.

The Spaniard’s first was a spectacular hooked volley after just five minutes, with the second a 33rd-minute header – his 14th of the season.

Rovers were under almost constant pressure as Liverpool set about erasing the memory of their shattering Champions League defeat by Chelsea on this pitch in midweek.

With the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster on Wednesday, the match was preceded by a minute's silence and Blackburn's former Liverpool player Stephen Warnock carried a wreath on to the pitch and laid it on the turf in front of the Kop prior to kick-off.

Blackburn started with five across the back and just Christopher Samba up front. Liverpool have had trouble with this style of defence all season at Anfield, but Rovers’ resistance was broken after just five minutes with a sensational Fernando Torres goal.

Jamie Carragher’s long ball was taken down by Torres beautifully on his chest and with a turn and shot the Spaniard’s stunning hooked volley flew past Paul Robinson into the far corner.

Agger was booked for body-checking Treacy a minute afterwards, but Liverpool continued to attack and it could have been two after 15 minutes.

Dirk Kuyt broke at pace from a Blackburn clearance and set up Mascherano for a shot which Robinson saved.

Torres arrived first to the rebound but managed to blast his eight-yard effort over the bar.

Robinson saved a far-post header from Agger following a Xabi Alonso free-kick.

And after 26 minutes the Blackburn goalkeeper produced a great save to keep out a close-range Dirk Kuyt header from Insua’s cross. Somehow Benayoun blazed over from the rebound.

Robinson saved again, this time from Mascherano before Keith Andrews was booked for a foul on Albert Riera after 33 minutes.

And from the resulting Alonso free-kick out on the left, Torres scored his second with a fierce header having run virtually unmonitored from the corner of the box to meet the set-play.

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