Torres fires Liverpool to victory over West Ham

Liverpool had Fernando Torres to thank for keeping their title hopes alive after another disappointing performance by the club's rearguard in the 3-2 victory over West Ham. The Spaniard scored a brace in a match punctuated by defensive errors from the Reds' centre-back pairing of Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel.

After losing to both Tottenham and Aston Villa at the start of the season Liverpool needed three points to stay within touching distance of their title rivals Chelsea and Manchester United. However, Rafa Benitez's team failed to convince with only the attacking trio of Torres, Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun impressing.

The major worry for Liverpool fans this season is the club's defence as illustrated by yesterday's match. Carragher showed all of his 32-years when he hacked down Zavon Hines in the box. Italian striker Alessandro Diamanti scored from the spot to level the scores after Torres had produced a moment of individual brilliance to fire Liverpool ahead.

Gerrard put the Reds back in front early in the second half when he headed home a a Benayoun corner. But West Ham were back on level terms just a few minutes later when Carlton Cole made a mockery of Liverpool's zonal marking rising unmarked to score from a corner.

Just when it seemed that Gerrard and his team were set to drop more points Torres showed again why he is one of the best finishers in the world. The former Atletico Madrid striker peeled off his marker before directing a Ryan Babel header past Rob Green in the West Ham goal.

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