Torres takes Reds into quarter-finals

Fernando Torres kept Liverpool's Europa League hopes alive with two goals in a 3-0 victory over Lille that sealed a 3-1 aggregate triumph.

Last Updated: 19/03/10 at 15:09 Post Comment

Torres: Scored twice in the second half

Torres: Scored twice in the second half

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Captain Steven Gerrard's ninth-minute penalty gave them the ideal start in the last 16 clash at Anfield, after Lucas Leiva had been fouled.

Torres then struck twice in the second half - his first European goals for more than 11 months - to put his side into the quarter-finals.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg an early Liverpool goal was essential to ease the pressure and, watched by Argentina coach Diego Maradona, they produced just that.

The much-maligned Lucas, returning to the side because of Alberto Aquilani's illness, dribbled into the area and produced a tidy piece of skill to go past Adil Rami and draw the foul.

Referee Nicola Rizzoli pointed to the spot and Gerrard confidently fired home to level things up on aggregate.

Torres had two half-chances to double the lead in the next five minutes as first he cut in from the right at pace only to see his near-post shot deflected wide before then lofting a shot over from Javier Mascherano's free-kick.

Despite going behind Lille still looked like they could be a danger on the counter-attack with Eden Hazard, goalscorer a week ago, and Ludovic Obraniak posing a threat from the flanks.

But right-back Glen Johnson was getting forward at every opportunity and when he found himself in the penalty area he hit a left-foot volley straight at goalkeeper Mickael Landreau.

Daniel Agger's glancing header from Gerrard's inswinging 31st-minute corner was eventually stopped by Landreau on the goalline after the ball got stuck between Dirk Kuyt and Franck Beria.

Lucas, having his best spell for some time, then shot straight at the goalkeeper from 20 yards.

A minute later Hazard burst past Agger and Johnson into the area and had only Jose Reina to beat but the goalkeeper stood tall and the shot deflected behind off his head.

Five minutes before half-time Torres headed Kuyt's hanging cross back across goal but wide of the post.

Lille came out after the break with more purpose and Jamie Carragher produced a perfectly-timed tackle to deny Rio Mavuba three minutes into the second half.

But a minute later Liverpool seized control of the tie with an expert piece of finishing from Torres.

Ryan Babel hooked a ball out of defence with his right foot which looked more like a clearance than a pass but Rami, who had been given a torrid time by Torres, misjudged the bounce of the ball and it ballooned over him.

The Spain striker did not need a second invitation and he sped towards goal before dinking a shot past Landreau with the outside of his right foot.

It was the first time he had scored in European competition since his goal at Anfield in the 3-1 Champions League quarter-final defeat to Chelsea on April 8.

Torres then drilled a shot just wide of the goalkeeper's right-hand post.

Liverpool's advantage was only a slender one and that fragility was almost exposed in the 73rd minute when Obraniak's free-kick picked out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the far post only for the substitute to bundle his shot into the ground and over the crossbar.

As the tie entered its final throes the anxiety began to grow as Liverpool were unsure whether to try to hold their lead or finish Lille off with a third goal.

It almost came when Kuyt's long-range strike was batted behind by Landreau.

But all the pressure was released when Torres followed up a rebound from Gerrard's shot to score his second a minute before time and his fourth in his last two .

It secured a second victory in an important week, with Manchester United to come at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Thursday, 16 April 2015
20:05
Club Brugge 0-0 Dnipro  
Dynamo Kiev 1-1 Fiorentina  
Sevilla 2-1 Zenit  
Wolfsburg 1-4 Napoli  
Thursday, 19 March 2015
Ajax 2-1 Dnipro  
Besiktas 1-3 Club Brugge  
Inter 1-2 Wolfsburg  
Sevilla 2-1 Villarreal  
Torino 1-0 Zenit  
18:00
Dynamo Kiev 5-2 Everton Report

Footer 365

Harry Redknapp criticises Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham

Harry Redknapp says Mauricio Pochettino "has been rescued" by the performances of Spurs' young players this season, and has criticised the club's transfer policy.

Arsenal's bid for Paulo Dybala confirmed by Palermo

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini claims that Arsenal have made a bid for 'new Messi' Paulo Dybala.

Diego Simeone baffled by Premier League failure

Diego Simeone is baffled at the lack of cash-rich Premier League clubs in the later stages of the Champions League.

Mail Box

Brendan Rodgers Deserves Another Season...

"I am not bashing Chelsea, however..." The Mailbox takes aim at Jose Mourinho once again and under-fire Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers "deserves another season".

Klopp Over Rodgers? Not On Your Nelly

Liverpool fans have short memories and should give Rodgers more time, while Jose's tactics and claims are getting many more in a stew. It's the afternoon Mailbox...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company