Torres sees off Royals

Liverpool consolidated their place in fourth spot with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Reading at Anfield.

The Reds came from behind to take all three points after Marek Matejovsky gave Reading an early lead with a superbly-taken goal.

Liverpool levelled matters on 19 minutes with Javier Mascherano netting his first goal for the club with a superb strike.

Fernando Torres grabbed the winner for Liverpool three minutes into the second half when he headed home Steven Gerrard's free-kick for his 20th Premier League goal of the campaign.

The win moves Liverpool three points clear of local rivals Everton in the race for fourth, while Reading find themselves back in trouble at the wrong end of the table

Reading stunned their hosts with an exceptional goal after a free-kick wide on the left for Arbeloa's foul on Stephen Hunt.

John Oster guided the ball across the edge of the penalty area and the unmarked Matejovsky smashed a swerving volley into the top corner off the crossbar with Jose Reina motionless.

Liverpool's response was a fine ball from Gerrard that sent Torres away but Hahnemann rushed from his line to make a fine block on the edge of the box.

It was going to take something special to match Matejovsky's effort and it came from Mascherano, only the second goal of his first-team career with Corinthians, River Plate, West Ham and now Liverpool.

The Argentina international gained possession 40 yards out and surged forward to lash the ball high past Hahnemann into the top right-hand corner.

Liverpool almost scored again when Mascherano's sweeping ball out to Babel set the Dutch youngster moving and he cut in before lashing an angled drive that Hahnemann beat away.

Babel's diving header from Gerrard's cross a minute later was rightly ruled out for offside before Dirk Kuyt hooked over Arbeloa's cross on the turn.

Alonso, from 30 yards, almost put Liverpool ahead a minute from the break but the hosts struck soon after half-time.

Torres was brought down out on the left after 48 minutes and when Gerrard lifted the free-kick into the box the Spain striker rose unchallenged to head down and wide of Hahnemann.

Kuyt headed just over from Fabio Aurelio's cross before Hunt, not surprisingly, got himself booked for yet another foul on Arbeloa.

Torres' crossfield ball sent Babel away on the left and the winger side-stepped three defenders before blasting his shot over the top.

Reading then took off Long, sending on Dave Kitson after 63 minutes. The Irish striker was far from impressed, hurling his shirt onto the track before being reprimanded by a clearly angry Reading boss Steve Coppell for his action.

Hahnemann then saved well to beat out an Aurelio drive with Torres heading the rebound just wide.

Andre Bikey was next into the book for a foul on Gerrard and the Cameroon international became involved in a heated exchange with the Liverpool captain and referee Andre Marriner before the yellow card was shown.

Reading threw everything forward and there was loud appeals for a penalty when Gerrard charged down a Kitson shot in injury-time but Liverpool held on.


Liverpool Team Statistics Reading
2 Goals 1
1 1st Half Goals 1
7 Shots on Target 1
14 Shots off Target 4
3 Blocked Shots 2
7 Corners 2
7 Fouls 23
1 Offsides 1
0 Yellow Cards 5
0 Red Cards 0
74.5 Passing Success 67.4
26 Tackles 21
80.8 Tackles Success 52.4
61 Possession 39
54.7 Territorial Advantage 45.3