Reading 2 Liverpool 4: Torres hat-trick inspires Liverpool and sends message to tinkering Benitez

Liverpool's club record signing, Fernando Torres, sent a timely reminder to his manager, Rafael Benitez, with a stunning hat-trick against Reading.

Torres, omitted from Liverpool's past two Premier League games, struck three times in the second half to earn the Reds a place in the fourth round of the Carling Cup.

Liverpool took the lead in the 22nd minute through Yossi Benayoun, but Bobby Convey levelled five minutes later. Torres restored Liverpool's advantage straight from the restart, only for John Halls to haul Reading level once more. But Torres made the game safe with superb finishes in the 70th and 86th minutes.

"Will he start the next game? We will see. I cannot guarantee anything because I like to see my strikers during the week," said an unrepenant Benitez. "We have four strikers and if I say now that he will play, it will be easy for Wigan. I am only thinking about my team. Our supporters are very clever, they know that I am trying to do the best for the team.

"Fernando knows why he was left out. It was because of space. I didn't need to explain it too much. All the players want to play in every game. If you say to me that Dirk Kuyt is a worse striker or Peter Crouch is a worse striker or Andrei Voronin is a worse striker then I would play Torres every game. But because we have very good strikers, I like to choose the strikers for every game and if it is necessary to change I will change".

Reading should have gone in front in the 20th minute when a cross from Halls fell perfectly for Leroy Lita on the edge of the six-yard box, but the Reading striker failed to beat Liverpool's debutant goalkeeper, Charles Itandje.

Lita was left to regret his profligacy when a magnificent piece of individual skill from Benayoun put Liverpool into the lead in the 23rd minute. He went on a solo run before firing a right-footed shot high into the roof of the net.

Reading were level in the 27th minute, though, when Momo Sissoko's clearing header fell to Convey on the edge of the penalty area. The Reading winger's left-foot volley found its way through a ruck of players and past Itandje into the corner of the goal.

Torres, who had required treatment in the opening minute after a tackle by Andre Bikey, went down under a challenge from Michael Duberry in the 34th minute.

The Merseysiders were back in front in the 49th minute when Sebastian Leto sent Torres through the middle with a slide-rule pass. The Spaniard slipped the ball beyond Federici and into the corner of the net.

Reading, though, were far from finished. In the 64th minute Liverpool failed to deal with another Reading corner adequately enough and when the ball fell to Halls, his quick footwork allowed him to send a low shot into the corner of the net for their second equaliser of the night.

But Torres struck for a second time in the 70th minute when he converted a low cross from substitute John Arne Riise. Torres made sure of Liverpool's place in the fourth round when he finished off a fine pass from the substitute Steven Gerrard and rounded Adam Federici for his hat-trick.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Halls (Hunt, 80), Duberry, Bikey, Shorey; De la Cruz, Harper, Convey (Kitson, 80), Fae; Long (Henry, 79), Lita. Substitutes not used: Hahnemann (gk), Cisse.

Liverpool (4-4-2): Itandje; Finnan, Carragher, Lucas (Hobbs, 89), Aurelio (Riise, 69); Arbeloa, Benayoun, Sissoko, Leto; Crouch (Gerrard, 77), Torres. Substitutes not used: Martin, Putterill.

Referee: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine