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).

Sport
Aaron Ramsey celebrates after opening the scoring in Arsenal's win over Hull `
sport
News
peopleActress speaks out against historic sexual assault claims, saying things have 'gone quite far now'

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
food + drinkSprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
politicsLabour launches the 'completely hollow' Easter Clegg
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Arts & Entertainment
Last, but by no means least, is Tommy Cooper and the fez. This style of hat became a permanent trademark of his act.
comedyNot Like That, Like This centres on alleged domestic abuse
Arts & Entertainment
Oxegen in Ireland has been axed as promoters decide it is 'no longer viable'
arts + ents Promoters have axed the event as it is 'no longer viable in current form'
News
The troubled star is set to give fans the biggest insight into her life away from the headlines
people Star made the announcement during the final episode of the programme, entitled Lindsay
Life & Style
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players