LIVERPOOL, November 7- Fernando Torres continued Liverpool's renaissance with two goals that sealed a 2-0 victory over league leaders Chelsea at Anfield and maintained his impressive personal record against the London club.The Spaniard, so disappointing for his country in the World Cup and for his club for much of this domestic campaign, has scored seven times in eight appearances for Liverpool against Chelsea and his latest efforts were particularly timely, with his team having now won three consecutive league games.
Torres was little short of astonishing in the first half on Sunday as he helped Liverpool take control of the game.
This was a markedly different Liverpool – and a completely different Torres – from the player that had opened the season in such desultory fashion.
Torres scored after just 11 minutes although the goal owed much to his team mate Dirk Kuyt, playing for Liverpool for the first time in a month after recovering from injury collected on international duty for Holland.
Martin Skrtel’s pass from inside the Liverpool half was collected by the Dutchman who, in turn, chipped the perfect, hanging cross into the Chelsea penalty area, one which just eluded the leap of John Terry on its way to Torres who controlled the ball superbly before beating Petr Cech from close range.
If that goal was an impressive display of Liverpool’s new-found team play, the second goal, a minute before the interval, showcased the Spanish forward’s magnificent predatory instincts.
Ashley Cole lost the ball in midfield to Raul Meireles, the Portuguese international in turn feeding Torres, who advanced just inside the area before curling a magnificent, right-foot shot past Cech on its way into the back of the Chelsea goal.
The two goals took Torres’ Liverpool career tally to 60 goals in 79 starts in the Premier League, astonishing figures, especially in the light of his slow start to this season which saw him score just once in his first 10 appearances of the campaign, in all competitions.
Chelsea had threatened in the 13th minute with Cole’s left-wing cross finding Salomon Kalou who rose above Paul Konchesky but could only steer his header directly at Pepe Reina.
The remainder of the first half belonged firmly to Liverpool, however, with Torres’ flick finding Maxi Rodriguez for a blast over, the home side appealing for a penalty after an accidental handball by Yuri Zhirkov, and young right-back Martin Kelly capping a strong run with a shot from the edge of the area which John Terry managed to block.
At the interval, Carlo Ancelotti introduced Didier Drogba, on the bench due to overnight illness.
Drogba placed a disappointing, long-range free-kick wide before Cole’s 59th minute cross from the left found the head of Ramires whose effort flew just off target.
Finally, two minutes later, Reina was called into serious action for the first time, as he dived at his near post to parry a threatening drive from Zhirkov.
If that save was solid, the next, after 65 minutes was magnificent as Reina managed to block a six-yard shot from Florent Malouda, who met Drogba’s right-wing cross with an effort that looked a certain goal until the goalkeeper somehow blocked on his line.
Cech was equally impressive in keeping Chelsea in the contest after 74 minutes when Kuyt latched onto a deflected Meireles shot and shot goalwards from eight yards, only to be denied by the outstretched right leg of the Chelsea goalkeeper.
Nicolas Anelka looked to have given Chelsea a lifeline five minutes from time only for his strike to hit the Liverpool bar, via Reina’s save, with Jamie Carragher making an astonishing tackle to prevent Drogba tapping in the rebound.