Reds reignite top four charge


BIG-MONEY buy Alberto Aquilani finally arrived at Anfield with an impressive performance to justify his £17m price tag.

The Italian midfielder capped a man-of-the-match display with his first Liverpool goal as the Reds demolished basement boys Portsmouth in their quest for a top-four finish.

Striker Fernando Torres also enjoyed a return to his blistering best with two goals, while Ryan Babel struck the other as Rafa Benitez’s men moved to within a point of fourth-placed Tottenham having played a game more.

Three goals in six first-half minutes virtually ended the game as a contest. Torres slotted home the first after a mistake from goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.

Torres then set Babel for a second goal two minutes later and also had a hand in the third for Aquilani, who finished coolly.

Ashdown made a series of fine saves after the break as Portsmouth played damage-limitation before Torres finally rifled home his second and Liverpool’s fourth with 13 minutes remaining.

Nadir Belhadj hit a late consolation for Avram Grant’s side who remain five points adrift at the bottom of the table, even without their imminent nine-point deduction for going into administration, which should be confirmed this week.