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Super Torres strikes to lift Anfield gloom

RAFAEL BENITEZ hailed the character of his Liverpool side after they ended their worst run in 22 years with an ego-boosting victory over bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield.<br /><br />Four successive defeats had thrown Benitez&rsquo;s future in doubt, but not for the first time it was Fernando Torres who came to his boss&rsquo;s rescue with a clinical second half finish.<br /><br />United&rsquo;s Nemanja Vidic was then sent off for a third time in this fixture for a second booking and was soon followed down the tunnel by Reds midfielder Javier Mascherano, penalised for a similar offence.<br /><br />But the Reds weren&rsquo;t to be denied and substitute David Ngog wrapped up a deserved victory in added time to the relief of his proud manager.<br /><br />&ldquo;The players showed character and the fans were behind the players, we had 12 men,&rdquo; Benitez said. &ldquo;The mentality was good, everyone was working together, from the keeper to the last fan on the Kop. The players answered a lot of questions, that is the most important thing.&rdquo; He added: &ldquo;For me, this result proves the team is better than people think &mdash; and it shows the character and quality we have.<br /><br />Benitez also revealed afterwards that the decision to start with Torres after two weeks on the sidelines was made only on the coach on the way to the stadium.<br /><br />But what a gamble it proved to be as the Spaniard, although clearly not 100 per cent, seized his one and only chance &ndash; coolly shrugging off Rio Ferdinand and powering an unstoppable shot past Edwin van der Sar.<br /><br />Up to that point, Liverpool, spurred on by a raucous Anfield crowd, probably enjoyed the better of it with Fabio Aurelio twice going closest to breaking the deadlock.<br /><br />The introduction of Michael Owen sparked boos from the Kop end before Vidic and Mascherano&rsquo;s departure added spice to the finale.<br /><br />But youngster Ngog made sure of the points for the Reds with a cool finish from Lucas&rsquo; through ball.<br />