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Updated: December 30, 2009 15:21 IST

Torres strikes late to clinch win for Liverpool

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Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres struck in injury time to give Liverpool a 1-0 victory at Aston Villa.

The win lifts Liverpool to seventh, two points behind Villa and four behind Tottenham in fourth.

It was Torres’s 50th league goal for the club, making him the quickest Liverpool player to bring up his half-century.

Worryingly for Rafa Benitez’s side, though, they lost fullback Glen Johnson to a knee injury with two minutes remaining.

Amid heavy snow, the first half at Villa Park was engaging if short on goalmouth action.

Stewart Downing probably had the best opportunity, his volley from a left-wing corner cannoning wide off the arm of goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Villa keeper Brad Friedel also made one noteworthy save, tipping a Steven Gerrard chip over the bar.

Dirk Kuyt possibly should have had a penalty as he prodded the ball past Richard Dunne and was then kicked in the shin by the Villa centre-back’s slightly clumsy challenge.

With Ashley Young suspended, Villa had to use James Milner wide rather than in his usual central midfield role, and they perhaps lacked a little thrust as a result.

Liverpool began the second half the better but despite a couple of nervous moments from Villa centre-back Carlos Cuellar they struggled to convert long spells of possession into clear chances.

Villa’s threat was largely on the break, and Gabriel Agbonlahor was denied by Reina after 69 minutes after outpacing Jamie Carragher.

John Carew headed the resulting corner a fraction wide, and the game seemed to be petering out when Torres struck.

It wasn’t a pretty goal, a series of errors from both sides culminating in Dunne’s tackle on Yossi Benayoun breaking for Torres, who took the ball on and clipped a neat finish over Friedel.

At the Reebok Stadium, Hull City came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Bolton Wanderers Ivan Klasnic put Bolton ahead after 20 minutes with a 25-yard drive, his fourth strike in his last four games.

Kevin Davies headed the second from a long Paul Robinson free-kick on the hour.

But Stephen Hunt headed in a Craig Fagan cross with 19 minutes remaining, and then added the equaliser as Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink flicked on Bernard Mendy’s cross with 12 minutes remaining.

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