Torres keeps Liverpool on Premiership track
The Spain striker headed in a Ryan Babel cross quarter of an hour from the end to claim his second goal of the evening and seal a 3-2 win for the Reds, who could ill-afford to lose any more ground on leaders Chelsea having already suffered two defeats this season.
Arsenal started the day in a similar position after back-to-back defeats by both Manchester clubs, but the Gunners enjoyed a much more comfortable time as they strolled to a 4-0 win over Wigan at the Emirates Stadium.
Chelsea entertain Tottenham on Sunday, which also sees champions Manchester United take on unbeaten Manchester City in a keenly-anticipated derby at Old Trafford.
Liverpool were never behind at Upton Park but were pegged back twice by West Ham, with Alessandro Diamanti scoring a controversial penalty to cancel out Torres‘s solo opener and Carlton Cole nodding home after Dirk Kuyt had stabbed in Steven Gerrard‘s goalbound header.
Liverpool had no reason to complain about West Ham’s penalty, awarded when Jamie Carragher shoved Zavon Hines off the ball, but television replays suggested Diamanti’s successful spot-kick should not have stood as a slip resulted in the Italian making a double contact with the ball.
Thomas Vermaelen repaid another chunk of the ten million pounds it cost to buy him from Ajax with Arsenal’s first two goals, taking the centreback’s tally for his new employers to four after only eight matches.
Arsene Wenger has rarely looked a shrewder judge of a player and the Arsenal boss quipped: “Let’s be honest, I thought he could adapt quickly but maybe not as quickly as that.”
Aston Villa put the pre-match controversy over Nigel Reo-Coker‘s bust-up with manager Martin O’Neill to one side to claim a 2-0 win over Portsmouth, who became the first side to lose their first six matches since the launch of the Premier League in 1992-93.
“He conjured something from nothing and that gave us a massive lift,” O’Neill said. “South Africa is a long way off but if he can continue that sort of form he will be hard to ignore.”
The on-loan striker, who scored just three goals in 34 league games for Portsmouth, claimed two for his new employers in less than half an hour after coming on as a second-half substitute.
A late Matt Taylor penalty salvaged a point for Bolton after Dave Kitson had given Stoke the lead at the Reebok Stadium.