Torres' goal could be crucial to Liverpool's inconsistent season [GALLO/GETTY]
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard challenged Fernando Torres to fire the Reds into the top four of the English Premier League after a late 1-0 win at Aston Villa gave them New Year resolution.

Rafael Benitez's side are just four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur after Tuesday night's victory at Villa Park belied another stuttering performance.

This time last year Liverpool were top and eyeing their first title since 1991.

But an awful start to this campaign has seen dreams of top honours disappear for another season - unless fans still count the chance of a Europa League or domestic cup win.

Positive spin

Torres struck in injury time following a Stephen Warnock mistake to put a positive spin on the end of a year that saw the Reds go from title contenders to also-rans, and struck a blow to Villa's own aspirations to break into the elite.

Results & fixtures

Monday December 28

 Tottenham 2-0 West Ham
 Blackburn 2-2 Sunderland
 Chelsea 2-1 Fulham
 Everton 2-0 Burnley
 Stoke 0-1 Birmingham
 Wolves 0-3 Man City

Tuesday December 29

 Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool
 Bolton 2-2 Hull City

Wednesday December 30

 Portsmouth v Arsenal
 Man Utd v Wigan

"That's what football's about, you've got to keep going until the end and I thought we played quite well tonight," England midfielder Gerrard told the BBC.

"Everyone knows that when Fernando's on form he's the best in the world and we want him to carry on like that and get us into the top four."

Hull City came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Bolton Wanderers in a result that could be crucial at the sharp end of the table.

Bolton fans chanted for the sacking of manager Gary Megson after a result that saw the Lilywhites stay third from bottom in 18th.

Hull occupy 19th place.

Ivan Klasnic scored in the first half for the Lancashire side before Kevin Davies doubled the lead in the 61st minute.

But Stephen Hunt notched a brace to ensure the Yorkshiremen avoided being moored to the bottom of the table with Portsmouth, who play Arsenal on Wednesday.

Manchester United have the chance to go two points behind leaders Chelsea when they host relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic in Wednesday's other match.

Source: Al Jazeera