|Torres curls home the first [GALLO/GETTY]
Fernando Torres scored twice as Liverpool produced one of their best performances of the season to beat Sunderland 3-0 and stay in the hunt for fourth place in the English Premier League.
After Tottenham Hotspur beat Portsmouth 2-0 on Saturday it was vital for Liverpool to keep in touch and they did it in style.
Last October Liverpool controversially lost 1-0 at Sunderland's Stadium of Light after Darren Bent's shot went in via a beach ball that had been thrown on to the pitch by a Liverpool fan.
The offending ball now resides in the museum of football in Preston and that defeat seemed like ancient history as Liverpool produced a vintage first-half display.
They set the tone with Torres's wonderfully-taken opener after three minutes.
The Spanish striker cut inside from the touchline, skipped between two defenders and curled a perfect top-corner finish beyond Craig Gordon.
Saturday March 27
Birmingham 1-1 Arsenal
Chelsea 7-1 Aston Villa
Hull City 2-0 Fulham
Tottenham 2-0 Portsmouth
West Ham 0-1 Stoke City
Wolves 0-0 Everton
Bolton 0-4 Man Utd
Sunday March 28
Burnley 0-1 Blackburn
Liverpool 3-0 Sunderland
Monday March 29
Man City v Wigan Athletic
Liverpool's second came after 32 minutes when full back Glen Johnson's long-range effort took a deflection.
Torres hit the post and shot wide in one mad scramble and defender Daniel Agger could have had a hat-trick.
Sunderland were better in the second half without looking like getting back into the game and Liverpool wrapped up the points on the hour with a subtle finish by Torres after an intelligent ball by Johnson.
In Sunday's other game, Blackburn Rovers won 1-0 at Burnley with a first-half penalty by David Dunn to leave their Lancashire rivals still second-bottom of the standings.
Spurs are fourth on 58 points from 31 games with Liverpool fifth on 54 from 32.
Manchester City, who have played only 30 and face Wigan Athletic on Monday, have 53 with Aston Villa on 51 from 31 after their 7-1 thrashing by Chelsea.
Manchester United, 4-0 winners at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, top the standings on 72.
Chelsea, who visit United next Saturday, have 71 with Arsenal third on 68 after they drew 1-1 at Birmingham City.