Liverpool 2 Blackburn Rovers 1

Fernando Torres netted his 13th goal of the season as Liverpool kept their pursuit of Champions League football on track with a 2-1 win over Blackburn.

Torres netted the winner shortly before the half-time interval for the Reds after Rovers midfielder Keith Andrews' penalty had cancelled out Steven Gerrard's opener.

It was Spain international Torres' first start for Liverpool since January 13 following groin and knee injuries but he showed just what the Reds have been missing with an impressive return to action.

It was the visitors who started the stronger with Christopher Samba and Morten Gamst Pedersen going close for Blackburn.

But it didn't take long for Rafa Benitez's men to take the lead through Gerrard.

The Reds captain exchanged passes with Yossi Benayoun and slotted the ball past keeper Paul Robinson for a 20th minute lead.

Blackburn - who came into the game off the back of consecutive wins over Hull City and Bolton - were given a lifeline though when Jamie Carragher handled in the box.

Andrews' penalty was less than convincing but it sneaked under keeper Pepe Reina and drew Rovers level in the 40th minute.

But their lead lasted less than four minutes as Torres latched onto Lucas' inch-perfect pass, found Maxi Rodriguez and then received the ball back to slide home past Robinson.

Liverpool were into their groove after the break and could have gone 3-1 up in the 55th minute when Dirk Kuyt and Gerrard combined to feed Rodriguez but his effort was tipped over the bar by Robinson.

As Liverpool failed to take chances, Blackburn begun to sniff a shock at Anfield and Gerrard had to be alert in his own box to clear Pedersen's effort.

Samba almost snatched an unlikely point in injury time but his shot was superbly saved by Reina and Liverpool breathed a huge sigh of relief.