- Referee:Dowd, P
Full Time: LIVERPOOL 3-0 SUNDERLAND. A comfortable home win for Liverpool as Torres' brace and Johnson's deflected effort keeps alive their top-four aspirations.
David N'Gog tries to turn and volley in Glen Johnson's ball forwards into the area but he misses his kick and Craig Gordon gathers.
Michael Turner concedes a corner at the other end as Liverpool launch a quick attack. The flag kick finds David N'Gog who cannot get his header on target.
There will be three minutes of injury time to play and Boudewijn Zenden finally tests Jose Manuel Reina with a good effort which produces a fine stop.
The action has become a little sloppy in the past few minutes as neither side now look interested in trying to add any more goals to this game.
Kieran Richardson clears the defensive wall with the free kick and the crossbar as he hits his effort high into the Kop.
Daniel Agger brings down Lorik Cana just outside the area and Sunderland are awarded a free kick in a good position here.
The game appears to be drifting to a conclusion now as, the goal aside, chances have been few and far betwen in the second half.
Ryan Babel has a low effort from outside the area but Craig Gordon gets down well to make a comfortable save.
With a Europa League clash against Benfica on Thursday, Steven Gerrard is now getting a rest after a barnstorming show as Nabil El Zhar replaces him.
Kieran Richardson tries his luck from 30 yards and his effort whistles just past Jose Manuel Reina's left-hand post.
Javier Mascherano brings down Fraizer Campbell just outside the right side of the area. Kieran Richardson floats the ball in but Jose Manuel Reina makes the save.
Sunderland make a change now with former Liverpool man Boudewijn Zenden getting a good reception as he replaces Jordan Henderson.
Rafael Benitez makes another change as two-goal hero Fernando Torres is going off to put his feet up with David N'Gog coming on to replace him.
Alberto Aquilani concedes a corner down the left side now as Sunderland stay on the front foot. However Jose Manuel Reina does well to come off his line and punch clear under pressure from Michael Turner.
Sunderland win a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the Liverpool area. Darren Bent takes it right-footed but it is well over the bar. It sums up the visitors' afternoon.
Ryan Babel weaves his way into the left side of the area before the ball runs free to Fernando Torres who screws his shot high and wide of the goal from the edge of the box.
Dirk Kuyt is going off for Liverpool here as Alberto Aquilani is coming on to replace him.
Darren Bent is harshly booked for a foul on Daniel Agger.
The corner was played short by Ryan Babel and eventually whipped into the area but Anton Ferdinand managed to clear the danger with his head.
Phil Bardsley concedes a corner down the left under pressure from Emiliano Insua as Liverpool press.
It looks like Liverpool will be going for more goals here as goal difference could become a factor in the race for fourth position.
Another chance now for Liverpool as Ryan Babel knocks the ball wide towards Dirk Kuyt who hits an effort over at full stretch when he should have left it for the better placed Maximiliano Maxi Rodriguez who as coming into the right side of the area.
It is all looking very comfortable now for Liverpool who are knocking the ball about with ease.
Liverpool fans are giving former Manchester United skipper and Black Cats boss Steve Bruce some stick now with a chant about the infamous beach ball incident in Sunderland's win earlier in the season the subject.
LIVERPOOL 3-0 SUNDERLAND: Spoke too soon here as it is game over now. Glen Johnson plays a clever pass to TORRES inside the area and the Spaniard coolly flicks a shot past Craig Gordon.
Sunderland have improved slightly in this half but they have yet to really trouble Liverpool's defence with almost an hour gone.
A slight chance for Sunderland but Fraizer Campbell cannot bring down the ball well enough in the area and it runs through to Jose Manuel Reina.
Jordan Henderson gets an effort at goal for Sunderland but it lacked sufficient power to trouble Jose Manuel Reina.
Liverpool finally take the free kick but Steven Gerrard's effort hits the wall and is cleared by Sunderland.
Glen Johnson breaks down the right and plays the ball inside to Fernando Torres but Paulo Da Silva does well to get in a timely block. The ball comes out to Ryan Babel who is fouled by Jordan Henderson.
Reported Liverpool target Kenwyne Jones is coming on in place of Steed Malbranque as Darren Bent moves out to the right.
Kieran Richardson plays a free kick in and it is headed out for Sunderland's first corner of the match. However it comes to nothing.
Steven Gerrard breaks at speed and plays the ball out to Fernando Torres who tees up Ryan Babel on the edge of the area but the Dutchman's shot is over the bar.
A much slower start to the second half than the first with no real opportunities from either side to speak of yet.
Phil Bardsley does well to clear his lines as Ryan Babel tried to get on the end of Glen Johnson's right-wing cross into the area.
Steve Bruce made one change at the break as Paulo Da Silva is on in place of Lee Cattermole.
The action is up and running at Anfield as Sunderland get the second half underway. Rafael Benitez will look for his side to grab a killer third, while Sunderland could give themselves a real chance if they can get the next goal.
HALF TIME: LIVERPOOL 2-0 SUNDERLAND. The whistle blows to bring the first half to an end. Liverpool would probably have preferred to carry on playing after totally dominating proceedings.
There was a slight break in the action as Michael Turner needed some treatment. However the Sunderland stopper is okay to carry on.
Steven Gerrard is like a man possessed here as he tries a quick exchange of passes inside the Sunderland area but is just offside as he goes crashing into the advertising boards at the Kop End.
Liverpool are knocking at the door again and I can't believe it is not 3-0. Fernando Torres has the goal at his mercy in the middle of the box but hits his first effort off the post before hitting the rebound into the ground and wide of the upright.
More good play by Liverpool as Fernando Torres played in Dirk Kuyt who tried to set up Steven Gerrard but Steed Malbranque got in a timely intervention.
Steve Bruce is looking very pensive on the Sunderland bench. He will be hoping his side can stem the tide here or they could be on the end of a blitzing.
A free kick to Liverpool wide out on the left now and this time Steven Gerrard's ball eludes everyone in the centre and drops out for a goal kick.
LIVERPOOL 2-0 SUNDERLAND: It could be all over already here as Sunderland only clear a corner to GLEN JOHNSON and the full-back's on target effort deflects off Michael Turner and past Craig Gordon.
Liverpool win a free kick to the right of the Sunderland area. Steven Gerrard curls it into the box and the ball seems to hit Daniel Agger on the side of the head and drops wide of the goal.
An attempt of sorts for Sunderland as Jordan Henderson hits a half volley well wide from outside the area.
Steve Bruce will be hoping his side can get a foot hold in this match as they have struggled to cope with Liverpool so far and barely threatened as an attacking force.
Sunderland enjoy a rare foray in the Liverpool half but they fail to test Jose Manuel Reina as Fraizer Campbell knocks the ball out for a goal kick.
Steven Gerrard whips a corner in from the right, Maximiliano Maxi Rodriguez diverts it goal with his head at the near post and Craig Gordon shows great reflexes to push it over the bar.
There has been some good, quick and incisive passing from Liverpool and the only surprise is they are not further in front.
Sunderland win a free kick inside the Liverpool half down the left. However when it is finally played into the area Jamie Carragher is on hand to clear.
Steven Gerrard puts another corner in from the right which Sunderland struggle to clear until the ball forwards runs out for a goal kick.
The corner is played in from the left side and drops kindly to Daniel Agger who somehow fires wide of the goal.
It's all Liverpool here as Maximiliano Maxi Rodriguez plays in Steven Gerrard whose effort across the face of goal is just deflected out for a corner off Michael Turner.
Maxi Rodriguez plays in Steven Gerrard down the right side of the area and he pulls the ball back to Fernando Torres who fires his first time effort just the wrong side of the upright.
Michael Turner is again on hand to clear after Dirk Kuyt tried to thread a ball into the area for the onrushing Steven Gerrard.
Lorik Cana lofts a ball forward to Fraizer Campbell who is marginally offside. A lucky escape for the Reds as the former Manchester United man would have been clean through on goal.
Michael Turner does well to knock a ball out for a corner under pressure from Fernando Torres. The corner is played short and finds its way to Javier Mascherano who hits a low drive just wide from outside the area.
Rafael Benitez will be pleased with the start his side have made here but will no doubt hope they can turn their dominance into more goals.
Maxi Rodriguez wins a corner down the right. Steven Gerrard plays it in and Craig Gordon punches it away. Javier Mascherano hits the loose ball back at goal and Kieran Richardson blocks the shot with his body.
Liverpool come forward again down the right through Glen Johnson who chips the ball to the back post but Dirk Kuyt cannot get a clean header at goal and Sunderland clear.
Sunderland have had a bit of possession since that stunning goal but they have not looked like threatening the Liverpool goal yet.
LIVERPOOL 1-0 SUNDERLAND: A bright start by the hosts has resulted in an early opener here as FERNANDO TORRES cuts inside Michael Turner wide on the left side of the area before hitting an unstoppable effort into the far top corner of the net.
Steed Malbranque concedes a free-kick wide out on the right. Steven Gerrard whips it in and it drops to Daniel Agger at the back post who hits a first-time volley which Craig Gordon parries before his defence clear the danger.
The action is underway at Anfield as Liverpool go into the game needing three points to keep alive their hopes of clinching a top-four finish. Sunderland can all but guarantee safety with their first league double over Liverpool since 1936.
Sunderland starting XI: Gordon, Bardsley, Turner, Cana, Ferdinand, Campbell, Henderson, Cattermole, Richardson, Malbranque, Bent.
Lorik Cana replaces John Mensah after the central defender failed to recover from the injury he suffered at Villa Park, while Phil Bardsley starts at full-back in place of the unfit Alan Hutton.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce makes two changes from the side that drew 1-1 at Aston Villa in midweek.
Liverpool starting XI: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Maxi, Mascherano, Gerrard, Babel, Kuyt, Torres.
Fabio Aurelio and Martin Skrtel are still absent, but Alberto Aquilani is also amongst the subs after recovering from injury.
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez makes just one change from the side beaten by Manchester United last weekend with Ryan Babel replacing Lucas, who drops to the bench, for the visit of Sunderland.
Liverpool face Sunderland at 4pm on Sunday, March 28th.
Liverpool will be pinning their hopes on striker Fernando Torres to shoot them to success against Sunderland in their Premier League clash at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
The Reds must keep within touching distance of Tottenham Hotspur if they are to keep their top-four challenge going after falling to a loss against fierce rivals Manchester United last weekend.
It was Torres who opened the scoring with a fine header at Old Trafford, but goals from Wayne Rooney and Park Ji-Sung turned the tables as the leaders cashed in on a 2-1 victory.
Rafael Benitez's side are now four points adrift of Spurs and Harry Redknapp's men have a crucial game in hand over the under-performing Merseysiders.
After going 14 games without a league victory, Sunderland have turned the tables with two wins and two draws in March.
A thumping 4-0 success over Bolton Wanderers was followed by a 1-1 draw to Manchester City.
Then a fine 3-1 triumph over Birmingham City and Wednesday's 1-1 stalemate at Aston Villa has helped push Steve Bruce's Black Cats up to 13th in the Premier League table.
Liverpool have won just twice in six fixtures and their form has continued to dog them all season.
Missing out on Champions League qualification would be a catastrophic blow to their hopes of keeping hold of leading stars such as Torres and Steven Gerrard, who are widely tipped to leave the club in the summer.
Back in October, Darren Bent's infamous 'beachball' deflected effort was the difference between the sides at Stadium of Light.
His tame effort was poised to be collected by goalkeeper Pepe Reina, but the stray inflatable, thrown on to the pitch by a Liverpool spectator, inadvertently guided the ball beyond the Spanish keeper.
The painful loss was felt by all at Liverpool and they will be out to make amends this weekend.
Benitez will still be without defensive duo Fabio Aurelio (thigh) and Martin Skrtel (ankle) who could make a return in April.
Bruce may wait on the availability of central defender John Mensah after he limped out of the midweek clash against Aston Villa.
Fernando Torres struck twice for Liverpool as they kept pace with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the race for a Champions League berth by thrashing Sunderland 3-0 at Anfield.
Torres netted either side of a Glen Johnson effort to move the Reds up to fifth place in the Premier League table.
The scoreline flattered sorry Sunderland who could have been six down at the break and struggled to make an impact in attack.
The writing was on the wall for the Black Cats as early as the fourth minute when Torres opened the scoring with a sensational goal.
The Spain international turned defender Michael Turner inside out before curling a stunning effort past the reach of keeper Craig Gordon.
Ryan Babel and Steven Gerrard both had superb chances to add to Liverpool's tally soon after while Torres was left with his head in his hands after missing a sitter on 20 minutes.
But the Anfield crowd didn't have to wait long for a second goal as Johnson picked the ball up 30 yards from goal before jinking into the box and finding the back of the net via a deflection off the luckless Turner.
It was more of the same after the break as Sunderland were there for the taking and Torres wrapped up the three points on the hour mark when he tapped home Johnson's centre.
Rafa Benitez took off Torres, Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt after the third goal as he looked to see out the game to a comfortable finish.
But former Liverpool winger Bolo Zenden - on as a Sunderland substitute - almost robbed keeper Pepe Reina of a clean sheet with his first touch of the game.
The veteran Dutch midfielder let fly with a right-footed drive but Reina was equal to it as Liverpool preserved their three-goal advantage.
Shots off target