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Xavi shows off his skills

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Liverpool 2-0 Shanghai: Torres off the mark

Fernando Torres scored his first Liverpool goal as the Reds cruised to a comfortable victory in the opening match of the Rotterdam tournament.

The Chinese side were outclassed in every department and Liverpool were able to stroll through the game, although they will find it a little more difficult against hosts Feyenoord on Sunday.

Manager Rafael Benitez will be happy with the work-out and the fact £20million signing Torres has got off the mark before the Premier League season starts next weekend.

But captain Steven Gerrard stole the show with a curling 20-yard shot for the second.

Torres' goal came after 13 minutes from a Yossi Benayoun pass and Liverpool were never under pressure from that moment.

Benitez sent on a clutch of substitutes and Gerrard bagged his cracker just two minutes after arriving on the pitch.

Liverpool started with very much their second string in the De Kuip stadium, with only Steve Finnan and Torres in the starting line-up likely to be in Benitez's first choice outfit.

Sebastian Leto, now with a European passport, made his debut on the left wing and looked neat and lively, while Lucas Leiva -- the Brazil Under-20 captain -- made his first start having played as a substitute in Hong Kong last weekend.

David Martin played in goal as Scott Carson had been left on Merseyside having picked up a training injury.

Shanghai had former Everton defender Li Weifeng and ex-Middlesbrough striker Hamilton Ricard in their side, while Benitez would also have known Uruguayan striker Diego Alonso, who was at Valencia under the Liverpool coach but was sent out on loan for three successive seasons.

Liverpool were ahead after just 13 minutes when new boys Yossi Benayoun and Torres combined well.

Benayoun flicked a clever ball into the box for Torres to move into clear space before lifting the ball over keeper Chan Zhang.

Mohamed Sissoko had a couple of wild efforts in the first half that went wide but the game was being played at training pace.

It took the arrival of Steven Gerrard after 61 minutes, replacing Sissoko, to liven things up.

He had only been on the pitch two minutes before he curled a 20-yarder into the top corner.

Ex-Ajax winger Ryan Babel took over from Peter Crouch, with Alvaro Arbeloa, Javier Mascherano and Dirk Kuyt replacing Finnan, Torres and Leiva soon after.

Babel, who received a predictable reception from the Feyenoord fans, had a fine drive blocked by Zhang, while Kuyt's arrival was far more to the liking of the Rotterdam public.

The striker was a hero in these parts before his £9million move to Anfield a year ago, and he set about producing the sort of all-action display that is his trademark.