IT was a match Jamie Carragher billed as the most important of his Liverpool career.

Could the Reds finally fulfil the Premier League dreams of a frustrated generation? A fitting tribute to the 96 fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough 20 years ago on Wednesday.

Sam Allardyce’s patched-up Blackburn Rovers arrived at Anfield hoping to play the role of party poopers, ultimately it was as though someone had forgotten to send them an invite.

Fair enough, it might have been crucial to Rafael Benitez’s title hopes but one would have hoped Rovers’ players had remembered the importance of the occasion for their own sakes.

Talk about a one-sided affair.

Liverpool will never enjoy an easier Premier League afternoon as a mix of Fernando Torres’ brilliance, the hosts’ fluid football and Rovers’ injury-list left Allardyce’s visitors humiliated and right back in the relegation mire.

To ignore the extent of Rovers’ injury-list would be unfair as any squad missing six key first-team players would struggle against one of the best teams in Europe.

An illness to El-Hadji Diouf and injuries to Morten Gamst Pedersen, Jason Roberts, Roque Santa Cruz , Steven Reid and Brett Emerton left Allardyce relying on his squad players and 90 minutes later he was left in no doubt, some are just not good enough.

Desperate times need desperate measures and using giant defender Chris Samba as their lone striker was evidence enough of the current injury crisis at Ewood Park.

The defeat could not be blamed on that particular experiment, as Samba won the majority of long balls aimed at him, it was a lack of midfield support that really left Rovers red-faced.

Keith Treacy, Tugay, and David Dunn were handed rare starts in midfield but, together with Aaron Mokoena and Stephen Warnock, they were left chasing shadows as their Liverpool counterparts handed them a classy footballing lesson.

Any hopes of frustrating Rafa Benitez’s title chasers were blown away on five minutes when Torres brilliantly volleyed home an opener and half an hour later the Spaniard had doubled the lead with his head.

Late goals from Daniel Agger and David Ngog put the gloss on the win, denting Rovers’ goal difference in the process, but in truth it was never a contest as the visitors meekly accepted the drubbing handed out.

Benni McCarthy’s absence from the side did raise more than a few eyebrows, with Rovers lining up without a recognised striker and the South African on the bench. It would have taken more than his magic to change the game though.

Had it not been for goalkeeper Paul Robinson, the embarrassment could have been far more, as he made a host of saves that suggest an England recall cannot be far away.

Irishmen Keith Treacy and Keith Andrews were given the run around by Albert Riera down the left wing while Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano controlled play in the middle of the park.

Tugay’s frustration was clear to see as he continually demanded the ball to feet without any success, while David Dunn’s brave efforts were obviously hampered by the Achilles injury he has been carrying.

Stephen Warnock looked as though he was expected to be Samba’s support man but for most of the match he was too busy trying to help his exposed team mates defensively.

The rout began on five minutes when Torres was inexplicably allowed to run behind Ryan Nelsen, control Carragher’s long ball, and brilliantly volley the ball over Robinson and into the top corner.

The Rovers keeper then fought a one-man crusade to keep his side in it as Liverpool picked their way through a rattled Rovers at will.

A daft quick free kick from the visitors allowed the hosts to launch a quick break away and, after Robinson denied Mascherano from close range, Torres blasted over with an empty net gaping.

There was little respite though as Agger headed straight at Robinson and Dirk Kuyt had a close-range header brilliantly turned away by the former Spurs stopper.

The inevitable though came on 34, when Torres climbed above Samba to power a header past Robinson to give the hosts what already looked like an unassailable lead.

Young Irish winger Aaron Doran was handed his Premier League debut, as a replacement for the ineffective Mokoena, but the change did little to disrupt Liverpool’s stroll.

The hosts could even afford to take their foot off the pedal as they started to think about conserving energy for Tuesday’s night’s mammoth Champions League second leg at Chelsea.

The introduction of Carlos Villanueva for the tiring Dunn on the hour mark actually sparked the visitors’ brightest spell of the game, as the Chilean twisted and turned and for the first time threatened Liverpool’s defence.

Had Samba’s instinctive strike squirmed its way past Pepe Reina on 77, a nervy final 10 minutes could have followed, it didn’t though and Liverpool just moved up a gear.

First Agger fired a 30-yard screamer past Robinson to make it 3-0 on 84 minutes and then Ngog headed home Lucas’s cross from close range in the dying seconds to send a defiant message to Manchester and leave Rovers fans nervously listening out for the fate of the relegation rivals.

* We apologise for the delay in publishing this match report - this was due to technical problems.