Liverpool rode their luck at Anfield to beat Fulham 1-0, with John Pantsil’s own-goal moving the Reds up to seventh in the Premier League.
Pantsil sliced the ball past goalkeeper David Stockdale in the 52nd minute, with goal enough to hand Kenny Dalglish the first home win of his second spell in charge at Anfield.
It leaves Liverpool only one place outside the top six and only six points from a European qualifying place.
But although the Kop celebrated a crucial victory and chanted their manager’s name, it was a nervy night in which Fulham created a string of chances worthy of earning at least a draw.
They were only kept out by poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Pepe Reina.
Liverpool had captain Steven Gerrard back from suspension but never really hit top gear, although they started brightly.
Torres was unlucky to be ruled offside after finishing off a smart Raul Meireles through-ball in the opening minutes, but Fulham dug their heels in during an even first half to match their rivals.
Meireles had a header well saved by Stockdale and the Fulham custodian also tipped over a stunning effort from Glen Johnson.
But the visitors were not without chances of their own.
Dempsey and Dembele were both denied by Pepe Reina and it took a piece of good fortune to finally put Liverpool ahead in the 52nd minute.
Torres’ shot was deflected onto the post and then, in the confusion that followed, Fulham defender Pantsil sliced the ball backwards past his own goalkeeper.
Fulham, to their credit, refused to buckle and three times went close to equalising; first when Reina saved from a Hughes header, then when Meireles cleared frantically off the line from Brede Hangeland.
The final scare for the Kop in a frantic finish came when Dembele wasted an excellent chance to score, firing straight at Reina.
But the Reds held on for a confidence-building victory – their second in succession after also winning at Wolves on Saturday.