Liverpool 1 Manchester City 0
The Spanish hot-shot pounced after 56 minutes to notch his 23rd league goal of a season and liven up a match in which most of the players seemed to have their minds on the summer holidays.
With City languishing in mid-table and Liverpool having already secured a Champions League spot, both teams had little to play for, and it showed as they started the game at a snail's pace.
It took almost 20 minutes for the game's first chance when Dirk Kuyt sped down the right wing and fired in a pinpoint cross, but Ryan Babel's header cleared the bar.
The chance seemed to wake the home side from their slumber and the lively Kuyt almost found Torres unmarked in the box with another dangerous cross.
Then Torres ghosted into the box and flashed a shot wide before Steven Gerrard unleashed a 25-yard drive that flew inches wise of Joe Hart's post.
And the City keeper was at full-stretch to superbly palm away a wicked Gerrard curler on the half-hour.
Sven-Goran Eriksson's men looked disinterested as they failed to fashion a single chance in the first half.
And they were on the back foot again two minutes into the second half as Gerrard's defence-splitting throughball freed Torres but the Spaniard placed his shot wide.
The Blues did manage a meaningful attack after 50 minutes - and it very nearly brought them the lead.
Stephen Ireland was brought down on the edge of the box and Brazilian Elano stepped up to curl a brilliant free-kick which struck the outside of Pepe Reina's post.
Liverpool hit back, with Javier Mascherano blasting wide after cleverly jinking his way past two City defenders
And on 58 minutes they took a deserved lead through their prolific player of the season. And it was vintage Torres, the Spaniard leaving Richard Dunne in his wake before side-footing the ball through Hart's legs and into the corner of the net.
Liverpool were rampant and poured forward at every opportunity as Kuyt forced a smart save from the City keeper with a thunderous volley.
The Dutchman went even closer on 63 minutes, heading a superb Sami Hyypia cross against the bar before heading a Gerrard corner straight at Hart when it would have been easier to score.
Then Ryan Babel inexplicably fired over after Torres had embarrassed Dunne.
The game should have been out of City's reach so dominant were Liverpool, but they were nearly made to rue their missed chances on 83 minutes when Benjani struck a ferocious free-kick which Reina did well to palm away.
Seconds later Javier Mascherano powered forward for the Reds and hit a low drive only to see Hart dive brilliantly to his right to push it out.