Liverpool had not the best of records against Spanish opposition in Europe but that was all forgotten in an exhilarating opening 45 minutes.
Real Madrid, nine times winners of Europe's Premier competition, were made to look ordinary as the Reds ran them ragged.
Quicker to the ball and incisive in their passing, Liverpool tore into the visitors from the start.
The inevitable opening goal arrived on 15 minutes. The Madrid defence was caught in possession and Torres was given an easy toe poke chance.
Madrid looked shell shocked, profligate in their passing and totally outfought.
When Gabriel Heinze handled under pressure the referee awarded a penalty ignoring the vociferous Madrid protests.
Gerrard easily converted from 12 yards.
Madrid finally tested Pepe Reina through Raul and Sneijder but it was all desperate stuff.
Within a minute of the restart the game was over. Ryan Babel, who had come in for some stick from the home support, crossed hard and low, and Gerrard smashed home his second of the night.
The Reds captain, who was later substituted, was denied a hat trick by a fine Casillas save.
Inevitably the pace slackened as Madrid came back into the game but apart from a few half chances they posed little threat and there misery was complete when substitute Andrea Dossena added a fourth late on to inflict Madrid's heaviest away European defeat.
"We approached the game with a lot of confidence and the atmosphere was a help – it was team effort and they were very, very good.
"I think we surprised Madrid by not sitting back and attacking them from the start. They (Madrid) did not surprise me, I prefer to look at how well Liverpool played."