Torres turned from hero to villain as Chelsea secured a comfortable 4-1
victory at home to Swansea City.
The Spanish striker inexplicably went diving in studs first on Mark Gower in between two Ramires goals which were followed by Ashley Williams' consolation and a comeback goal for Didier Drogba.
In a first half of real contrasting fortunes for Chelsea, Torres opened the scoring with a neat right-foot finish from Juan Mata's angled pass over the top. But soon after Ramires had doubled the lead, albeit through the legs of goalkeeper Michel Vorm, the Spanish striker received a straight red card for a shocking two-footed lunge on Gower.
Although the visitors started brightly for the opening quarter of the second half, Chelsea made the game safe thanks to Ramires' second goal of the afternoon, sidefooting the ball past Vorm.
Swansea scored a late consolation through Williams' well directed header but Andre Villas-Boas' side restored their three-goal cushion four minutes into stoppage-time as substitute Didier Drogba cleverly fired low, back across goal.
Frank Lampard starting on the bench was also a talking point, although the midfielder played 76 minutes on Wednesday night.
He looked certain to start at Valencia, emphasising that, at 33, he was being held back more and more for the big games.
Chelsea's bid to close the five-point gap to Manchester United did not begin well, with the hosts outplayed by the visitors in the opening 15 minutes.
Raul Meireles volleyed over when well-placed and Ramires had a close-range shot blocked but Chelsea were failing to replicate the beautiful game Villas-Boas insisted they had produced last weekend.
Torres was also struggling to repeat his Old Trafford exploits, where his horror miss marred what was otherwise his best performance in a Chelsea shirt.
That changed in dramatic fashion in the 29th minute when Mata chipped a ball over the top and Angel Rangel played Torres onside, allowing him to swivel and find the bottom corner.
Mata was needlessly booked for hauling back Rangel, with Williams close to converting the resultant free-kick.
But Chelsea's scintillating football finally arrived nine minutes from half-time when a sweeping breakaway saw Ashley Cole pick out Ramires, who drilled the ball through Vorm's legs.
But Torres then undid all his good work when he was sent off three minutes later for a shocking tackle on Gower.
Referee Mike Dean had no choice but to show red for the challenge, despite it appearing more clumsy than malicious.
Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers, who enjoyed a pre-match ovation on his return to the club where he was reserve-team boss for four years, threw on Wayne Routledge for Leon Britton during the interval.
The visitors laid siege to the Chelsea goal after the restart as Meireles almost slid the ball into his own net, the livewire Nathan Dyer saw his shot deflect off John Obi Mikel and loop onto the crossbar, and Williams misdirected a header from the resultant corner.
A desperate challenge from Mikel prevented Leroy Lita converting Rangel's cross and the subsequent corner was headed goalward by Williams, only for Jose Bosingwa to clear off the line.
Dyer was booked for felling Anelka as Chelsea broke and Ramires also volleyed wide before Mata was withdrawn for Florent Malouda and the fit-again Danny Graham came on for Lita just before the hour mark.
Anelka almost scored a superb individual goal after being allowed to carry the ball 25 yards before unleashing a piledriver against the bar.
Chelsea began to cope with their man disadvantage, as they had against Fulham on Wednesday, forcing Swansea to introduce Stephen Dobbie for Dyer.
Garry Monk was booked for tripping Anelka 15 minutes from time and the 10 men made it 3-0 a minute later, Ramires too easily cutting inside Williams before passing the ball beyond Vorm.
Drogba made his long-awaited return from his sickening head injury for the final 11 minutes as Anelka was withdrawn.
Josh McEachran also replaced Ramires before Swansea finally netted in the 86th minute, the unmarked Williams heading home his first Premier League goal from Gower's free-kick.
Vorm saved well from Malouda, Williams went close to nodding in his second in stoppage-time and Ramires dragged a hat-trick chance wide before Drogba turned on Malouda's pass and steered the ball beyond Vorm to add gloss to the scoreline.
Click Here For Official Team Sheet
Chelsea Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Meireles (McEachran 83), Anelka (Drogba 79), Torres, Mata (Malouda 59)
Subs Not Used Turnbull, Luiz, Lampard, Kalou
Booked Mata, Mikel, Cole
Sent Off Torres
Goals Torres 29, Ramires 36, 76, Drogba 90
Monk, Williams, Taylor, Gower, Britton (Routledge 46), Dyer (Dobbie
71), Allen, Sinclair, Lita (Graham 59)
Subs Not Used Tremmel, Bessone, Richards, Moore
Booked Monk, Taylor, Dyer
Goals Williams 86
Referee M. Dean