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Lorenzo Tonelli put the home side ahead after 10 minutes with a precise header from a corner which clipped the inside of the post before rolling over the line.
AC Milan's evening became even worse when Marco van Ginkel was forced from the field with an injury.
Verdi then wasted another glorious opportunity to put the game out of reach when he miscued a header and sent it over the bar, and was made to pay on the stroke of half time.
Torres, who was denied by a remarkable Luigi Sepe save in the 41st minute, opened his AC Milan account just two minutes later with a powerful header which was forced into the top corner from a difficult angle.
Francesco Tavano had the chance to restore Empoli's two-goal lead 10 minutes after the break but he planted his shot just wide of the post.
Two minutes later, Keisuke Honda lashed home an accurate finish to level the scores in Empoli.
The goal gave Milan the momentum and Jeremy Menez struck the bar before Torres came close with a right-footed strike for the visitors.
Filippo Inzaghi's side continued to pepper the Empoli goal, with Honda going very close with a free kick before Menez was denied once more by a sprawling Sepe save.
Empoli were even reduced to 10 men as Mirko Valdifiori picked up two yellow cards in as many minutes, but Milan had to settle for a point.