1 November 2005 (7.45pm) at Anfield

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Garcia scores a brilliant goal.

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Morientes 34, Luis Garcia 61, Cisse 89

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Liverpool produced a performance in keeping with their status as European champions but are still not certain of qualifying for the last 16 of the competition.

The Reds moved top of Group G following Chelsea's defeat in Seville by Real Betis but that result means the Spanish side will travel to Anfield on November 23 still in with an outside chance of qualifying themselves.

Betis will then have a final home game against whipping boys Anderlecht while Liverpool may have to go to Stamford Bridge on December 6 still needing something from the match.

That is something Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is desperate to avoid but he can take comfort from his side's performance with Fernando Morientes, Luis Garcia and Djibril Cisse scoring at Anfield.

Anderlecht's night of misery was compounded by a late red card for substitute Nenad Jestrovic, believed to be for racial abuse of Mohamed Sissoko.

Liverpool made just one change from the side which beat West Ham on Saturday, Benitez leaving out Cisse and opting for Peter Crouch up front alongside Morientes, which meant skipper Steven Gerrard was again used on the right of midfield.

Crouch was involved immediately, heading a Steve Finnan cross wide and then setting up Luis Garcia for a dipping drive which was held by Silvio Proto.

Liverpool took a firm grip on proceedings with slick passing moves, only punctuated by an Anderlecht break which saw Serhat blatantly dive over a challenge from John Arne Riise in the corner of the box.

Danish referee Kim Milton Nielsen waved play on, but maybe should have done something about the theatrics.

Penned back for long spells, Anderlecht could still produce slick passing of their own and one fine example was brought to an end by a Sissoko trip on Christian Wilhelmsson which earned a booking for the Mali international.

A minute later Crouch came close to his first Liverpool goal when he slid in on the near post to stab a low Gerrard cross just wide.

The supply line of crosses from Finnan had been consistent and when the Irish fullback fired in another from the right, Morientes met it six yards out with a first time effort which Proto blocked. Crouch could not turn quickly enough to do anything but hook the rebound wide.

But Morientes opened the scoring on 34 minutes when he chested down a Gerrard through ball before firing a drive in off the far post as Hannu Tihinen failed to close down quickly enough.

It was the Spaniard's first Anfield goal of the season and only his sixth goal in 28 matches for the club.

Liverpool started the second period intent on finishing the contest as quickly as possible.

Morientes had a shot deflected wide and Sissoko saw his 12-yard effort also blocked.

Jamie Carragher then saw an unopposed header from the corner clutched gratefully by Proto but Liverpool's system was disrupted when Morientes was replaced on 52 minutes by Bolo Zenden, the goalscorer clearly carrying an injury.

However on 61 minutes Finnan again provided the ammunition and Garcia, some 15 yards out and at a difficult angle, flicked a perfect header on the run into the far corner for Liverpool's second.

Anderlecht responded with a battling run down the left and along the byline by Wilhelmsson, before his shot was blocked on the near post by Jose Reina.

But Liverpool were flying now and Sissoko and Alonso both went close in a sustained period of attacking.

Liverpool sent on Cisse for Crouch on 71 minutes before referee Nielsen had his famous red card out again. The official who has sent off David Beckham and Wayne Rooney on past occasions this time dispatched Serbian Jestrovic on 75 minutes.

The substitute was involved in an exchange of words with Sissoko and Nielsen was clearly not happy with what he heard, instantly brandishing the card.

A minute from time Cisse completed the victory when he ran onto a Kewell pass before coolly slipping the ball past Proto for his eighth Champions League goal in 11 games this season.

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» Teams

Liverpool Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Gerrard (Kewell 78), Alonso, Sissoko, Luis Garcia, Morientes (Zenden 52), Crouch (Cisse 72).

Subs Not Used: Dudek, Hamann, Josemi, Warnock.

Booked: Sissoko.

Anderlecht Proto, Zewlakow, Juhasz, Tihinen, Wilhelmsson, Vanderhaeghe (Pujol 70), Deman, Goor, Akin (Jestrovic 70), Zetterberg, Mpenza (Baseggio 82).

Subs Not Used: Zitka, Deschacht, Hasi, Traore.

Sent Off: Jestrovic (75).

Att: 42,607

Ref: Kim Milton Nielsen (Denmark).

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Match Report filed: 3 November 2005