It was a must-win game, and boy – did we win it!
Liverpool proved the defeat in Turkey was a fluke by smashing apart Besiktas at Anfield tonight. Two of Rafa’s irregulars stole the show – with Peter Crouch setting the reds off before Yossi Benayoun hit a magical hat-trick, the kind of European performance we used to see from the player he replaced – Luis Garcia.
Lets be fair – the reds still have a massive way to go if we want to qualify from the Champions League but this performance, and scoreline, will not only boost the reds European hopes but will also give the players a serious confidence injection ahead of the weekend’s Premiership game.
Liverpool started brightly and both Voronin and Crouch could have opened their accounts within the first 5 minutes. When Crouch won a free kick when a player jumped all over him – a rare site in European football – you had the feeling things were going to go our way.
It was the 18th minute when Peter Crouch unleashed a shot that the goalkeeper parried, but Crouch was determined enough to latch on to the rebound and slide it past the keeper.
The reds continued peppering the Besiktas goal with Voronin guilty of some wastefulness, but in the 31st minute Andriy made up for leaving his shooting boots at home by setting up Benayoun who fired home from the corner of the box.
If you thought the reds had done all their work for the night then you would be wrong, if anything the reds started the second half in an even more positive vein.
Yossi Benayoun found himself in the right place at the right time on 2 occassions within 2 minutes.
In the 52nd minute Riise’s powerful shot was parried to the awaiting Yossi who fired home, and then shortly after he completed a marvellous 22 minute hat-trick by getting the rebound from Gerrard’s 25 yard free-kick.
4-0 and the reds were running riot.
Was the game over? No chance. Liverpool were determined to send a message to all those critics of not only them but also of their manager.
Ryan Babel was brought on to replace Fabio Aurelio and in the 69th minute Liverpool’s passing hit its peak. A fine move culminated in who else but Steven Gerrard smashing home to put the reds 5-0 ahead, equalling the reds record Champions League score.
Benitez then decided enough was enough and gave Steven Gerrard a much needed rest and replaced him with Lucas Leiva. Harry Kewell was cheered on to replace Andriy Voronin.
There was still plenty of times for some goals and everyone inside Anfield couldn’t have been more pleased when Ryan Babel back-heeled number 6 in to the net. A quality goal from a quality player.
Record breaking stuff – surpassing the 5-0 victory against Spartak Moscow.
‘Attack, Attack, Attack’ the Kop shouted.
And Ryan Babel got number 7 when he benefitted from a poor clearance from a Besiktas defender which came off his chest.
Within minutes he nearly scored what would have been the quickest European hat-trick when his header smashed back off the cross-bar. Unlucky sunshine.
The reds have turned their European form around. Let’s hope it isn’t too late.
Liverpool 8 (eight) – Besiktas 0
Liverpool: Reina, Aurelio (Babel 63), Hyypia, Carragher, Arbeloa, Riise (Kewell 72), Gerrard (Lucas 72), Mascherano, Benayoun, Crouch, Voronin
Subs Not Used: Martin, Finnan, Torres, Kuyt
Goals: Crouch (18,88), Benayoun (32,53,55), Gerrard (69), Babel (79,81)
Besiktas: Arikan, Uzulmez, Toraman, Diatta, Kurtulus (Higuain 62), Sedef (Ricardinho 78), Cisse, Avci, Ozcan (Tandogan 46), Delgado, Bobo.
Subs Not Used: Rustu, Yozgatli, Kas, Karadeniz. Booked: Ozcan.
Att: 41,143 Ref:
Markus Merk (Germany).
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