Sat 1st September 2007 3pm @ Anfield
Liverpool hammered Toulouse 4-0 at Anfield earlier this week but this 6-0 annihilation of Derby County placed the reds at the top of the Premiership for the first time in 5 years and was a warning to the rest of the league.
Let's not get it out of context - Derby look certain to be relegation candidates for the rest of the season - but in the past few seasons a number of teams have come to Anfield, with men behind the ball, looking for the draw. Occasionally this strategy has worked and teams have left Anfield clutching a point. The result of this match reminds anybody thinking of employing the same tactic at Anfield these days that they are likely to leave humiliated. For the first 25 minutes Derby frustrated the hell out of the reds who had chances to take an early lead, but Xabi Alonso's 45 yard free kick in the 27th minute opened the floodgates. Ryan Babel delivered the second on the stroke of half time after skilfully bypassing two Derby players with a truly quality goal.
In the second half Liverpool turned the screw and Torres scored again at Anfield to make it 3-0 after a turn of speed. Alonso made it four and then we saw the remarkable sight of a seemingly new attacking Benitez. 4-0 up at Anfield and Benitez then took the unusual step of bringing on a third striker, Andriy Voronin. Within 3 minutes of his arrival a goal was crafted including Torres, Kuyt and then Voronin despatching the ball in to the net. I wonder what Peter Crouch was thinking - the player deciding to stay away from Anfield for the ame.
A mistake by Derby defender Andy Todd, allowed Torres to continue his fantastic start to his Anfield career as he netted his 3rd goal in 2 home games.
Liverpool are top of the league and enjoying one of our best starts in Premiership history.
You're starting to believe aren't you.....
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Agger, Arbeloa, Pennant (Benayoun 61), Mascherano (Sissoko 77), Alonso, Babel (Voronin 73), Torres, Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Riise.
Goals: Alonso 27, Babel 45, Torres 56, Alonso 69, Voronin 76, Torres 78.
Derby: Bywater, Griffin (Moore 80), Malcolm (Teale 59), Davis, Camara (McEveley 63), Todd, Fagan, Oakley, Mears, Pearson, Howard.
Subs Not Used: Price, Earnshaw.
Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).
Post Match Reaction
"It was an almost perfect performance. In the first half we missed lots of chances and it was only after the third goal that the game was over.
"We knew Derby had a good team spirit and we did a professional job.
"I am very happy to be top but it is just for one day. It is nice to score six but there is a long way to go."
Derby County boss Billy Davies:
"We started well and I felt we were quite comfortable for the first 20 minutes.
"But our timing to concede a second goal before the break was terrible and the second half was a calamity.
"We are still not competing in the manner we should and we won't pick up points until we start doing so."