With the international break come and gone, Rafa Benitez fielded a squad missing Javier Mascherano after picking up a knock during Argentina’s midweek fixture, as well as long term injuries to Alberto Aquilani, Fabio Aurelio and Daniel Agger but welcomed back Martin Skrtel from injury after recovering from a cracked jaw.
Ryan Babel’s long term future at the club was further put into question with the Dutchman being left out of the squad altogether.
Heading into the match, the Reds had been shaky at best in their previous four matches while Burnley stunned Manchester United and Everton. The first period saw Burnley peg the Reds back with some neat football and sloppy play from their opponents.
That soon changed as the midfield slowly gained control in the centre of the park with Steven Gerrard playing alongside Lucas. Yossi Benayoun was given a license to attack playing behind Fernando Torres in a familiar lone striker role and it was the Israeli international who struck first blood.
Benayoun picked up possession deep in Burnley’s half and neatly weaved past the Clarets’ skipper, Graham Alexander, before slotting past Jensen with aplomb.
The goal seemed to spark a Reds side stuck in second gear and they set out to put their new divisional rivals to the sword. Benayoun, again at the heart of a Liverpool attack, saw his diving header blocked by Jensen, while Dirk Kuyt was denied from a rebounding effort.
Kuyt again showed his poaching skills on 41 minutes as a swerving shot from Benayoun was parried into Kuyt’s path and the unmarked winger was on hand to slot home from the six yard box, sending the Anfield faithful into raptures
It could of been three before half time as Captain Fantastic had a superb 20 yard shot saved by an equally impressive save from Burnley shot stopper, Jensen.
A penalty shout came from the Reds just after the interval but it was adjudged to be a free kick only. The resulting effort saw Albert Riera have his effort blocked.
A largely ineffective Fernando Torres was finally in the limelight as he latched on to a long ball from Kuyt but former Derby defender Tyrone Mears sensed the danger and defused the situation with a fine tackle.
Torres was at the heart of another fine move from Liverpool as he picked the ball up on the right hand side of the penalty area and found a surging Gerrard with a neat little pass who then burst into the box and teed up Benayoun for a much deserved second.
The No.15 thought he had another Liverpool hat-trick but was harshly ruled offside.
A rampaging Gerrard found himself one-on-one in the 74th minute after some immense pressure on the Burnley defence but his heavy touch put him in an obscure position, his resulting effort however nearly snuck in but was denied by the post.
Benayoun ensured he would go home with the match ball after a neat run and pass from Riera found Voronin in the middle of the park and his superb slide-rule through ball found Benayoun who took his time in delivering the killer blow.
Voronin could of got on the scoresheet himself to inject some confidence into his game but he shot wide.
It didn’t matter too much, however, as the Reds ran away with a much needed 3 points. Our first back-to-back win for the new campaign.
The boys now play Debrecen in the Champions League midweek, hoping to start their European campaign on the right foot.
Post Match Comments
“Yossi had been away on international duty and done a lot of travelling, but he wanted to play.
“It is important to him to show his quality in every training session and every match.
“Over the seasons he has shown his value coming off the bench, but now he is showing how important he can be with movement and passing from the start.”
Teams and Match Stats
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Insua, Skrtel, Johnson (Degen 64), Gerrard, Leiva, Benayoun, Kuyt (Voronin 69), Torres (Ngog 75), Riera
Unused Subs: Cavalieri, Dossena, Spearing, Kyrgiakos
Goals: Benayoun (27, 61, 82), Kuyt (41)
Possession: 59% – Shots 27 (On target 16)
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander (Gudjonnsen 75), Carlisle, Mears, Bikey, Jordan, Elliot, McCann, Fletcher, Paterson (Nugent 70), Blake (Eagles 58)
Unused Subs: Penny, McDonald, Guerrero, Thompson
Booked: Jordan, Eagles
Possession: 41% – Shots 6 (On target 3)
Referee: Lee Mason