Rampant Reds run riot
Record victory for Liverpool as they keep Champions League hopes alive.
Last Updated: 07/11/07 9:18am
Benayoun: Hat-trick hero
Liverpool sent out a powerful reminder that they are still in the UEFA Champions League with a record-breaking 8-0 dismantling of Besiktas at Anfield.
The 2005 European champions need three wins from their last three games, and they managed the first while also proving a point as they ripped an, in truth, woeful Besiktas side to shreds.
Peter Crouch enjoyed a rare start by opening and closing the scoring, while Yossi Benayoun bagged a hat-trick and substitute Ryan Babel scored twice and also hit the bar during the drubbing.
Skipper Steven Gerrard also got his name on the scoresheet as The Reds ran Besiktas ragged on their way to a record winning margin in Champions League history, which sets them up superbly for their challenge of squeezing through into the knockout stages.
Matias Delgado's early run had set up Mehmet Sedef for a half-chance on the near post, but it was all Liverpool after that.
Liverpool had a stream of chances before Crouch put them ahead on 19 minutes.
Andrei Voronin from close range was just wide, Crouch missed with a powerful header and Benayoun also went close.
The breakthrough came when Voronin prodded a pass through the middle and Crouch forced his way between two defenders to see his first shot blocked by Arikan, before following up to stab home the lose ball.
Crouch's celebration was more of relief than joy, this being only his second goal of a difficult, inactive, season spent warming the bench.
The onslaught continued with John Arne Riise having a powerful header blocked on the line by Serdar Kurtulus.
With Gerrard everywhere and Liverpool dominating at a high tempo it was no surprise that a harassed Besiktas wanted to calm things down.
But the second arrived on 32 minutes after Riise got away with stealing several yards at a quick throw. He sent Voronin racing away on the left and, when the cross arrived in the box, Benayoun had time and space to lash the ball home.
The Israel midfielder's effort was Liverpool's 500th in European competition, and they were starting to live up to that pedigree after a group of previous mediocrity.
The trick now was for Liverpool to maintain this level after the break and finish things off.
And two goals in two minutes achieved that. On 52 minutes Voronin worked his way in from the left before offering Riise the chance to test Arikan from 12 yards. The keeper could only parry the effort, allowing Benayoun a six-yard finish for the third.
Two minutes later Benayoun grabbed his hat-trick. Lamine Diatta had fouled Voronin on the edge of the box, and Gerrard's fierce free-kick was too much for Arikan. The ball was again half-stopped and there was Benayoun with another close-range finish from the rebound.
The fifth was not long in coming.
Voronin, having his best game for the club, played Gerrard in with a fine one-two and the skipper responded with a fierce dipping drive that left Arikan standing.
Liverpool could now indulge themselves. Benitez sent on Harry Kewell, Babel and Lucas for Voronin, Fabio Aurelio and the outstanding Gerrard.
The sixth came on 77 minutes when Benayoun crossed low from the right and Babel beat Arikan with a clever back-heel. And three minutes later Babel got the seventh, deflecting a clearance from Ibrahim Toraman over Arikan.
Besiktas had capitulated by now and Babel saw a header crash against the bar with Liverpool trying pot shots from everywhere.
Crouch, having started the rout, was the last to strike, heading in his second from another Benayoun cross after 88 minutes.
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|16||Shots on Target||1|
|12||Shots off Target||2|