Sunday, September 13, 2009

Liverpool 4 - 0 Burnley

A Yossi Benayoun hat-trick inspired a dominant Liverpool to a comfortable victory over Burnley at Anfield.
The midfielder cut inside Graham Alexander and slid in a shot across keeper Brian Jensen for the opener.
Jensen could only parry Benayoun's shot at the end of a swift counter-attack and Dirk Kuyt slotted in the loose ball to extend the Reds' lead.
Benayoun then twice tapped in Steven Gerrard and Andriy Voronin passes to round off an impressive display.
The creativity produced by Israeli international Benayoun showed he can help ease the pressure on Gerrard and Fernando Torres and provided a contrast to keeper Pepe Reina's forthright words ahead of the match.
Reina claimed winning the Premier League was "not a realistic option" for the Reds as he revealed there was an air of "resignation" at the lack of funds spent on the squad.
He also cited an absence of enough players of "vision" at Liverpool compared to the Anfield side's rivals.
The lack of players to open up defences against teams like Burnley cost the Reds dearly last season as they twice drew with newly-promoted sides at home and dropped four points, which would have won them the title.
Benayoun - whether riled by Reina's words or not - appeared determined to prove his team-mate wrong.
He latched on to an angled Glen Johnson ball and cut inside Alexander before side footing in a shot across Jensen for his first.
Reds boss Rafael Benitez has always emphasised the importance of his side getting the opening goal to bring teams out of their shell and so it proved.
Burnley pushed forward more after going a goal down and were caught out as Liverpool sucked them in before going up the other end and scoring - Kuyt side footing in after Benayoun's shot was only parried by Jensen.
There were chants of 'where is Traore' from Burnley fans in reference to former Reds defender Djimi Traore's own goal for them when they knocked Liverpool out of the 2005 FA Cup.
But there was little threat of them instigating any such humiliation this time around.
Two Martin Paterson long-range strikes were Burnley's only threat but they were comfortably gathered by Reina as Liverpool rarely looked in trouble.
Gerrard, playing in a deeper midfield role with Javier Mascherano missing, still made an impact in attack as he forced his way into the Burnley box before squaring a ball for Benayoun to tap in.
An unmarked Benayoun again eased in from close range after Voronin's pass to emphasise the emphatic nature of the victory, while a clean sheet will also please Benitez after the side's recent struggles in defence.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez:"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."
Burnley boss Owen Coyle:"We started really well, and looked comfortable. But if you switch off against players like these, you will be punished.
"I can't argue with the result, we were playing against world-class players.
"But I was annoyed with the first goal we conceded, we backed off and allowed Yossi Benayoun to get his shot in."

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