The Reds ran rampage against Besiktas at Anfield last night. A storming 8-0 victory has once again lit the torch of hope for the Reds in terms of this season's competition. Yossi Benayoun hit three of the eight whilst Babel and Crouch bagged two each as well.
Besiktas got the game underway attacking the Kop end in the first half and started reasonably well. They actually had a decent chance just three minutes in to the game but couldn't get a shot on target.
At the other end Andriy Voronin had a good chance from a Crouch knock down but could only send his shot wide of the mark.
The Reds slowly started to gain possession higher up the pitch and Crouch headed just wide on eight minutes. The goal surely had to come early if the Reds were to retain their hopes.
The flow of the game was all towards Besiktas's goal now and the deadlock was broken on eighteen minutes thanks to Peter Crouch. He took a ball from Voronin and managed to squeeze clear. His first shot was well saved by the keeper but Crouch reacted really well to hit home with his left foot. That really changed the whole game as the away side had to come out a bit more if they were to get anything from the match.
Midway through the half and the Reds came so close to scoring again as Riise sent a bullet header on target from a corner only to see it cleared off the line. A minute later and Crouch crashed a volley right across the face of the goal as the Reds started to look really dominant.
The Reds finally went two up just after the half hour mark. Riise took a smart quick throw down the line for Voronin who attacked his man, got his head up and spotted Benayoun free at the back of the box. He controlled the ball before drilling it down past the Besiktas keeper.
As the half went on it was always looking more like a case of nail a move and the game will be completely gone. Half time arrived though and the game was at 2-0. The Reds looked comfortable though and made the away side look ordinary. You just wanted one more goal though really to make sure of the result.
That third goal came on fifty three minutes from Benayoun once again. Crouch danced forward before feeding Riise completely free in the box. He turned and rifled a shot on target only for the keeper to push it sideways. Benayoun was on the spot though to tuck the ball home from four yards out. Now it was easy street and it got even easier three minutes later when Benayoun again tapped home from close range. Gerrard blasted a free kick on target which the keeper fumbled and the Israeli star completed his hat-trick.
The game was so enjoyable to watch as the Reds poured forward. Babel came on in place of Aurelio on sixty three minutes which allowed Aurelio a rest at least. At 4-0 you also started looking around for players you could rest for future games. Gerrard was the most obvious to look at here.
Before Gerrard was subbed though he managed to get on the scoresheet himself. He played a neat one two with Voronin before charging in to the area and blasting home of the foot of the Besiktas defender. This was now becoming a rout.
Gerrard was rested soon after with Lucas replacing him. At the same time Kewell replaced the hard working Voronin which moved Babel in to a striking role.
It got even better when on seventy eight minutes Benayoun did well down the right and drilled the ball across the area where Babel flicked the ball behind his leg and in to the back of the net for number six. The crowd started chanting for seven and attack attack attack.
Three minutes later and it was seven as Babel charged down a hooked clearance from their defender. The ball flew off the Babel and looped over the keeper and in to the bottom corner. A great lesson as to never give a defender too much time.
The chants changed to we want eight. It may be greedy but it was also the record Champions League score if we could get it and we were so enjoying this one. The eighth goal came just two minutes from time when Peter Crouch stormed a header past the Besiktas keeper and the rout was complete. Crouch had started is all seventy minutes earlier and finished it off despite the cries of we want nine.
The final whistle went - and the stadium clock hadn't actually reached 90 when Markus Merk spared Besiktas of any more mullering. I don't know if the clock started a few minutes late or something in the half or if they pause time every time they add goals or something - well it did alter six times in the second half. A great victory though and one which certainly sends a message out around the group that we are there fighting. Now let's do the same on Saturday against Fulham.
MotM : Yossi Benayoun - superb all night - took his goals well but his all round play was superb. If only we had more players in his mould!