Benayoun 27, 61, 82 Kuyt 41
The prelude to this match was slightly overshadowed by the comments of Pepe Reina in the morning papers which suggested he’d given up on the title already. A tad premature maybe and confusing, compare and contrast the opinions in the following Reina quote.
“Can we win the league? I think so but there are other teams that are very capable of winning it – Chelsea, United, Arsenal, and Manchester City. We can’t set ourselves objectives. We all want to win the league but right now it’s not a realistic objective”
So we can win the league but its not realistic objective now? “Now” as in “now” September or this season? Sometimes theses quotes are lifted from foreign papers and taken out of context but in this case it was The Guardian. Perhaps Pepe was trying to indulge in some kind of reverse physiology? However, this was as see-through as his yellow goalkeeping kit is garish. On the whole it was slightly confusing and not too helpful but, at the end of the day, not a big deal even though Rafa, somewhat unconvincingly, tried to put his quotes into context.
“I think Pepe was trying to say something that we have spoken about before. We should not think about silverware or titles – just to get three points in the next game and see what happens.”
Perhaps three points at Anfield against Burnley would go a small way to making Pepe change his mind? However, given our home form against the newly promoted clubs recently perhaps there were grounds for nervousness all round? Thankfully everyone left wondering what all the worry was about.
Because Mascherano was injured Gerrard dropped back into the holding role, was he better off there in the light of today’s performance? Discuss! Kuyt, Benayoun and Riera were the trio strung across the pitch behind Torres. Srktel returned from injury. Significantly Insua kept his place at left back despite competition from Dossena and a fit again Aurelio.
Burnley’s tactics were commendable and refreshing if not completely sensible. Perhaps Owen Coyle saw this as “a nothing to lose game?” They were expected to come away pointless anyway so why not go for it and see what happens? As a result they had the first strike Peterson as screwed his shot wide of Reina’s left hand post.
However, the flip side of Burnley’s approach was that we were given more space even though our resulting attempts on goal were limited to long range approach efforts, Kuyt (twice), Torres and Srktel all tested their luck but could not find their range or trouble Jenson. The breakthrough came just before the half hour mark. Johnson on the right fed Benayoun who took a direct route towards goal evading Alexander with a soft shoe shuffle and a nutmeg and firmly side footing into the far corner.
Benayoun was at it again with a low diving header with produced a good save from Jenson who was then called upon to deal with a Lucas shot. Shortly after the Burnley defence arrived en masse in our area to try and exploit a set piece. However, Reina punched the ball away Torres picked it up and the break away started. Insua to Benayoun whose long range shot was parried by Jenson, Kuyt, from six yards out, prodded in the rebound with Burnley defenders vainly trying to get back. Who says set pieces are our downfall!
In second half Burnley changed formation in attempt to get back not the game but the damage was done and it was no surprise when Gerrard, bombing up into area from his holding role, collected Torres’ ball and then squared across the six yard area to give Benayoun the easiest of side foots into an empty net.
The Gerrard “spadework” Yossi tap in” combination nearly worked again but the Israeli was incorrectly adjudged to be off side from his Captain’s free kick. However, his treble was soon secured after an intricate move involving the man himself, with a back heel, Riera, Gerrard and Voronin whose final pass left the Israeli free to fire home a low shot and cap a great performance. In-between Gerrard hit the post and was again denied by Jenson. Voronin wasted a easy one on one with the Dane.
A good, settling win. No controversy after the game as every one was bleating about Adebayer. Let’s hope we’re left alone for a while longer to further find our feet and concentrate of quietly racking up the points and proving Pepe wrong?
Liverpool: Reina, Insua, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Riera, Gerrard (c), Leiva, Benayoun, Kuyt, Torres. Subs – Cavalieri, Degen, Dossena, Kyrgiakos, Ngog, Spearing, Voronin
Burnley: Jensen, Jordan, Bikey, Carlisle, Mears, McCann, Alexander (c), Fletcher, Elliott, Blake, Paterson. Subs – Eagles, Gudjonsson, Guerro, McDonald, Nugent, Penny, Thompson
League position: 5th