After The Match


Liverpool-Spartak Moscow  




Champions League               Wednesday Oct 2nd           Kick-off: 20.45cet

Result: 5-0 (3-0)
Goals: Heskey (6, 88), Cheyrou (14), Hyypia (27), Diao (81)
LFC Team:

Carragher Hyypia  Henchoz  Riise
Murphy Gerrard  Hamann  Cheyrou
Heskey  Owen

Subs: Traore (Henchoz 61), Diao (Gerrard 77), Diouf (Cheyrou 82)
Not used: Kirkland, Berger, Baros, Biscan
Booked: Henchoz (10)               Kudryashov (13), Moises (27), Mitreski (35), Kebe (64), Kovtun (66)
Sent off: None
Referee: Alain Hamer (Luxembourg)
Attendance: 40.812


On target:
Off target:
Blocked shots:

Heskey dilemma

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

Emile Heskey feels he's given his manager an awesome selection dilemma after grabbing Liverpool's 400th European goal last night.

Heskey's double capped a dominant 5-0 victory over Spartak Moscow as the Reds re-established their Champions ' League credentials.

It was only the second time Heskey has started in attack this season, largely due to the form of Milan Baros.

Now, the pair will push each other for a starting place against Chelsea and Heskey thinks boss Gerard Houllier will be delighted to be so spoilt for choice.

Heskey said: "It's a good dilemma for the manager to have. He knows whoever he picks is going to get him goals and just as importantly give him 100 per cent every week. But whether I score or not, I always go out there and try my best no matter where I'm playing.

"It was good to be up front again last night. I enjoy being up there, but if the manager wants me to go back left for the team, I'm prepared to do that.

"It was nice getting among the goals, but the team's overall performance was the most important thing. Everyone was brilliant.

" The passing and tempo of the game was exactly what we wanted. We'd been frustrated last week against Basle and funnily enough I think we probably had more shots against them than we did last night."

Heskey's second took Liverpool to 400 European goals, although the striker admits he wasn't aware of record until after the game.

"I didn't realise it was our 400th goal in Europe, but that's good to know," said Heskey. "Michael put me in and it was a nice feeling to see it go into the corner. I thought Michael was very unlucky not to score himself.

"He had a brilliant game again and he was unfortunate when he hit the post. He gives everyone a lift when he's on the pitch.

"It's a much better position for us to be in the group now. We dropped points against Basle because we didn't get what we deserved. We got our just rewards last night and now we're hoping to push on even further."

Heskey takes centre stage

Andy Hunter - icLiverpool

Just as Sam Torrance sought Sir Alex Ferguson's advice before the Ryder Cup, so Gerard Houllier must have turned to Tony Blair to confront
the thorny issue of Europe.

What else can explain the New Labour-style decision to move Emile Heskey from wide on the left into the centre for immediate results. And in party conference week too!

It could be a coincidence of course, or just the fact that Liverpool slipped comfortably back into the old routine to outclass sorry Spartak Moscow and get their Champions League show back on the road last night.

With Heskey back alongside Michael Owen and the pair looking like they'd never been apart, the Reds rapidly and rampantly turned a faltering start to this European campaign into a promising one.

From the home of vodka came absolut rubbish. But Moscow would not have been alone in struggling to contain Liverpool on this form.

A fair criticism of the group format is that success is not decided on one night. This could just be the exception.

Spartak Moscow were always shaping up to be the Group B whipping boys with the scores racked up against them possibly decisive in the final reckoning.

And while there was never any doubt the Reds would finally collect their first Champions League victory after Heskey's seventh-minute opener, events elsewhere decreed this was a perfect night for Houllier's team.

The Reds boss could have told Christian Gross from bitter experience to fear the Mestalla Stadium, but the magnitude of Basel's drubbing by Valencia has unexpectedly shifted the power in his direction.

From experience, Houllier will know Liverpool are primed to prosper.

Last season they opened the first group stage with two disappointing draws before, in the sudden absence of their sick manager, becoming the first English team to triumph in Kiev and the second phase soon beckoned.

There, they overcame an identical beginning to this adventure - beaten by Barcelona and drawing in Rome - to advance once more.

Now, despite another stuttering start, they have worked themselves into a position to determine their own fate. And as they ominously click into gear at home and abroad few would now bet against the Reds passing 'Go' again with wins in Russia and Switzerland.

Certainly not in Moscow anyway, judging by last night's shocker from Spartak.

Without a win from their last 13 European tests the Russian champions proved that wasn't just an unfortunate run with no chance of ever taking anything from the 14th.

Coach Oleg Romantsev needed only 25 minutes of torture to make his first substitution, the number 55 on the back of the replaced Dmitry Khlestov symbolic of the amount of passes he'd given away before being put out of his misery.

Moscow were simply the worst European team Anfield has hosted since their return to Continental competition three seasons ago, but even so this was the night when Liverpool promised to vent the attacking frustrations of Basel and delivered.

As bad as Spartak were, Liverpool's play was without fault.

It is no coincidence their form has returned with the return of a settled, consistent defence.

And with the familiar forward line back in tandem, Anfield relished the comforts of old.

Within three minutes Liverpool had threatened, as the excellent Danny Murphy, John Arne Riise and Steven Gerrard combined for the latter to fire in a low drive which Moises lunged at to block.

It was an early scare Spartak never heeded; in fact they look petrified for the rest of the game and Heskey soon compounded their fears.

A long ball out of defence by Riise suddenly turned into a quality assist when it parted the Spartak defence, much to the credit of Moises. Liverpool's forward pair even had time to leave the ball to each other and still no defender arrived to clear up the danger.

So Heskey took up the invitation and popped the ball over Stanislav Cherchesov.

The Reds attack was strongly supported by Bruno Cheyrou sitting just behind, but Heskey was a dominant figure, chasing every cause and winning most of them.

He stole the ball from Yuri Kovtun to instigate Liverpool's second which, after Owen had been tackled, saw Murphy take possession and his time to roll a weighted pass into Cheyrou's stride. The Frenchman slipped the ball under the keeper for his first goal for the club.

There were never any worries a two-goal lead at Anfield wouldn't be enough in this game, but the third duly arrived on 28 minutes.

Gerrard had clearly been singled out for special Russian treatment, three Spartak players were booked for fouling the Reds midfielder but still he ran them ragged, and when Murphy whipped in a freekick following another assault Sami Hyypia rose majestically the head into the bottom corner.

At 39, Moscow keeper Cherchesov didn't need this battering on his back. But after their Basel faulty finishing, Liverpool were in no mood for further charity.

The visitors had tried to contain their rampant hosts as best they could after the restart until a final flourish gave the scoreline an accurate reflection.

Heskey's deep cross in the 81st minute presented another summer signing with his first Liverpool goal, as substitute Salif Diao climbed highest to nod in at the back post.

The provider turned poacher two minutes from time when Owen unselfishly passed up a shooting chance he'd carved open for himself and played Heskey clear on the right of the box, a slammed finish into the far corner completing the rout in style.

Liverpool's striking duo were at the heart of every flowing move, and the fact Owen failed to register in a five-goal hammering will not disguise the role he had to play.

He suffered some bad luck, especially after turning two defenders inside out only to see a sublime chip strike the post in the first half, and missed a decent chance to convert when Hamann's freekick spilled into his path.

But his movement, awareness and creativity were superb. Owen didn't get the goal in front of the Kop he desperately wanted, but the Kop got the goals and the points they craved.

Game on.

Houllier praises in-form Heskey


England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson saw Emile Heskey burst back into goalscoring form as Liverpool thrashed Spartak Moscow 5-0.

Heskey grabbed two goals and created another for Salif Diao in a display that had boss Gerard Houllier crowing: "Emile had power, strength and speed, and that was very important against Moscow, he was outstanding."

"It was the right time to put Emile back in as a striker. He was excellent against Manchester City, and he was important for us against Spartak with his qualities.

"He scored two, made another for Diao. I knew it was the right time to put him back up front."

Houllier, who last week saw his side create 27 chances and score just once, witnessed his team take that total over the 50-mark in two games, and said: "I still can't believe that we didn't score more against Basle.

"But this time the scoreline didn't flatter us, it could have been a lot more.

"Michael Owen may not have scored, but he was excellent, he created chances for others.

"We played some fine football, we had a high tempo from the start and we made Spartak look ordinary.

"Our running off the ball, our width and creative play, were the foundations to this result. This time we created the chances and scored them.

"We now go to Moscow for our next match in a fortnight, and hopefully our excellent away form in the Premiership will help us to do well there, too.

"One game is never like another, but we are ready to go to Moscow and get a positive result."

Five-star Liverpool rout Russians

By James Dart -

Liverpool finally found their Champions League stride at the third time of asking as they cruised to a thumping 5-0 victory over Spartak Moscow at Anfield.

Having collected just one point from their opening two Group B games, victory was imperative for Gerard Houllier's side and they duly delivered.

Emile Heskey opened the scoring after seven minutes as he burst clear before using his power and pace to hold off a defender and slot home.

Diao celebrates his goal.

It was 2-0 on 14 when Bruno Cheyrou doubled Liverpool's advantage with a neat finish after Danny Murphy's astute lay-off.

Michael Owen, without a goal in this competition so far this season, was unfortunate not to break his European duck when his shot rebounded off a post and out to safety.

But Spartak were clearly out of sorts, having failed to win in their 13 previous Champions League games, and they fell further behind in the 28th minute.

Murphy crossed from a free-kick wide on the left and skipper Sami Hyypia rose highest to head powerfully past Stanislav Cherchessov in the Spartak goal.

The Russians came out with a little more purpose in the second period as a little lethargy began to creep into Liverpool's game.

However, they were to put the seal on a comfortable victory with two goals in the final nine minutes.

Firstly, substitute Salif Diao headed home Heskey's cross on 81 minutes before Heskey bagged his second of the game in the 89th minute with a low shot from 12 yards after more good work from the tireless Owen

Thor Zakariassen