After The Match 


Liverpool-West Ham 3-0 (2-0)              19.4.10                    PL
Goals: Benayoun (19), Ngog (29), Green (59 og)
Team: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Maxi, Gerrard, Lucas, Benayoun, Kuyt, Ngog
Subs: Mascherano (Gerrard 72), Degen (Benayoun 78),
Babel (Ngog 81)
Not used: Cavalieri, Aquilani, El Zhar, Ayala
Yellow: Kovac (65), Faubert (81)
Red: None
Referee: Peter Walton
Attendance: 37,697
Shots on target: 6-2
Shots off target: 11-3
Blocked shots: 5-0
Fouls conceded: 9-13
Corners: 9-2
Offsides: 2-1
Possession: 66-34
Yellow: 0-2

HEADLINES "After we scored the first goal it was easier..."
Rafael Benitez
1904: Rafa happy with solid display
1904: Liverpool sink struggling Hammers


Rafa happy with solid display

Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was pleased with side's solid display after the Reds easily beat West Ham 3-0 to keep their faint UEFA Champions League hopes alive.

The Reds went in front when Yossi Benayoun chested in Steven Gerrard's free-kick from the right on 19 minutes.

David Ngog then put the home side two-up 10 minutes later when lashing home Maxi Rodriguez's cross.

The result was put beyond doubt on 59 minutes when Sotirios Kyrgiakos' shot hit the post and Robert Green put the rebound into his own net.

Afterwards Benitez said: "Everything was solid, they were trying to win from the start.

"After we scored the first goal it was easier, we had more chances. We scored the second goal and the third goal killed the game."

Long journey
Liverpool now face a long journey to play Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final first leg on Thursday and Benitez was happy to earn the win early on and rest players such as Gerrard and Benayoun at the end.

He added: "(We have) another game in a few days and with the journey that we have, it was important to score and to control the game."

The Reds boss was also quick to praise Ngog, who played in place of the injured Fernando Torres.

He said: "To replace Fernando is difficult and everyone is expecting to see the same things, but he is totally different."

When asked if the Europa League was now the priority, he replied: "After the game, yes, and on Sunday it will be the Premier League again."

The win moves the Reds up to sixth in the table, five points off fourth-placed Spurs, having played a game more, but Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes the team still have a chance of UEFA Champions League football.

Hasn't gone
He said: "It hasn't gone. We know it's going to be difficult. Other teams have done well.

"Tottenham have done really well but they have a tough game against Manchester United so hopefully they will slip up."

The former England international denied the game had been easy for the Reds, saying: "It's always a tough game. They are fighting for their lives and I think everyone has a soft spot for West Ham and hope they stop up."

Benayoun is a former Hammers player and his celebrations when scoring were low key.

He said: "I still have feelings for this club and hope they stay (up).

"I wish them all the best."

Liverpool sink struggling Hammers


Liverpool cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over West Ham at Anfield on Monday to keep their slim Champions League hopes alive.

Former West Ham midfielder Yossi Benayoun and David Ngog gave the hosts a 2-0 lead in a low-key first half and goalkeeper Robert Green's unfortunate own goal finished off his side.

However, both teams still have a great deal to do to achieve their aims as Liverpool are still five points adrift of fourth place while West Ham are only three above the drop zone.

A 10th successive home league victory was rarely in doubt against a club whose last win at Anfield came in September 1963 and who have much more important battles to win in the last few weeks of the season.

Having dropped to seventh after the weekend's games, Liverpool's hopes of Champions League football appeared to be over.

And with Fernando Torres' knee operation ruling him out for the remainder of the season, the suggestion was their chances of rolling over opponents had gone with him.

If his stand-in Ngog's first attempt on goal was anything to go by that seemed a fair assessment.

The 21-year-old Frenchman, often criticised for his decision-making, attempted to beat Green with a header from the edge of the penalty area from Jamie Carragher's long pass when he had time to bring the ball under control after springing the offside trap.

Having barely threatened, Liverpool took the lead in the 19th minute with a piece of quick thinking by Benayoun.

Steven Gerrard's right-wing free-kick bounced in front of the Israeli seven yards out and he allowed it to deflect off his stomach and in off Green's right-hand post.

From some angles it looked like it could also have brushed his arm but there were very few protests from the visitors.

West Ham's response was brief, with Carlton Cole firing in a shot which Jose Reina did well to hold.

Despite their lead the atmosphere inside Anfield seemed to reflect the team's forlorn hopes of fourth place and it was not improved when unmarked centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos headed Gerrard's 27th-minute corner down and over the crossbar from six yards.

But a surprisingly smart finish from the raw Ngog eased those worries two minutes later when he converted Maxi Rodriguez's cross with a first-time shot after Benayoun had begun the move by cutting in from the left.

Ngog was not nearly as clinical with his next chance, ballooning a header up in the air after Dirk Kuyt had nodded back Glen Johnson's hanging cross to the far post.

Kuyt's 30-yard half-volley was much better, forcing Green to tip the ball around his left-hand post as Liverpool ended the half in complete control.

West Ham replaced Junior Stanislas with Guillermo Franco for the second half but in truth everyone except Cole could have been substituted without complaint.

Kuyt's quick break and cross from the byline almost picked out Ngog at the near post as the hosts continued to dominate.

Having experienced mostly bad luck in a season which saw early exits from the Champions League and Premier League title race and numerous injuries to key players, Liverpool enjoyed another kindly bounce of the ball.

If Benayoun's goal was fortuitous the third was even more lucky as Kyrgiakos' shot from Gerrard's 59th-minute free-kick crashed back off the post, hit Green and bounced back into the net.

Gerrard was denied a fourth only by the slightest deflection off centre-back Manuel da Costa.

West Ham's frustrations continued to grow but referee Peter Walton showed leniency to Robert Kovac by only booking the midfielder when he grabbed the official's shoulder and gave him a push.

Even with the game over the hosts still pushed forward and Rodriguez's whipped near-post shot had Green scrambling to keep the ball from crossing the line at the second attempt while Kuyt's ambitious overhead kick showed confidence was certainly not lacking.

Unfortunately for both Liverpool and West Ham, they will need much more than that if their seasons are not to end in disappointment and heartbreak respectively.

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Thor Zakariassen