After The Match 


Liverpool-Charlton 2-0 (0-0)              Sat Oct 23.               Premier League
Goals: Riise (52), Garcia (74)
Team: Kirkland, Traore, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Alonso, Hamann, Garcia, Riise, Baros, Cisse
Subs: Kewell (Riise 64), Pongolle (Baros 77), Warnock (Traore 86)
Not used: Dudek, Diao
Yellow: Jeffers (70)
Red: None
Referee: A D'Urso
Attendance: 41,625

                                                             FIXTURES & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 7-1
Shots off target: 10-2
Fouls conceded: 9-11
Corners: 12-0
Yellow: 0-1





“This was very
much like our
goalless draw
with Deportivo..."

                Rafael Benitez

2510: Reds feeling unbeatable at Anfield
2510: Less siesta, more sizzle required from...
2510: Garcia: Benitez can win title
2310: Benitez: We must be more ruthless
2310: Reds run Charlton ragged


Reds feeling unbeatable at Anfield

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

Chris Kirkland today underlined the renewed confidence sweeping across Anfield when he declared: "We feel unbeatable at home."

Liverpool's convincing 2-0 win over Charlton maintained the only 100 per cent home record in the Premiership.

After an horrific season at Anfield last year when the Reds' ten wins and five defeats represented their worst home campaign since relegation in 1954, Rafa Benitez has inspired a dramatic improvement.

The club is also five points better off after nine games than at this stage 12 months ago.

Kirkland admits the players now have more belief playing in front of their own fans.

"You've got to go into every home game thinking you won't be beaten and that's how we feel now," said Kirkland.

"That's how the top sides feel when we go to their place and it has to be the same for us.

"We have to tell ourselves 'This is Anfield'. It's our home and we want to intimidate teams when they come here. This has to be a tough place for teams to visit.

"I came here as a Coventry player and I know how difficult it is. When the fans and players are both on song, any side will struggle against us.

"We're playing with a lot of confidence at Anfield now, especially going forward. We've got a lot of quick players and when you've got Luis Garcia and Xabi Alonso, you're talking about two very creative lads who can pick out the right pass all the time.

"Xabi is great the way he just picks everything up in front of the defence and keeps us going forward.

"We're a lot more dangerous now, but we have to produce the same away from home."

Less siesta, more sizzle required from prime cuts

By Ian Doyle - Daily Post

Somebody bring out the barbecue. Rafael Benitez spent part of his pre-match Press briefing on Friday explaining how a sizzle before siesta had cooked up a recipe for success and fostered a winning team spirit at Valencia.

And while such camaraderie is seeping into Liverpool's play, as evidenced by an impressively one-sided defeat of Charlton Athletic on Saturday evening, the area in which togetherness is currently needed most is where it continues to be in short supply.

What to do with Djibril Cisse and Milan Baros? That's the question Benitez must wrestle with this week after another performance in which Anfield victory was secured in spite of the strikers, rather than because of them.

"Argentinian meat? More like two vegetables," proffered one scribbling sage after a sweeping Liverpool move again faltered at the critical moment. A tad harsh definitely, but the longer the pair fail to spark the shorter the perceptive Benitez's patience will wear thin.

With the grapevine hearing the drums for Fernando Morientes and Valencia's Mista, it would appear the Liverpool manager is already seeking striking reinforcements for when the transfer window swings open in January. But will he desperately need any? Only Cisse and Baros can influence that answer but their displays as a partnership thus far have served only to ensure the response is in the affirmative.

Pity. Both players have undoubted talent and, taken in isolation, either player has and will continue to prove a great asset to whoever they play for, Cisse with his blistering pace and explosive shooting and Baros with his powerful dribbling and single-minded pursuit of a goal.

Yet throw the two of them on to the park in tandem and things change. Cisse retains his fleet of foot but ends up in positions where his marksman-ship becomes irrelevant while Baros reverts to the infuriating head-down, excitable type which lacks a steady poise when faced with the whites of the goalkeeper's eyes. Between them, they passed to each other four times in 77 minutes.

That's it.

That transformation was there to see at Anfield on Saturday, most clearly in the first half when a dominant Liverpool seemed to be doing their best not to score.

To be fair, things picked up in the second half and when Cisse moved out wide to work the right flank he came more into the game - thank-fully more Henry than Heskey in that mannerism, it would seem - which gave Baros more space in which to wander, with the Czech's linkplay improving once he remembered how to pass.

However, it meant too often Liverpool's strikers were loitering around the edge of the penalty area waiting for a pull back instead making a nuisance nearer the goal. The lack of a true predatory instinct up front could prove costly, and Benitez knows this.

All the more exasperating for seasoned Anfield observers is that with Xabi Alonso and the effervescent Luis Garcia supplying the passes, Liverpool's forward line is receiving the kind of service of which the departed Michael Owen could only have dreamed.

Garcia it was who set the seal on a fine home display with a 30-yard rocket to bring the Kop to its feet 16 minutes before time. Previously, with the strikers missing from all angles, the dam had been broken from an unlikely source.

"When was the last time he scored from that range?" queried an evercynical hack after John Arne Riise had scuffed a long-range effort miles wide. The answer was 65 games ago at that point. Moments later, the answer was shortened to mere seconds as the Norwegian belted in a sublime volley from just outside the area.

Alas, it was not representative of his evening's work. Riise offers little going forward when in a left midfield role - not least with his right foot - and at Anfield either Harry Kewell or Stephen Warnock would appear the more productive option.

Steve Finnan, on the other hand, was impressive at right-back in place of the suspended Josemi, while Djimi Traore continued his revelatory displays on the opposite side of defence and Jamie Carragher enhanced his burgeoning reputation at centre-back.

Charlton? Well, they lack the solidity of Valley line-ups of recent vintage and were so over-run in midfield that the returning Danny Murphy spent most of the game back in his old role of Anfield spectator.

Alan Curbishley was rightly generous in his praise of a Liverpool performance which, the striking issue aside, bodes well.

That's a big issue, though. Now, where's that grill?

Garcia: Benitez can win title


Liverpool ace Luis Garcia has backed Rafael Benitez to bring the title back to Anfield.

The £6m summer capture from Barcelona also believes the Reds boss will in time make the same impact on the Premiership as Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson have.

Garcia helped maintain Liverpool's 100% home record in the Premiership with a stunning strike against Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

And the popular midfielder admits he followed Benitez to Merseyside to be part of the success story that brought two league titles in three seasons to Valencia.

"I think Rafael will eventually be talked about in England the way Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson are now," said Garcia. "He is regarded very highly in Spain after winning the championship twice with Valencia and I think he will do the same with Liverpool.

"He knows what he wants and in time I am sure Liverpool can win the league. Everyone has been talking about Arsenal and Manchester United this weekend and what that game means for the title. But I believe that with Rafael people will talk about Liverpool in the same way as Arsenal and Manchester United.

"It might be this year or next year, but we will get there with the manager's ideas."

Benitez: Reds must be more ruthless

Liverpool maintained their 100 per cent home record but new boss Rafael Benitez proved a hard man to please after the convincing 2-0 win over Charlton.

The Spanish coach lamented the string of chances that went begging in the first half and warned his players that they will find themselves being punished if they continue to be so wasteful.

Benitez said: “This was very much like our goalless draw with Deportivo in the week. We had so many opportunities and the players will need to take far more of them in the future.

“Just as against Deportivo, we played very well for a long period and made many chances. But if you do not take them and then someone makes a mistake in the second half, you will pay for it.”

But Benitez praised the performance of his two strikers, Milan Baros and Djibril Cisse, who have been criticised for taking a long time to form an effective strike partnership.

He said: “They both did very well. Cisse was moved onto the right in the second half and he had a good game, and Baros looked sharp all game.

“You can see now that they do have the ability to form a partnership, they both did very well and can only improve as a pair as the season continues.”

Charlton boss Alan Curbishley said afterwards: “We had to work so hard to even get the ball. We could not get going and we gave the ball away as soon as we had it.

“That was much to do with the way Liverpool played and how the pressured us. I have lost count of the games where we have conceded goals from outside the box, and there were two more here.

“Our away form suggests we are going to get beaten every time. Last season we were very good away from home, but I am becoming worried and we are just not doing as well away this season.

“Liverpool have played very well, they look formidable at home and a few sides will struggle at Anfield.

“We have now been beaten at Arsenal and Liverpool in successive away games and maybe that is not too bad, but we are also losing at places like Bolton and Manchester City and results like that have to change.

“We cannot hide behind things, this is not good enough.

“We have two home games now, and we have to win them because we are being put under great pressure by losing away games.

“Liverpool asked us questions and we didn’t have enough. That could be the same for a lot of clubs playing at Anfield this season. But we are just not giving ourselves a chance with our defence under pressure all the time.

“Our attitude away from home has to change. We need results and quickly. We have got to alter the way we approach away games because it is totally different.

“As for Liverpool, they are very good and they will be competing for everything they are in right to the death this season. This is a very impressive team now.

Reds run Charlton ragged

By Peter O Rourke - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Liverpool maintained their 100 percent home record in The Premiership with a deserved 2-0 win over Charlton.

Second half goals from John Arne Riise and Luis Garcia were enough to give Liverpool all three points against a disappointing Charlton and lift them into fifth spot.

The match also saw the return of referee Andy D'Urso to The Premiership following his failure to send off Blackburn's Barry Ferguson against Southampton earlier in the season.

Liverpool began like the proverbial house on fire and Garcia had two good chances to break the deadlock early on.

Firstly after just two minutes he headed Steve Finnan's cross wide when well placed and four minutes later he forced Dean Kiely to tip his volley from the edge of the box round the post after a mistake by Jon Fortune.

Charlton created their first chance of the game on seven minutes with Shaun Bartlett firing in a shot which was easily saved by Chris Kirkland and a minute later Kevin Lisbie missed his kick when well placed.

Liverpool were denied the opener on nine minutes when former Reds hero Danny Murphy superbly cleared Sami Hyypia's header from Garcia's corner off the line.

It was all one-way traffic and Djibril Cisse was unlucky not to score after 12 minutes when he thudded a free kick from fully 30 yards with a slight deflection off Chris Perry off the inside of the post.

Baros was the next one to waste another fine opening a minute later when he headed wide from six yards and four minutes later the Czech ace was guilty of another glaring miss when he headed Garcia's cross straight at the grateful Kiely.

Cisse tried to find a way through for Liverpool on 34 minutes when he was played in by Djimi Traore, but he dragged his left-footed shot wide of the far post.

The pattern of the game continued with Baros blazing wildly over the top on 36 minutes after the ball broke nicely to him inside the box and seconds later Cisse volleyed Riise's cross into the stands.

Cisse created a chance for Garcia right on the stroke of half time with an electric 50-yard run down the right past two Charlton defenders, but Garcia could not get enough contact on the ball to trouble Kiely.

Liverpool finally made the breakthrough their dominance deserved seven minutes into the second with Riise volleying home his first goal of the season.

The ball broke free to Riise on the edge of the box after Lisbie had blocked Xabi Alonso's header and the Norwegian star brilliantly fired in a half volley into the bottom corner past Kiely.

Baros fluffed another chance to score just past the hour when Garcia sent over a fizzing cross to the Czech international six yards out, but he got his shot all wrong and the danger was cleared.

Baros turned creator four minutes later with a fine run down the right past two Charlton defenders and laying the ball back for the supporting Finnan, but the defender scooped his shot just wide of the far post.

Liverpool doubled their lead on 74 minutes with Garcia blasting home a sublime shot from 25 yards for his third goal of the season.

Alonso fed his compatriot Garcia 30 yards from goal and when the Charlton defence stood off him the Spaniard did not need an invitation to shoot as he unleashed a brilliant right-footed shot into the top corner of the net.

Garcia was inches away from netting a spectacular second two minutes from time with an exquisite volley from an acute angle which just went wide of the far post.

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