After The Match 


Liverpool-Sheffield U 4-0 (2-0)        24.2.07                        PL
Goals: Fowler (20 pen, 25 pen), Hyypia (70), Gerrard (73)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Pennant, Gerrard, Mascherano, Gonzalez, Crouch, Fowler
Subs: Kuyt (Crouch 23), Alonso (Gerrard 74), Agger (Carragher 78)
Not used: Padelli, Sisoko
Yellow: Montgomery (24), Tonge (82)
Red: None
Referee: Steve Bennett
Attendance: 44,198
Shots on target: 6-2
Shots off target: 4-4
Blocked shots: 0-0
Possession: 62-38
Fouls conceded: 12-10
Corners: 5-1
Offsides: 3-7
Yellow: 0-2
Red: 0-0
HEADLINES "Yes it has been a good week, a very good week
for us..."
    Rafael Benitez

2602: Kuyt praises God
2602: Fowler: I'd love to stay
2402: Broken nose for Crouch
2402: Warnock slams diving Gerrard
2402: Rafa content with win
2402: Fowler's spot on in Reds romp 


Kuyt praises God

By Al Campbell - LFC Online

Dirk Kuyt hailed Robbie Fowler's performance against
Sheffield United.

Kuyt partnered Fowler up front on Saturday after coming on as a 25th minute subsitute for the injured Peter Crouch. The Dutch striker soon became the latest member of the Robbie Fowler fan club after the Scouser's two clinically taken penalties.

"I think Robbie has shown us yet again that he's a legend. It's hard when you're not in the squad all the time, and not always playing, and yet he scored twice and also played really well," said Kuyt.

"He's very important for the team, even when he's not on the pitch with us. It's unbelievable the way he finishes his penalties. He's still got a very cool head and is a very good player.

"I think Robbie is, like I said, just very important for the team. Even off the pitch he tries to help the younger people, like me when I first came here. That's really important."

Fowler: I'd love to stay

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

Robbie Fowler feels hes still got plenty of time left at the top level of English football after celebrating his return with a penalty double on Saturday.

The Kop legend knows his Anfield future will remain uncertain until the end of the season.

But Fowler says hell play for as long as possible whether he earns a longer stay at Liverpool or not, and hasnt given up hope of securing another extension for the Reds.

I know its all a bit up in the air at the moment, said the striker.

Ive not spoken to anyone about the future and to be honest Im still just focusing on enjoying every minute Im at Liverpool.

Ill sit down with people and think about next season when the times right, but although Im not the youngest player at the club, Im not that old either. I still feel Ive a few years left in me yet and Ill be carrying on for longer.

Some people have mentioned moving into coaching and I even saw a move to the USA mentioned, but I honestly havent even thought about anything like that yet.

I still think Ive a lot to contribute as a player and Im just focused on playing as much as I can between now and the end of this season. Theres a lot to play for.

Fowler was both player and provider in the comfortable 4-0 win, with his penalty tally for the Reds now an impressive 20 in 26 attempts.

I wasnt aware of that record, he said. I know Ive missed some pens, but the key is always to make up your mind and stick to it.

He added: Obviously its not easy to come back into the team when youve not played for a while, and I think that showed in some parts of my game.

Id prefer to score goals from open play rather than penalties, but Im not complaining. Ill take any opportunity which comes along to score.

It was pleasing to play a part in the goal for Stevie at the end too. Hed made the penalties for me, so it was good to repay the compliment.

With Manchester United on the immediate horizon, theres nothing Fowler would love more than to inflict a title wound on the enemy.

Even the strikers presence on the bench would wind up the opposition, but hes realistic about his prospects of keeping his place.

Im not going to be kidding myself, he said.

I wouldnt expect to be starting that game next weekend, but obviously to be involved in any way would be great.

Thats up to the manager, but Im not under any illusions about the situation and know there are other players wholl come back.

Broken nose for Crouch

By Mark Buckingham - Sky Sports

Peter Crouch suffered a broken nose during Liverpool's 4-0 victory over Sheffield United at Anfield.

The angular striker was caught by Blades forward Rob Hulse's boot during a skirmish in the penalty area midway through the first half.

The incident occurred after referee Steve Bennett had awarded a penalty for Rob Kozluk's foul on Steven Gerrard.

Crouch was replaced by Dirk Kuyt and left the field on a stretcher, with blood streaming from the wound.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has now confirmed that the England international has broken his nose.

"Crouch has a broken nose and needed stitches, but it's not serious," said Benitez.

"He is okay and I was talking to him after the game."

The Reds have not revealed whether the injury will force Crouch to miss any games, with arch-rivals Manchester United next up at Anfield in
a week's time.

Warnock slams diving Gerrard

ITV Football

Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock admits he told Steven Gerrard he was "disappointed" with the ease with which he went down for the opening penalty in Liverpool's 4-0 victory
at Anfield.

The Reds were awarded two spot-kicks in the first period, the first when Rob Kozluk was adjudged to have grabbed at the Anfield skipper's waist.

The second, not contested by Warnock, was for a push by Nick Montgomery.

Warnock confronted Gerrard at half-time and revealed: "I told him I was disappointed with him. He was looking at the referee Steve Bennett, almost asking for the penalty.

"When you see the replay and you see Gerrard's eyes you will know he thinks he has won a penalty.

"You cannot blame him, 50 per cent of referees would have given that and 50 per cent would not. But Steve Bennett is a by the book referee, black and white.

"Some referees would see that Steven Gerrard used everything he had to get the penalty.

"Steve Bennett just rules by the laws of the game, he says that is consistency. He needs to understand the game more.

"It's the England captain looking at Steve Bennett and saying 'you've got to give a penalty here.'

"If Steve Bennett knew a bit more about the game and not the rules inside out, he'd be a really top referee. He's a manufactured referee.

"I said to Kozluk before he went out, 'don't get involved with your arms in the box' so he doesn't listen to me, does he?

"The penalty knocked the stuffing out of us. I'm Steven Gerrard's number one fan, he's a fantastic player and I don't blame him for what he did.

"He's virtually saying to the ref, I'm going to go down, almost before the ball has been kicked. You can say my lad is stupid for getting involved in the situation with the ref that close."

Rafa content with win

By Peter ORourke - Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was happy with his side's 4-0 win over Sheffield United on Saturday.

The Reds ended a successful week in style with an impressive victory over Neil Warnock's men to cement their spot in third place in the table.

Two penalties from Robbie Fowler and second half goals from Sami Hyypia and Steven Gerrard helped secure Liverpool a resounding win to complete a good week on a high.

"Yes it has been a good week, a very good week for us, for the supporters and the players enjoyed playing," said Benitez.

Liverpool made seven changes from the side that beat Barcelona and Benitez felt he had no choice but to freshen things up after a demanding programme.

"We needed to change players as we could see after two training sessions they were tired," added Benitez.

"It is a risk but as I say all the time it is a risk when you change players, but you can do it.

Benitez also felt the two penalties awarded to Liverpool were the right decisions by referee Steve Bennett.

"The first one when the referee is watching you and your arms are controlling the player it is a risk," noted Benitez.

"You don't have to use your arms and he was using his arms [on Gerrard] which you need to especially with the referee watching.

"The second one was very clear.

"Robbie in this case he is really good and we had confidence in him

Benitez was happy with Javier Mascherano's debut in midfield for Liverpool.

"Yeah he started the game without receiving a lot of ball, but after a while he was playing better and keeping us possession.

"He brings experience and sometimes you need to calm players and player another tempo and he [Mascherano] can do that."

Fowler's spot on in Reds romp


Robbie Fowler struck two first-half penalties as Liverpool totally outclassed Sheffield United and romped to a 4-0 Premiership victory.

The Reds rested seven of their Nou Camp heroes from the starting line-up and still stretched their unbeaten home league record to 30 matches.

They were helped by two penalty awards in the first period, both converted by Fowler, for fouls on Steven Gerrard.

It was a Fowler spot-kick for a foul on Gerrard on the opening day of the season at Bramall Lane that led to Blades boss Neil Warnock suggesting the Liverpool skipper had dived.

And Warnock seemed to have a word with Gerrard when he came off at the break, but both spot-kicks were given for a tug and a push on the midfielder.

Liverpool added second-half goals by Gerrard and Sami Hyypia as they stepped purposefully from the glamour of their victory over Barcelona to a bread-and-butter destruction of the Yorkshiremen.

Boss Rafael Benitez was able to include goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek, making his first Premier League start of the season, and Fowler his third.

Javier Mascherano came in for his debut, while Craig Bellamy - villain turned hero with his Champions League display - was not even on the bench. Likewise Jose Reina, allowing Italian Under-21 goalkeeper Daniele Padelli his first taste of senior action as a substitute.

United were without suspended pair Keith Gillespie and Leigh Bromby.

Mascherano fitted into the expected holding role, leaving Gerrard to surge forward, but they were immediately confronted with a deep Blades defence and just Rob Hulse up front.

Benitez had opted for two wingers - Jermaine Pennant and Mark Gonzalez - against this system. Width being the best answer, he clearly felt, to a massed defence.

But Liverpool were given a helping hand as they dominated possession, with two penalties in a five-minute spell.

The first came on 20 minutes after Peter Crouch had been carried off with blood pouring from a head wound, courtesy of Hulse's boot.

But that was not the incident that made referee Steve Bennett point to the spot. Seconds earlier Rob Kozluk was spotted grappling with Gerrard, pulling him to the ground. After Crouch's eventual departure, Fowler stepped up to drive home the penalty.

And it got worse for the Blades. Dirk Kuyt was on as substitute for Crouch and with his first touch he headed the ball into Gerrard's path in the box, the Liverpool skipper being pulled back by Nick Montgomery.

Referee Bennett pointed to the spot again, and Fowler this time sent Kenny the wrong way for his third goal of the season.

All three have been from the spot, and all three for fouls on Gerrard against Sheffield United, the first on the opening day of the season at Bramall Lane.

Before the re-start, Kozluk was replaced by Colin Kazim-Richards. And the Blades had to make another change on 30 minutes when Chris Lucketti went off with an ankle injury, Chris Morgan taking over.

The Blades gave it a go at the start of the second half. Montgomery misdirected a header wide from eight yards and Dudek needed to rush from his line to dive at Stephen Quinn's feet.

But Liverpool were in control without being at full throttle. Gerrard fired a 20-yard shot wide and Fowler saw a header bounce wide from Pennant's cross, with Gerrard waiting behind him in a much better position.

Hulse had a close-range chip ruled out for offside, while at the other end John Arne Riise fired a fierce 30-yard shot over the angle.

On 66 minutes the Blades sent on another striker, Jonathan Stead for Quinn. But any thoughts of a Blades comeback were soon ended.

Liverpool made absolutely sure of the points with two goals in three minutes.

On 70 minutes when Pennant's corner hit Morgan in the box, Hyypia was on hand to fire the ball home off Kenny's hands.

Then three minutes later a Fowler pass found Gerrard free in the box, and he drilled a fine shot into the far corner. Xabi Alonso replaced Gerrard before the re-start.

Daniel Agger came on for Jamie Carragher soon after, and United wasted their best chance of the game on 80 minutes when Hulse hit the bar from six yards following a Kazim-Richards cross.

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Thor Zakariassen