Gerrard: Maxi key to rout
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Steven Gerrard today lavished praise on
Maxi Rodriguez after the Argentine scored his first goal for
the club in Sunday's 4-0 win at Burnley.
The Reds No.17 netted with a terrific finish after a
defence-splitting pass from Alberto Aquilani, and the
skipper was more than delighted for him.
"Maxi is a fantastic player," said Gerrard.
"He's got good movement and as a footballer it's a pleasure
to play with good players and that's what Maxi is because
he's a fantastic player.
"He was really fresh and that showed in his performance and
he took his goal really well.
"He has been terrific for us in the last five or six games.
It's unfortunate for us he can't play in the Europa League
because he is an intelligent player and he can unlock
The victory at Turf Moor was Liverpool's first on their
travels in the Barclays Premier League since the 1-0 win at
Villa Park in the final game of 2009.
"It's been a while since we won away from home but the fact
is we haven't been good enough on the road which is the
disappointment from the season," he added.
"Sometimes when you can't score away from home and you lose
your top striker it can damage belief a bit and confidence
so I think it was important we scored some goals today and
Rafael Benitez's side are now two points off fourth place
Tottenham and with two games remaining, the Reds skipper
insists the team will still keep fighting to try and take
advantage should their rivals slip-up.
"We have a couple of games left and the idea is to take
maximum points and try and sneak into fourth place through
the back door," he said.
"We know it's going to be difficult but it's important to
take maximum points and then who knows?
"The teams above us might slip up. It was important we won
against Burnley and kept the pressure on.
"We won't give up on the top-four but it would be stupid of
me to say this is going to happen. It's important to be
realistic and we are the underdogs to sneak this fourth
"I think the Liverpool fans understand that we've also got
Everton breathing down our necks so we don't want them to
finish above us, and it's important we keep fighting until
Burnley boss Laws proud of
players in Liverpool defeat
Burnley boss Brian Laws says he is proud
of his players after their defeat at home to Liverpool.
Two goals from captain Steven Gerrard - the first from a
deflection - a maiden Liverpool strike for Maxi Rodriguez
and a late effort from Ryan Babel did the damage.
All Liverpool's goals came in the second half and the
frustrating thing for Laws was that Steven Fletcher and Jack
Cork could have put their side 2-0 by half-time with headers
which they wasted.
Laws pointed to the difference in standard for Burnley's
problems both in this game and the season as a whole.
"The players gave everything and today probably reflects on
the effort that we have put in but also reflects the gulf in
quality," said the former Sheffield Wednesday boss.
"We were very unfortunate with the first goal, which knocked
the stuffing out of us.
"Having said that we should have scored just before that and
the second goal Gerrard showed real quality.
"Teams of this ability will have their opportunities and
they have certainly taken theirs and we haven't taken ours -
that has been probably the story of the season.
"The scoreline doesn't suggest the performance and we were
unlucky not to score first as that would have been the key
for us to go on and win the game and give ourselves a
"Unfortunately we didn't take it. They did, and that was it.
"No-one crumbled and gave anything less than their all and
I'm very proud of them today."
delighted with win
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was
extremely happy with his side following their 4-0 win over
Two goals from Steven Gerrard and efforts from Maxi
Rodriguez and Ryan Babel secured the emphatic victory at
Turf Moor, which sent the Clarets into the Championship.
It leaves Liverpool still in the hunt for fourth spot in the
Premier League and a place in next year's UEFA Champions
League, and Benitez was positive after the final whistle.
He told Sky Sports: "It was a good game, especially the
second half. We scored four goals, a clean sheet.
"So (I'm) really pleased and really positive.
"They (Burnley) had one clear chance, they were pushing. We
had one or two that we didn't finish but at the end the
first goal was the difference."
Asked what he told his team at half-time when the score was
0-0, Benitez added: "Score goals, simple. I think the first
goal was the big difference.
"We were a little bit lucky and after we were playing better
and better and it is difficult for a team that has to score
and has to win.
"They have to go high, they leave more spaces and it was
easy for us."
Gerrard's second strike was an excellent effort from long
range that left Burnley reeling.
Benitez praised the midfielder's goal and is now looking
forward to Liverpool's Europa League second leg semi-final
against Atletico Madrid on Thursday, after an arduous trek
to the Spanish capital for the first clash.
He remarked: "It is the kind of goal that he (Gerrard) can
score. A really good finish so it was a fantastic goal.
"We know that we have to do keep doing our job, winning our
games, and see what happens.
"I think it (the journey to Spain) was difficult because we
were on the train but I think that now we are a little bit
happier and hopefully we can be happier on Thursday."
Reds hit four
to send Clarets down
Liverpool triumphed 4-0 at Turf Moor to
relegate Burnley from the Premier League and also kept alive
their distant hopes of finishing fourth.
With two matches to play the Clarets cannot now catch
17th-placed West Ham and return to the Championship after
just one season in the top flight.
Steven Gerrard's first goal in the 51st minute was deflected
off Burnley centre-back Leon Cort but his 25-yard strike
seven minutes later was inch-perfect and Maxi Rodriguez and
Ryan Babel wrapped things up.
The win, Liverpool's first in eight away league matches this
year, kept Rafael Benitez's side in the hunt for next
season's Champions League but only just.
Tottenham are two points ahead on 64, with a match in hand,
and Liverpool must win their remaining two games and hope
neither Spurs, Manchester City nor Aston Villa amass more
than 68 points - and even then it could come down to goal
Burnley, however, must now face up to a return to the second
tier of English football, which has been on the cards ever
since the departure of former manager Owen Coyle to Bolton
By that time they were already on the slide but the loss of
the inspirational Scot was a major blow and the decision to
bring in Brian Laws failed to turn things around.
Whether anyone would have been able to save the Clarets on
the shoestring budget and limited squad available is
But opting to employ Laws just a month after he had left
Sheffield Wednesday having taken them to the brink of
relegation from the Championship now seems, at best, a
Laws has lost 14 of his 17 games in charge and the Clarets
have won just seven games all season and not kept a clean
sheet since Halloween.
At least the frugal nature of the sensible financial
planning at Turf Moor means Burnley do not have the money
worries of Hull, who are also doomed to relegation because
of their dreadful goal difference.
The first half summed up exactly why they were heading back
to the Championship as, having weathered the early pressure,
they missed two gilt-edged headers which should have put
them 2-0 up at the break.
Steven Fletcher out-jumped Jamie Carragher in the
27th-minute but planted Martin Paterson's right-wing cross
over while on-loan Chelsea midfielder Jack Cork's seven-yard
effort from Tyrone Mears' centre was straight at goalkeeper
Prior to that the closest Liverpool had come to scoring was
when Gerrard's deflected volley hit referee Phil Dowd before
the Liverpool captain's shot on the turn from 12 yards was
easily saved by goalkeeper Brian Jensen.
The break appeared not to have dampened Burnley's enthusiasm
and Fletcher almost capitalised on confusion between Reina,
Daniel Ayala - the teenaged centre-back a surprise inclusion
- and Daniel Agger when Cork swung in a left-wing cross
seconds after the restart.
Liverpool's problems up front worsened when Dirk Kuyt was
forced off with a calf injury, meaning Babel was pushed into
the lone striker role to allow Yossi Benayoun to come on and
play on the left.
The Israeli had a hand in the opening goal but luck played a
greater part in the 51st minute.
Benayoun and Alberto Aquilani combined in the centre of the
pitch to give Gerrard the ball in the inside-left position.
With Graham Alexander backing away he switched the ball on
to his right foot before unleashing a 20-yard shot which
deflected off Cort and inside Jensen's right post.
Fortune also contributed to Gerrard's second seven minutes
later when Glen Johnson and Rodriguez progressed a move down
the right to Aquilani who slipped as he tried to turn
However, the ball ran to Gerrard, whose 25-yard strike owed
nothing to luck and everything to talent as he curled a shot
perfectly through the gap between Jensen's outstretched
fingers and the left post.
Fletcher almost pulled one back in the 72nd minute when his
left-footed shot cannoned back off the post, although
justice was probably done as the striker appeared to control
the ball with his hand.
Two minutes later Burnley's fate was sealed as Aquilani
played in Rodriguez on the right of the penalty area and he
clipped home his long-awaited first goal since signing from
Atletico Madrid in January.
In the third minute of added time Babel sprang the offside
trap to race clear and fire in a fourth before Turf Moor
rose to acclaim their departing heroes.