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Rafael Benitez admitted he was delighted with
Liverpool's performance in beating Norwich 3-0, but
insisted his players "still need to raise their level".
Manager Benitez witnessed an outstanding display from
£11m midfielder Xabi Alonso which had the Anfield crowd
on their feet, and he said: "Xabi is a very clever
player, I am pleased for him and the way he has settled
"We do not have Steven Gerrard through injury but we
have four other players who can perform in midfield.
"What is important is that we need to play well and if
we do that it does not matter who we are playing.
"I learn all the time about my team, we still need to
progress and still raise our level.
"We played well here but I still need to see my team
play against stronger sides."
He continued: "I am still learning about my team, every
game and every day in training - we are about 60 per
cent of what I want."
Benitez confirmed that Alonso had been withdrawn in the
second half with tightness in his leg muscles as a
precaution before Liverpool fly out on Monday to Athens
for their Champions League game with Olympiacos the
boss: Liverpool were superb
Norwich boss Nigel Worthington accepted that his
brave side walked into a Liverpool team finding their
He said: "Rafael Benitez has taken over and brought in
some excellent players and the future looks very rosy
"For us it a challenge to try to survive in the top
"We are still without a win in seven games now so we
must get off the mark soon.
"People are saying that we have played a lot of the big
teams, Chelsea, Arsenal, Newcastle and Manchester
United, and now things will get a little easier.
"But that is not the case, this is a ruthless division
and it is full of quality which makes every team
dangerous to us.
"Liverpool were very, very good in that first half. You
have to hand it to them, they were sheer quality on the
"But it is a learning curve for us and will do us no
"But Alonso was in a different class, you would pay good
money anywhere in the world to see top class
performances like that.
"We were not on top of our game, but I have to say
Liverpool were superb."
Garcia shines in Reds win
By Patrick Goss - Sky Sports
Luis Garcia was in brilliant form as Liverpool eased
to a 3-0 win against Norwich at Anfield.
The Spaniard lit up a game that was controlled
throughout by Liverpool, causing huge problems down the
right as well as scoring a second after Milan Baros had
smashed home an opener on 23 minutes.
Djibril Cisse added third with a low drive from a well
worked set-piece just after the hour mark, but by that
point Liverpool were already making changes to rest
players, as Norwich showed little belief in getting
anything from the game.
Liverpool had been in absolute control throughout the
opening half - and deservedly moved into a two-goal
Norwich simply could not deal with the sprightly Garcia
on the right flank, with their attentions seemingly
taken up by lively running from Baros and Cisse.
Garcia rocketed an early chance off the angle of post
and bar - twisting inside before lashing his shot off
the frame of the goal.
Cisse nearly benefited from some haphazard defending by
The Canaries, Hamann blocking an attempted clearance
which span into the box, but was nodded just over by the
John Arne Riise had Robert Green scrambling with a
curler off the outside of his left boot, but it was
Baros that finally broke the deadlock on 23.
The Czech star cut across the box before unleashing a
fine drive across Green that clipped Simon Charlton
before flying into the back of the net.
It took just three more minutes for Liverpool to double
their lead - and it was fitting that Garcia was the
Cisse's ball through had picked out the Spaniard, but
after twisting inside then out his shot took a cruel
deflection to defeat Green at his near post.
It was all Liverpool and Green had to be alert to tip
over a Baros cross that looked destined to creep under
The Norwich keeper then got down to keep out another low
Baros effort, and was grateful that Cisse opted to cross
rather than shoot when well placed.
The second half saw Norwich briefly show willing, and
Liverpool could have been in trouble had Hamann's nasty
looking challenge on sub Damien Francis been awarded
worse than the yellow card Alan Wiley felt it merited.
But The Canaries' resistance was short-lived and the
game moved back into the easy rhythm of Liverpool
Stephen Warnock brought a save from Green after a lovely
move had allowed Garcia to play a little reverse pass in
But it was Cisse who was rewarded for his hard work when
he was fed the ball from a free-kick and unleashed a
fine low shot that found the bottom right corner of
The acrobatic celebration brought wry smiles from the
crowd, who had been anxiously watching the Frenchman
holding his thigh and limping just moments before his
goal had proved the ultimate painkiller.
Liverpool took off the influential Xabi Alonso and Cisse
for the final twenty minutes, and Norwich finally got
some possession - but could do little to get a foothold
in the game, as the replacements settled in well.
Salif Diao produced a fine challenge after Leon McKenzie
had nipped past Sami Hyypia on a rare foray into the
box, but the Liverpool captain got revenge on the nippy
Norwich subsitute with a well timed tackle on the
opposite side of the box.
An easy win for Liverpool and, in Garcia, The Reds fans
have quickly found a player that can entertain them at