After The Match 


West Brom-Liverpool 0-5 (0-1)             Sun Dec 26.         Premier League
Goals: Riise (18 & 83), Pongolle (51), Gerrard (55), Garcia (89)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Traore, Nunez, Gerrard, Hamann, Riise, Baros, Pongolle
Subs: Alonso (Gerrard 62), Garcia (Baros 66), Warnock (Finnan 70)
Not used: Harrison, Diao
Yellow: None
Red: Contra (39)
Referee: R Styles
Attendance: 27,533

                                              MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 1-8
Shots off target: 1-8
Fouls conceded: 12-13
Corners: 4-11
Yellow: 0-0





"When you start
winning you show
more confidence."

               Rafael Benitez

2612: Robson rues red card
2612: Rafa reserved after rout
2612: Ruthless Reds punish Baggies


John Arne Riise (left) and Steven Gerrard celebrate.

Robson rues red card

By Paul Higham - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Bryan Robson believes Cosmin Contra's red card was the main turning point in West Brom's 5-0 defeat to Liverpool.

The visitors were 1-0 up when the Romanian was sent off for handball and, although Milan Baros missed the penalty, Liverpool went on to thump The Baggies.

Robson says that the red card was effectively the end of the game as a contest.

"I felt there was not much between the teams in the first half but the penalty killed us and Liverpool were too good for us with 10 men," said Robson.

"We started the game well but Liverpool were too good for us.

"We keep having lapses defensively and teams are not working too hard to score against us.

"I thought we matched Liverpool in the first half and made some situations ourselves but once (Cosmin) Contra got sent off Liverpool just had too much for us.

"You can prepare the players as best you can and you keep trying to find out why you concede bad goals early on in a game.

"At the moment we are making it very difficult for ourselves."

Robson knows that he needs to strengthen in the January transfer window, but for now he was glad that they have another Premiership game coming up so quickly.

"I definitely feel we need a defensive midfield player to give us stability. At the moment we have only got attacking-minded players in that area.

"I think it is the best situation where we can focus straight away on Manchester City and get out on the pitch and turn it around.

"What we need now is a victory to give us a bit of confidence because that is very low at the moment."

Rafa reserved after rout

By Paul Higham - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was not getting too carried away after his side's 5-0 demolition of West Brom.

The Reds were already 1-0 when Cosmin Contra was sent off for handball on the line, and Benitez's side did not waste the opportunity to cash in.

The Anfield outfit were ruthless in taking apart the ten-man hosts, but their Spanish manager is not reading too much into the performance as they had a man advantage for over half the match.

"It was a good game for us," said Benitez. "We played well although we sometimes did not keep the ball. After the penalty and the sending off it was easy.

"First half we were controlling the game, it's important to win and score goals but it is more important for me to see the team play well.

"When you start winning you show more confidence. We have three more points and we'll see about the next game.

"We know we played against 10 players. I hope, in our next game, to be closer. The most important thing is the next two games are at home, we normally play well at home."

Jamie Carragher says that Liverpool are still confident of pushing for a UEFA Champions League place in The Premiership.

"We're a few points behind the top four but I'm confident we will sort out the league form in the second half of the season," said Carragher.

"We've had injuries but we're getting a few back now and I'm sure the manager will be looking to add a few players during the January transfer window."

Ruthless Reds punish Baggies

By Paul Higham - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Liverpool enjoyed a Boxing Day stroll against ten-man West Brom, running out comfortable 5-0 winners.

John Arne Riise had given The Reds the lead after Steven Gerrard's superb pass found him ghosting in on the left.

Cosmin Contra was then sent off for handball on the line but Milan Baros missed the resulting penalty kick.

The respite was not to last long, however, and Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Gerrard made it 3-0 soon after the interval with Riise hammering in his second late on and Luis Garcia adding the finishing touch just before the final whistle.

Gerrard blasted an early shot just over the bar, as he again tried to get his side going.

Jamie Carragher made an early mistake on 14 minutes to gift Geoff Horsfield a great opportunity as he galloped into the Liverpool box.

However, with Robert Earnshaw completely unmarked six yards out, Horsfield took too much time and Carragher recovered to get in a challenge.

Baros almost made West Brom pay immediately as he burst forward but his shot after cutting in from the left was blocked.

Liverpool did take the lead on 17 minutes when Riise was expertly picked out by a sublime left-footed pass from Gerrard, and the Norwegian volleyed past Russell Hoult.

Jerzy Dudek had to be alert to come racing out of his box to head the ball away as Jason Koumas tried to set Earnshaw through.

Things went from bad to worse for Bryan Robson's men when Contra's moment of madness saw him sent off for handling the ball on the line.

Antonio Nunez's header looked to be creeping in at the far post but Romania international Contra stuck up his hand to palm the ball away, despite Hoult having a chance of saving it behind him.

Baros' poor penalty let the home side off the hook as Hoult easily saved his spot kick- and the rebound was cleared off the line by Darren Purse.

West Brom's ten men came out for the second half with a mountain to climb, and it got even bigger when Sinama-Pongolle made it 2-0 five minutes after the break, starting and finishing a good move.

The young Frenchman sprayed a great ball wide to Riise on the left, and raced into the box to connect with the Norwegian's cross with a well-taken volley that bounced past Hoult.

The goal seemed to kill The Baggies' spirits and a third soon came when Gerrard fired in a low free kick after Dietmar Hamann's lay-off that bounced in off the post.

The Reds' skipper was soon taken off with the game well and truly buried, and replaced by Xabi Alonso.

Riise was still searching for a second goal, and he fizzed a couple of efforts just wide of the target, while Hoult had to thrust out a strong hand to palm over another vicious effort.

Riise had been getting closer and closer and he duly got his second as another thunderous effort this time rocketed into the top corner after Alonso's fine ball to Hamann deflected to the Norwegian on the edge of the box.

Riise was involved again in the fifth goal two minutes from time when his shot across the face of the goal was slotted in from close range by substitute Luis Garcia.

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Thor Zakariassen