After The Match 


Liverpool-Derby 6-0 (2-0)              1.9.07                           PL
Goals: Alonso (26 & 69), Babel (45), Torres (56 & 77), Voronin (76)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Agger, Arbeloa, Pennant,  Mascherano, Alonso, Babel, Torres, Kuyt
Subs: Benayoun (Pennant 61), Voronin (Babel 73),
Sissoko (Mascherano 77)
Not used: Itandje, Riise
Yellow: Griffin (66)
Red: None
Referee: A Wiley
Attendance: 44.076
Shots on target: 11-3
Shots off target: 9-4
Blocked shots: 3-0
Fouls conceded: 10-14
Corners: 4-2
Offsides: 3-2
Possession: 66.4-33.6
Yellow: 0-1

HEADLINES "'s good
to see Torres and Voronin scoring goals."

     Rafael Benitez

0509: New-look Reds just oozing class
0409: Rafa praise for ever-present Arbeloa
0309: Torres: I'm here to stay
0109: Davies: Another learning curve
0109: Rafa refusing to get carried away
0109: Joy of six for rampant Reds

New-look Reds just oozing class

By Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo

Consistency and quality. Two key elements that are essential for any side with big ambitions – and Liverpool’s performances so far have provided an abundance of both.

Rafa Benitez has proved already he’s a winner, but this season’s team not only oozes class, but is more exciting than any other he has assembled.

In the past, there may have been a need to ask questions about one or two players who were selected, but this season he has a terrific squad who have made an unbelievable start and who put Derby to the sword in style.

The game may have been slow to take shape, but once Xabi Alonso had breached the visitors’ defence, the floodgates opened. It was good to see Alonso return to something like his normal form and Fernando Torres settling in well with two well taken goals – without Steve Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, too.

It made me think that the Anfield fans are in for a treat this season with excitement and goals if the past two games against Toulouse and Derby are anything to go by.

The Reds look stronger in all departments and, with the quality around him, Jermaine Pennant has been encouraged to show just what he can do on the wing. He has started the season in fine form and is showing great consistency.

The other aspect of the new-look squad is the talent also at his disposal on the bench. No longer are there weaknesses in crucial areas and the new owners must be thrilled by what they have seen.

One of the criticisms of the past has been the lack of that killer instinct in front of goal. Now it’s there – and from the evidence so far the goals are coming from a number of players, which is also pleasing.

As for their rivals, Chelsea appear short on ideas and goals, with only Didier Drogba of the forwards providing the finish, while Manchester United haven’t yet got into their stride. I still think Arsenal, despite their young side, are a threat.

Rafa praise for ever-present Arbeloa

By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez today praised Liverpool's unsung defensive hero after Alvaro Arbeloa's 90 minute display at the weekend ensured he remains the only outfield player to play every second of every match so far this season.

The 24-year-old - who only started playing at left back for the first time this season - has been a constant figure in the first team as the Reds have climbed to the top of the table and qualified for the group phase of the Champions League.

"Arbeloa has done a good job for us so far," said Benitez. "He is a young, fit boy and we know he is only going to get better in the future.

"He wasn't used to the left back position at all but he has come in and performed very well. When you look how well he did on his debut for us up against Lionel Messi in Barcelona then you can see he is a player with ability.

"His best positions are in the centre or on the right, so it shows his quality that he can come into a new team and adapt in a different role.

"We've had international breaks and some problems with injuries this season and so we've used players who have been working with us and who are fit. He's taken the chances he has been given very well.

"We're very pleased with him but he can still improve. He needs to keep working hard and if he maintains his form then I'm sure he'll play many more games for us this season."

The boss has also spoken of his delight that while goals are flying in at one end of the field, the door has regularly been locked shut on opposition defences at the other end.

"Over the past couple of years we have been very tight at the back and not given too much away. I'm pleased we've started the season in the same way," he said.

"It's important when the forward players are scoring goals to make sure you're keeping them out at the back and at the moment we're playing well as a team unit."

Torres: I'm here to stay

Sporting Life

Fernando Torres is loving life at Liverpool, and says he's "here for many years to come".

The Spaniard, a £20million summer capture from Atletico Madrid, has been a big hit since arriving at Anfield.

And he made himself an even bigger favourite with the Kop by netting twice as the Reds crushed Derby 6-0 to go to the top of the Premier League.

Afterwards the Spanish international striker told the club's official website: "I am learning quickly and my teammates have played an important role, along with everyone at the club who have all gone out of their way to help me.

"I feel as if I have been at Liverpool for a long time. I intend to stay here for many years to come and I am really pleased with everything - my new teammates, the fans, the city, the stadium and, of course with my first goal at Anfield versus Chelsea.

"The experience is more fulfilling when things work out and if we can maintain our recent form, I am sure that everything will continue to move along nicely."

Davies: Another learning curve

By Mark Buckingham - Sky Sports

Billy Davies admits the 6-0 defeat at Liverpool was another 'big learning curve' for his Derby County players.

The Rams' previous away game in the Premier League was a 4-0 loss at Tottenham and the top-flight new boys suffered another heavy defeat at Anfield.

Though Davies was unhappy with the free-kick which led to Liverpool's first goal, he acknowledged his players contributed to their own downfall.

"The opening 20 minutes I was reasonably pleased and I thought we moved it around, and had one or two breaks," Davies told Sky Sports.

"I felt quite comfortable, and then I've got to say I was very disappointed with the first goal, with the free-kick given against us. I felt at the time it was a poor free-kick.

"It was a tremendous free-kick and there was great pace on the ball. It was very difficult to defend against, and then they get the goal we tried to avoid.

"It was naivety and the timing of the goals, and the manner in which we gave them away, you can't do that against players like Liverpool have.

"It was a big, big learning curve for us again."

Davies feels Ryan Babel's goal just before half-time, which put Liverpool 2-0 up, was a key moment in the match.

He added: "I said at half-time that was the killer blow because if you come in at 1-0, there's always an opportunity to come out with a little more confidence in the second half.

"To lose that goal at the time we lost it was very naive and very indisciplined again, but the goals in the second half, and the manner in which we get caught in possession, was very, very naive of us."

Rafa refusing to get carried away

By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez is refusing to get carried away despite seeing his side go top of the Barclays Premier League after thrashing Derby County 6-0.

The Liverpool manager admitted he was pleased and proud of his side's performance, but noted a sign of caution when he said that it is only early days in the race for the title.

"I am really pleased with my team and we are playing well, scoring goals and keeping clean sheets," enthused Benitez.

"It's good for our supporters to see us top of the league but we now have to keep it going and keep working hard in every game we play. It's too early to talk about being top of the league.

"In the first half Derby were well organised and played very deep but we managed to keep attacking them and got our reward with the goals. We have so many options now in attack and it's good for me as a manager.

"We scored six good goals and it's good to see Torres and Voronin scoring goals. Kuyt worked so hard and was unlucky not to score and I really liked Babel's goal."

Joy of six for rampant Reds


Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres grabbed two goals each as Liverpool thrashed Derby 6-0 to go top of the table for the first time in five years.

The Reds made it 10 home goals in a week to underline the belief at Anfield that they are genuine Premier League title contenders.

They followed up the four they put past Toulouse in the Champions League on Tuesday with six unanswered goals to crush Billy Davies' Rams.

Spaniards Alonso and Torres grabbed two each, Ryan Babel netted his first for the club and substitute Andriy Voronin also got onto the scoresheet.

It is the first time Liverpool have led the top flight for five years and their best start to a league season since 1998.

You had to feel sorry for Derby. Fresh up from the Championship, they simply could not cope with the variety, pace and skill Liverpool possessed - or indeed the pots of money that has seen boss Rafael Benitez build his squad.

Benitez made five changes from the side that beat Toulouse in midweek, with Peter Crouch not even on the bench and Dirk Kuyt and Torres being paired up front.

Derby duo Claude Davis and Tyrone Mears both passed fitness tests for the Premier League's bottom club, but Dean Leacock missed out with a toe problem.

Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher watched from the directors' box, as both were still injured for Liverpool, who recalled Steve Finnan, Alonso, Jermaine Pennant and Babel along with Torres.

Without Paco Ayestaran - his assistant for 11 years at three clubs - alongside him, Benitez watched his team start with confidence and cruise through the game.

Ayestaran has shocked the Liverpool backroom by deciding he wants to leave, after what is believed to be several recent differences with Benitez.

How this affects the smooth running of Liverpool long term remains to be seen, but the players set about finding the gaps in Derby's rearguard with single-minded determination.

Daniel Agger saw a 25-yard shot clip Bob Malcolm and force Stephen Bywater into a flying save. The goalkeeper was in action again when he fielded Torres' header powered in from Pennant's cross.

Mears ventured forward to blast a 20-yard shot over the bar, and Stephen Pearson wasted possession after robbing Javier Mascherano and chasing 40 yards before a poor pass let Liverpool off the hook.

But that was about it from Derby in the first period as they became increasingly occupied by the Red tide coming their way.

Kuyt cracked a 25-yard shot just over the angle and Mascherano saw a long-range effort skim the far post.

Derby were battling hard, trying to restrict the space in front of their defence, but it was becoming increasingly difficult and Mears was warned by referee Alan Wiley for a succession of fouls.

After one on Pennant, Alonso took the free-kick 35 yards out on the left. As his low drive swerved into the box Kuyt ran across Bywater's line of vision and the ball nestled in the back of the net.

Kuyt should have made it two when Pennant raced away on the left to lift in a cross for the unmarked Dutchman to head over from eight yards.

Two minutes later Pennant's pace and skill severely embarrassed Malcolm and, from yet another cross, Kuyt was there again to lift his effort over the bar.

Liverpool were pouring forward now, and after one sustained run from Finnan, the cross was controlled superbly by Torres before the striker cracked his effort over the top.

Derby were praying now to get to the break without further damage but they were to be disappointed. The second goal came in first-half injury-time when Pennant set up Babel, who side-stepped two diving defenders before belting in his first goal for the club.

The second period started just as ominously for Derby. Pennant, Torres and Kuyt combined to set up Alonso from 10 yards, but the Spaniard lifted his effort into the Kop.

The third was not long coming. Mascherano dispossessed a dithering Malcolm 30 yards out and pushed the ball to Torres. The Spaniard then took on a beat three defenders in a run across the box before burying his shot into the bottom corner on 56 minutes.

Three minutes later the hapless Malcolm was withdrawn to save him further punishment, and Gary Teale came on.

Liverpool were playing at such a pace and with outstanding control, Derby just could not handle it and continually gave the ball away or made forced errors.

Liverpool's response was to take off the excellent Pennant, to a rousing ovation, with Yossi Benayoun coming on. Derby then took off Mohammed Camara - another defender out of his depth - and replaced him with James McEveley.

Andy Griffin was booked for pulling back Torres on 65 minutes, with the Liverpool attacks incessant. The fourth came on 69 minutes when Babel crossed from the right, Benayoun's effort was blocked and Alonso placed an 18-yard shot into the bottom corner.

Next on was Andriy Voronin in place of Babel and virtually his first touch produced the fifth. Kuyt surged into the box on the right and fired in an angled shot that Bywater could only push out for the Ukrainian to force home from a couple of yards.

It got worse for Derby a minute later when a poor back-pass by Andy Todd was snapped up by Torres, who rounded Bywater to run the ball into an empty net.

Mohamed Sissoko came on for Mascherano between the fifth and sixth goals, Darren Moore being sent on by Derby for Griffin on 80 minutes, and Derby survived without any further damage.

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Thor Zakariassen ©