Benayoun celebrate with Crouch
and Arbeloa. (Photo: Allsport)
Crouch: It could
have been more
By Jimmy Rice - LFC Official Website
Peter Crouch believes he and his teammates
could have been even more ruthless in front of goal during
the 8-0 massacre of Besiktas.
The Liverpool number 15 bagged a brace to add to Yossi
Benayoun's hat-trick, a Ryan Babel double and a superb team
goal finished by skipper Steven Gerrard.
Crouch admits the Reds felt under pressure before kick-off,
but despite being proud of the response, he claims they
could have been greedier.
"When we're under pressure we seem to pull out our best
form, that was the case here," he told Liverpoolfc.tv.
"We started well, we wanted to make an impact from the
beginning and we did that. From then on we made it easy for
ourselves by playing some good football.
"It could have been more than 8-0. I think it's perhaps the
best we've played for a long time – you don't get many 8-0
results in the Champions League.
"People have said we're in crisis but we're our own worst
critics. We haven't been as good as we would have liked
lately but hopefully we have put that to bed here."
The result is a record in the Champions League, though it
does fall short of our all-time European best, the 11-0 win
over Stromsgodset in the 1974 Cup Winners' Cup.
However, Crouch, who now has 10 goals in 27 Champions League
appearances, insists no one was getting carried away in the
Liverpool dressing room.
"It was a fantastic win, we scored some great goals, but
we're not getting carried away. We'll enjoy it but there is
still a long way to go. It's only three points and we've
still got to win our remaining games.
"We still have to be realistic and we know we have a lot to
do. But it'll be easier if we can go out again with the
mentality we showed here."
On hat-trick hero Benayoun, the 26-year-old added: "Yossi is
a fantastic player. He got a hat-trick and was involved in
just about everything. He had a bit of space out there and
if you give him space he will kill you."
Leaving out Crouch just too
tall an order for Benitez this time
By Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post
Beskitas coach Etugrul Saglam admitted he
was scared of facing the ‘physique’ of Peter Crouch ahead of
And no wonder, given the woeful shape the lot he sent out to
deal with him were in.
The Turks might have been missing their outstanding defender
from the first game a fortnight ago in injured Gokhan Zan –
but they were also missing any idea of how to cope with
Crouch and his team-mates.
Saglam’s instructions were clear enough: “We will aim to
stop him but that may mean we will have to work in other
areas to stop the ball being played into him.”
Instructions which Eduard Cisse ignored to the letter in the
19th minute when he slid in to send Crouch clear through and
tee up the opening goal that sparked a glorious
Saglam called Crouch a difficult opponent and it proved a
correct call as their preoccupation with him also opened the
way for others.
But then Saglam’s players would have found Northwich
Victoria difficult opponents last night on this form – about
as convincing as Alex Ferguson’s disbelief at going to the
Emirates Stadium and being shouted at by Arsenal fans.
If Yossi Benayoun is going to go around scoring hat-tricks
you’d expect him to have to maybe beat a few men or produce
some outrageous piece of skill that became his trademark at
But being presented with three simple chances like those he
tucked away merely indicates the ineptitude that he was
faced with – summed up by the obscurity of Ryan Babel’s
But that’s Besiktas’s problem.
The main one for Liverpool still remains getting out of this
group and if they don’t, they will look at last night’s
hapless opponents and wonder how.
Liverpool should never have allowed this situation to
develop with their European experience.
Hostile atmospheres in Istanbul should be second nature, not
the ordeal they contrived to make it two weeks ago and
events at Anfield last night only reinforced that.
As they won with such ease and would have done whoever was
donning the red shirts, Rafael Benitez didn’t really need to
pick Benayoun or Crouch in the end.
But the fact is, in the case of the forward his opposite
number feared so much, he had to.
Famously impossible to second-guess in his selection of
striking partnerships, even Benitez doesn’t possess the
single-mindedness stubbornness to ignore the obvious.
When you need to score and you need a win, failure to do it
won’t be forgiven if you’ve left your most dangerous weapon
on the bench.
And Benitez, particularly given the indifferent form Dirk
Kuyt and Andriy Voronin have shown in front of goal of late,
just had to accept that.
He has presented a strong case for leaving Crouch out – this
was only his seventh start of the current campaign and he
has only made one in the Premier League – but it’s been
based on a theory that isn’t backed up by statistics. After
another fruitless cameo at Blackburn on Saturday, Crouch was
pretty much described by his manager as an impact player,
effective when thrown on for the final 20 minutes to give
defenders something different to think about.
But look at last year’s record in the league – an impressive
nine goals in his 19 starts while failing to score in any of
his 13 substitute appearances.
It’s a similar story this time. Last night’s were only his
second and third goals of the campaign but at least he was
on from the off, as he was when he netted in the qualifying
round second leg against Toulouse in August.
He might have had it relatively easy last night but he
proved that if he’s going to take 20 minutes to make that
impact, he can do it 20 minutes from the first whistle as
well as the last, which he proved when heading in the
And it did the vital job of settling any early nerves
although it’s not his fault that Besiktas gave nobody in
Anfield except the scoreboard operator anything to be
So for Liverpool in the Champions League, last night was how
it should be.
It’s certainly how it was last season, inferior opposition
ruthlessly put away only this time the wait for progress
goes on. An emphatic win that doesn’t exactly emphatically
keep Liverpool in the Champions League .
And against this type of opposition even this scoreline
gives them absolutely no indication if they have what it
takes to make recent glories rise to the surface once again.
eases pressure on Rafa
Liverpool not only set a new winning
margin in the Champions League on Tuesday, but they
re-established themselves as a force at home.
Liverpool and their under-fire manager Rafael Benitez have
taken merciless criticism for their European form this
season, and many came to Anfield to write their European
obituary on Tuesday.
But after the 8-0 destruction of Besiktas, a side that beat
Liverpool in Istanbul last month to create a crisis for the
Anfield club, Benitez knows he has a team now to be feared.
Benitez restored Peter Crouch to the front line and the
England striker scored twice, and there was no need to
remove Fernando Torres from the bench.
The Spaniard had recovered enough from a thigh injury to be
named in the squad, but Benitez said: "He was fit, but he
will be 100% fit.
"When we play Fulham here on Saturday then he may well start
This was Liverpool's 280th European match, going back 43
years of competition in Europe and their biggest winning
margin for 27 years, when they beat Finnish club Oulun
Liverpool once scored 11 against Stromsgodset in 1974 and
another 10 against Dundalk in 1969. And there was an 8-0
against TSV Munich in 1967.
But in modern times of the European elite competition, this
8-0 is by far the most impressive.
Benitez said: "Obviously I want to win trophies, but it is
good to be in the record books as well. It is something that
people will take notice of."
Liverpool still have to beat Porto and Marseille in their
final two group games to salvage their qualification
ambitions, but Benitez now considers that opponents will be
"worried and concerned" about facing the five-times European
Cup winners now.
Benitez said: "Porto now have to come to Anfield in the next
match and they will be worried by this. The rest of Europe
will also be aware of what we have done.
"But in the end we still have to win those last two games,
regardless of how many goals we scored this time."
Yossi Benayoun grabbed a hat-trick, Ryan Babel and Peter
Crouch hit two each with skipper Steven Gerrard grabbing the
other goal as the Turkish side collapsed under the pressure
of Liverpool's stunning attacking play.
Benitez said: "We have been creating a lot of chances in
previous games, but not scoring them.
"Today we scored early and the game opened up. Besiktas also
had to win to keep their chances of qualifying going so they
had to come out and try to attack and that gave our forwards
space to use.
"It made our movement easier, the space was there and our
strikers were on very good form.
"But will still must win the next two and then wait to see
if it is enough. But we have confidence that we can beat
Porto next, and our supporters will also have confidence in
"When you create chances, score hat-tricks and play that
well, it gives all the front players, Yossi, Ryan and Peter,
plenty of confidence that they can attack and be successful.
"If you score then you have confidence, that is the
difference from the way we have played recently."
Bring on Porto
By Paul Hassall - LFC Official Website
Rafa Benitez is confident Liverpool can
still progress to the knockout stages after they got their
Champions League campaign back on track with a
record-breaking victory against Besiktas.
The 8-0 triumph is the biggest margin of victory in the
competition in its current format and the Reds boss believes
the success will now give his side the confidence to go on
and win their next two Group A matches.
"In the last few matches we have been creating chances and
not scoring goals but today once we got the first it was
easier for us to go on and score the second and then the
other goals," said Benitez.
"We had the belief and know that we now need to win our next
"Our supporters will believe we can qualify and we now need
to think about beating Porto when they come here."
Peter Crouch hit a double on his return to the starting
line-up while Yossi Benayoun fired his first hat-trick for
the Reds, but while Benitez was happy to see his forward
players on the scoresheet, he feels it is the team that
deserves the plaudits.
"Crouch was very good," said Benitez.
"But I prefer to think about the whole team. The strikers
were very good and Voronin was fantastic but the midfielders
and defenders were also good and we managed to keep a clean
sheet which was important too."
in 'special night'
Yossi Benayoun insisted Liverpool's record-breaking
8-0 Champions League rout of Besiktas would inspire
qualification for the knock-out stages.
The Israel international scored a hat-trick, Peter Crouch
and Ryan Babel netted twice with captain Steven Gerrard
getting one as the Reds racked up the highest win in the
A victory was the minimum Rafael Benitez's side required as,
after a poor start in Group A, they were left needing to win
their final three matches to qualify.
With one of those wins completed, Benayoun said the team
could now go on with real belief.
"It is a special night for everyone. I am happy to score but
what was important was the way we won," he said.
"We just need to continue to improve all the time. We knew
we had our backs to the wall because we had to win three
"I'm sure this win will give us a lot of confidence."
Crouch was asked if he remembered the last time he had
played in an 8-0 victory. "Schoolboy days," was his
response. "Everything just clicked."
The England striker has found himself marginalised somewhat
at Anfield this season but he refused to see his two-goal
performance as proving a point.
"I would rather just enjoy tonight. I have played 90 minutes
and we've won 8-0. I couldn't be more happy.
"Although it is a big win it is only three points. We need
to win the other games and make sure we can qualify."
Yossi treble in Reds
Liverpool racked up the biggest-ever Champions League
margin, blitzing Besiktas 8-0 at Anfield courtesy of Yossi
Benayoun's clinical hat-trick.
The pressure was on Rafael Benitez's Reds after banking just
a point from their first three Group A games - but
first-half goals from Peter Crouch and Benayoun set them on
course for a crucial three-point haul.
Far from backing off after the break, the hosts went goal
crazy in the second half, with Benayoun bagging the second
and third of his treble before seeing Steven Gerrard (69),
Ryan Babbel (79 and 81) and Crouch (89) also net.
Andriy Voronin and Crouch started up front, with Fernando
Torres on the bench, and both looked lively early on,
respectively dragging a shot and steering a header narrowly
Mehmet Sedef sidefooted a good chance wide for this
visitors, who fell behind on 19 minutes when Crouch reacted
quickly to stab home a rebound after Hakan Arikan had saved
his first left-footed effort.
The collective relief around Anfield was tangible and the
Reds were 2-0 up on 32, when Benayoun controlled Voronin's
left-wing cross and volleyed an unstoppable drive into the
back of the net.
John Arne Riise had a goalbound header cleared off the line
and Crouch flashed a shot narrowly wide as the Reds finished
the half strongly.
Benayoun pounced on two clangers by reserve keeper Arikan,
who fumbled Riise's blockbuster and Gerrard's free-kick, to
collect his hat-trick (53 and 56) and that opened the
floodgates, with Gerrard slotting after a superb one-two
with the impressive Voronin.
Sub Babbel bagged a cheeky sixth with a close-range backheel
- and his second was very fortunate as a defensive clearance
hit his back and looped over the keeper and under the
Babbel was denied a treble as his header rattled the
crossbar - but the Reds still went after eight and the icing
on the cake came when Benayoun crossed for Crouch to head