LIVERPOOL: First-half strikes from Yossi Benayoun and David Ngog and a second-half own goal from Robert Green earned Liverpool a 3-0 win on Monday over struggling West Ham. The Reds are still five points off fourth-placed Tottenham, who also have a game in hand, but they extended their unbeaten run at Anfield to 10 matches and this was a simple warm up for Thursday’s Europa League semi final first leg at Atletico Madrid.
Liverpool dominated possession from the start and West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green had to turn a Maxi Rodriguez strike around the post with just a couple of minutes gone. The hosts took the lead on 19 minutes following a Gerrard free kick on the right. The Liverpool captain whipped the set piece in behind the West Ham defence and the ball crept inside the post off Benayoun’s chest. The Israeli, who joined Liverpool from West Ham and was being booed throughout by the visitors’ fans, refused to celebrate the breakthrough.
The Reds managed to double their advantage when Benayoun knocked wide to Rodriguez. The Argentinian crossed for Ngog, who managed to get in front of Matthew Upson, and hit a shot with enough power to beat Green. Another goal arrived thanks to more poor defending from the visitors. The third came with Gerrard sending over a free kick from the left and Kyrgiakos beating Upson only to see his shot come back off the post and roll in off Green.
Hammers stare into the abyss
West Ham have not won away from home since the opening weekend of the season and remain just three points above the relegation zone with three matches remaining. But coach Gianfranco Zola has denied the defeat would do any damage to the morale, telling ESPN, “We just had a chat in the changing room and I am not concerned at all. No problem.” AFP