Thu, Nov 08, 2007 - Page 20 News List

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Liverpool clinch record Champions League win

REVENGEIsraeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun claimed a hat-trick as Liverpool kept their Champions League campaign alive with an 8-0 demolition of Besiktas


Liverpool's Peter Crouch takes a header to score the last goal of the game against Besiktas during their Champions League Group A soccer match at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, on Tuesday.


English giants Liverpool added another ribbon to their vast European laurels on Tuesday as they recorded the biggest ever win in the Champions League group stage, thrashing sorry Besiktas 8-0 in their clash at Anfield.

The Reds showed no stage fright whatsoever in a must-win match as, led by a hat-trick by Yossi Benayoun, they trod all over a side they lost to a fortnight ago and kept themselves in with a fighting chance of making the knockout stages.

While Benayoun took the scoring honors of the night's Champions League action, the seemingly ageless 34-year-old Italian forward Filippo Inzaghi went level with Gerd "Das Bomber" Muller in the history of the European Cup scoring charts as his double in the 3-0 away win for AC Milan over Ukrainian outfit Shakthar Donetsk lifted him to 62 goals.

Liverpool's hopes of making the next round were helped no end as the side that they succeeded as Champions League holders in 2005, FC Porto, beat Marseille 2-1 in Oporto to stop the 1993 champions from qualifying if they had prevailed.

Another British former champion also revived their hopes of making the knockout stages as Celtic downed another Portuguese side, Benfica, 1-0 at home with Irish striker Aiden McGeady scoring the only goal.

British sides remained unbeaten on the night as Chelsea scrambled a 0-0 draw away at Schalke 04, while the London side's most dangerous opponent to top the group is rather bizarrely the Norwegian outfit Rosenborg -- whose draw earlier in the competition with the Blues ushered the departure of Jose Mourinho -- as they beat Spanish side Valencia 2-0 in Spain.

While Liverpool's massive win was just what the fans had been looking for after continual complaints about Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez' cautious tactics despite signing several strikers, the Spanish handler was keeping his feet firmly on the ground about the task ahead of qualifying.

"We are creating chances," the former Valencia coach said.

"Now we just need a bit of luck. The situation is not so different from what it was before this match. We knew we probably needed to win the last three games, so we have to beat Porto and see what happens in the last one [against Marseille in France]," he said.

Inzaghi proved to be a masterful substitution by underfire Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti as instead of sending on Brazilian star Ronaldo he opted for the older Italian and within three minutes he had scored the first of his brace.

"Inzaghi has put in a lot of work recently even if we haven't given him many opportunities to play," said Ancelotti, who has come under pressure recently because of indifferent home form shown by the Champions League holders in Serie A. "He's been very professional. He was very good in the way he prepared for this game."

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan struggled to find words to explain his emotions at the end but praised his side for their performance against Benfica -- especially in the second half.

"I can't explain how I feel but I hope everyone appreciates how entertaining, exciting and brave a performance it was," gushed the former Scotland midfielder, who won the now defunct Cup Winners Cup with Aberdeen in the 1980s.

"In the first half I don't think we were physically or mentally strong enough and I didn't think if we played the same way in the second half it would be good enough to win.

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