Liverpool hand out record 8-0 thrashing

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Liverpool, Nov 7: Israel international Yossi Benayoun scored a hat-trick as Liverpool, winners of the Champions League in 2005 and runners-up last season, handed out an 8-0 thrashing to Besiktas at Anfield.

The scoreline was a Champions League record, beating the 7-0 by Arsenal against Slavia Prague last month and Juventus against Olympiakos in December 2003.

After failing to win any of their opening three games in Group A, Liverpool could not afford to drop more points against the Turkish club, who beat them 2-1 in Istanbul last month.

But that never looked likely once Peter Crouch and Benayoun had scored in the first half to pave the way for a torrent of goals after the break.

Benayoun added two more and as Besiktas crumbled, further goals from captain Steven Gerrard, substitute Ryan Babel, with two, and Crouch again emphatically revived Liverpool's chances of catching Porto or Marseille for a top two place in the group.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez had played down the pressure on his position and the financial implications of failing to emerge from the group stages.

But Besiktas have only won once away from home in 10 Champions League fixtures and defeat for Liverpool could have had serious implications for a club which earlier had received planning permission for a new 400 million pounds stadium.

However, the Turkish side wilted in the face of a Liverpool onslaught which saw them score six times in a rampant second half.

FAITH IN CROUCH

Benitez had proved reluctant to pick Crouch so far this season but with Fernando Torres only fit enough to take his place among the substitutes he put his faith in the England international.

Crouch did not let him down as he calmed Liverpool's nerves by opening the scoring after 19 minutes on only his fourth start of the campaign.

Andriy Voronin, who had missed an earlier chance, played in Crouch with the help of a deflection of Edouard Cisse and the tall striker beat Hakan Arikan at the second attempt.

However, it was Benayoun who was the star of the show and he opened his tally in the 32nd minute by volleying in a cross from Voronin after John Arne Riise had released him with a throw-in.

Arikan had a night to forget as he spilled shots from Riise and Gerrard to allow Benayoun to follow up twice and score twice in three minutes to register his first hat-trick for Liverpool.

Gerrard then blasted home the fifth following a one-two with Voronin before Babel came off the bench to help himself to two goals in three minutes.

He flicked in the first from a Benayoun cross and then enjoyed a slice of luck as he charged down a clearance from Ibrahim Toraman and saw the ball bounce into the net.

Liverpool could barely put a foot wrong and Crouch completed the rout by heading in the eighth goal two minutes from the end.

UNI

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