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Press Association match report

Liverpool got the confidence boosting victory they desperately needed as they turn their attention to European combat.

It is the Battle of Britain next, Tuesday's Parkhead showdown with Celtic in the UEFA Cup.
And after a result that was far more convincing than the scoreline suggested, Roy Evans' men can head for Scotland in good spirits. Only in the last ten minutes when Wednesday produced a late goal, did there seem any doubt where the points were going.

Having gone almost three weeks since their morale boosting win at Leeds, Liverpool needed to maintain their continuity and reward their Anfield fans with a home victory!

Their only previous game at home this term had been the disastrous 2-1 defeat by Leicester City, and memories of that dreadful night have lingered in the minds of the Merseyside faithful. But although Wednesday strung a massed defence across the park, and survived for the first half, once Liverpool got their opening goal there looked to be only one winner.

The first half saw Liverpool playing far too slowly in their build-up, David Pleat's defensive tactics were only enhanced by a side that played in front of them for long spells. The only spark of excitement in the first half was an unsavoury exchange between Paul Ince and former Liverpool favourite Steve Nicol. Ince felled the veteran with a late tackle, complained that the Wednesday man was making a meal of it, and was told where to get off by the grounded Nicol.

Ince had been the driving force throughout this frustrating period, in which Peter Atherton man-marked Steve McManaman in exactly the same fashion that produced a 1-0 win for Wednesday at Anfield last season. The way the England man, left out of the Moldova squad, approached his work this time suggested that Wednesday would be lucky to keep him quiet again. McManaman ran Atherton ragged, switching from wing to wing, and his display did much to unhinge the visitors' well constructed defence.

Kevin Pressman made exceptional saves from Michael Thomas, Stig Bjornebye and Karlheinz Riedle as Wednesday survived the first half. But it didn't take long for the wall to crack after the break. Rob Jones, the supplier of so much good service down the right, fired in a low cross.
Bjorn Kvarme was on the near post and managed to turn it back into the six yard box. And on 55 minutes, Ince controlled the ball, turned and drove it firmly past Pressman.

After 68 minutes, Ince's midfield partner Thomas made it two. McManaman won possession with a sliding tackle from Atherton, and when the ball broke 25 yards out, Thomas smashed as rising drive into the far top corner.

With Celtic in mind, Patrik Berger and Jason McAteer got a run out late in the game, but there was still a few minutes of concern after substitute Wayne Collins headed in a Paulo di Canio cross with ten minutes left. Poor marking in the box allowed the striker to take his time flicking a downward header that James got a hand to, but could not stop going in.

In the dying minutes, McManaman twice set up Berger for what would have been the clinching goal, he missed both times, but Liverpool left feeling more than pleased with themselves as they contemplate a night of passion and fire in Glasgow.

Copyright - Press Association

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