Press Association match report

Liverpool maintained their unbeaten start to the season and soared back to the top of the Premiership thanks to this convincing Anfield victory.

The growing believe on Merseyside that this attack-conscious Liverpool side can go all the way this season was compounded by the sort of result that has eluded them so often in the past few seasons.

Failure to kill off so-called lesser sides at Anfield has cost Liverpool dearly, and Coventry have been one of the major thorns in their side, with Liverpool winning only four of their previous 12 League games against the Midlanders - and being dumped out of the FA Cup last season so embarrassingly.

But a first-half goal from Patrik Berger - the 100th League goal Liverpool have netted against Coventry - and a second-half strike from Jamie Redknapp kept the Anglo-French bandwagon on the right track.

Doubts about the partnership of Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier have been all but dispelled by Liverpool's confident start to the campaign.
And even the mini-Sweden v England showdown this time went the way of the English.

Paul Ince, Michael Owen and Jamie Redknapp had suffered badly in Stockholm last weekend against a side that included Coventry's Magnus Hedman and Roland Nilsson. But they emerged much happier this time.

The four-goal rout of Newcastle that put Liverpool top may have been nine days ago, and the number one slot was lost to Leeds on Tuesday, but the Anfield men continued in the same vein of flowing attacking play.

Berger, after just five minutes, finished off a fine passing move with a dipping drive over the bar, although Liverpool had been given warning of Darren Huckerby's pace again - the same player that put them out of the FA Cup on this ground last season - when he raced away from Jamie Carragher before having a cross deflected to safety.

Steve McManaman, fit after the Achilles scare that wrecked his England hopes the previous week, was flying at Coventry's defence from all angles and had the sort of imaginative game that defies reason that he's not an England regular.

Coventry had their moments and should have scored after nine minutes when Trond Soltvedt ran onto a chipped pass into the box and with Brad Friedel dithering, the

Norwegian clipped it away from the 'keeper and crashed a cross into the six-yard box that was cleared amid near-panic.

At the other end Vegard Heggem burst into the box, got round David Burrows, and produced a cross that was cleared away from the head of Karlheinz Riedle.

After 20 minutes, Jamie Redknapp played a one-two with Riedle on the edge of the area and flashed a low drive inches wide of the far post.

Coventry had a moment of respite when Liverpool three times failed to clear the ball from a corner, and Roland Nilsson cracked a low drive inches wide.

But after 26 minutes, Liverpool struck. French defender Jean-Guy Wallemme was booked for a challenge on Berger some 30 yards out, and the free-kick was hit wide by Redknapp to Heggem on the right.

He found Paul Ince, who jinked into the box and fed Berger who slammed the ball into the bottom corner of Hedman's net.

Wallemme was lucky not to be sent off for two separate hand-ball offences - from one free-kick, Staunton drove the ball to Hedman's right, and the Swedish 'keeper saved well.

Three minutes into the second half, Liverpool were two ahead. McManaman had been at his creative best on the right. He'd held possession, tried a couple of avenues through the defence with nimble running and finally played the ball off Owen to allow him to surge into the box.

A neat flick to Redknapp allowed the midfielder to strike the ball past Hedman and inside the right-hand post.

That took much of the sting out of the game, although Dion Dublin created one effort that Soltvedt drove over from 10 yards, and then had a towering header that bounced across the six-yard box.

After 67 minutes, Riedle powered in a header from Redknapp's corner that Hedman saved.

Owen had a 'goal' in each half disallowed for offside, and Redknapp should have made it three a couple of minutes from time after skipping past three defenders and forcing a fine save from Hedman, who also brilliantly turned away a scorching Owen drive in the dying seconds.

Friedel produced an equally excellent save to tip over a Huckerby drive, setting the seal on a ominously sound Liverpool victory.


Liverpool: Friedel, Staunton, Babb, McManaman, Owen, Redknapp, Riedle, Heggem, Berger, Ince, Carragher.
Subs Not Used: James, McAteer, Harkness, Matteo, Thompson.

Coventry: Hedman, Nilsson (Shaw 69), Burrows, Breen, Wallemme, Huckerby, Dublin, Soltvedt (Edworthy 64), Boateng, Telfer, Hall (Shilton 76).
Subs Not Used: Ogrizovic, Haworth.
Booked: Wallemme.

Copyright - Press Association

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