Liverpool Echo report
An Emile Heskey double strike in the last 10 minutes, underlined Liverpool's dominance of this match as they jumped ahead of Aston Villa and Leicester to go third in the Premiership today.
After last week's defeat at Old Trafford, Coventry manager, Gordon Strachan, attacked his players for a lack of concentration and self belief. Apart from a 15 minute spell in the second half, in which former Reds midfielder, David Thompson, fired in a specatcular 35 yard strike, the story for the Sky blues was much the same today.
Chasing the game from the outset, Liverpool's flowing football was simply too much for the away side to cope with as they stumbled to their fourth defeat in a row. The Reds on the other hand, playing their seventh game in 22 days, strolled through to make it six wins and just one defeat. Not bad reading from such a heavy schedule.
Before the game, Reds manager Gerard Houllier, had warned his side not to give any more 'gifts' away in the run up to Christmas. A signal of his disenchantment at a faltering defence which has leaked 6 goals in the last seven days. But with a reshuffled defence, which saw Henchoz shift Babbel out to right back, and Djimi Traore come in for the underfire Ziege, Santa Claus was nowhere to be seen in the Liverpool penalty area this afternoon.
Any self-respecting Kopite would not be-grudge David Thompson his blistering goal which brought Coventry back into the game on 55 minutes. But after a commanding first half performance which saw the Reds go in a goal up at half time after a McAllister strike against his former club , Thompson's effort culminated in a minor blip as Gerard had already doubled the lead just after the interval.
Although Coventry, lifted by Thompson's wonder-strike, tried valiantly to get something from this game, their efforts left them exposed at the back. And with Liverpool continuing to create an array of chances, it was simply a matter of time before they had to face reality.
And it was a rude awakening for the visitors in the form of Emile Heskey, as the redhot hitman took his tally for the season into double figures with a killer brace in the final moments. Reminding the substituted Michael Owen of how it's done, it was Heskey's second that will steal the plaudits.
Contrary to his reputation for pace and power, the big frontman displayed such delicate skills and vision for goal to lob the excellent Chris Kirkland, that the Anfield faithful are finally beginning to realise why Houllier forked out ?11m for him.
As Liverpool went from strength to strength in this fixture, it was not to be the most memorable of afternoon's for Michael Owen. Starting his first game since that terrible head injury at Derby last month, Owen, despite his immediate goal return on Thursday night, looks to have fallen into the same mould of rustiness attributed to Robbie Fowler in recent weeks. Squandering a range of golden opportunities the young England striker may struggle, if selected, against the Italians on Wednesday night.
But in the main, Owen found himself caught up in the majority of Liverpool's attacking play, which against a dejected Coventry City outfit, was in plentiful supply.
Criticised against Leeds last week for his system of team rotation, Gerard Houllier certainly got it right at Anfield this afternoon. A soild defensive display, gaining support from a tireless Gerard and McAllister in midfield, made the task of scoring goals look that much easier as Liverpool extended their unbeaten home run this season to ten in all competitions.
If Liverpool can duplicate this type of football outside of Anfield, their next two fixtures away to Tottenham and Newcastle, may not be as tricky as they first appear.
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