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Press Association report

Jamie Redknapp scored the goals, but Steve McManaman tore the heart out of brave Wimbledon today as Liverpool claimed their fifth successive Premiership win.

The victory capped a wonderful recovery from the defeat by Coventry in the FA Cup a week ago at Anfield.

The Reds are proving to be the comeback masters, the team who can sink to the depths and then bounce back with displays that confound the critics.

This is the fifth time this season they have battled back from poor results that have put intense pressure on boss Roy Evans.

Now the week that started so darkly sees Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Coca-Cola Cup after winning at Newcastle on Wednesday, and still firmly in the race for a Champions' League place.

McManaman, the centre of more rumours from Spain that he had "signed" for Barcelona before the game, was outstanding.

The latest Player of the Month shrugged off the gossip beforehand by saying: "It's all news to me."

Liverpool chief executive Peter Robinson added: "We have not heard from Barcelona since their bid back in August. There is still a contract on the table for Steve and we are confident he will sign."

That speculation out of the way, McManaman made the first goal, the crucial breakthrough by Redknapp, and teased and tormented Wimbledon's admirable defence throughout.

The Dons arrived at Anfield with a record of only one defeat in their last seven visits, and just two defeats in 15 meetings home and away against the Merseysiders.

For long periods it looked like they would achieve another notable draw, but they were unable to contain McManaman or Redknapp, who is also back on song after early season injury problems.

Redknapp almost matched McManaman for effort and attacking ability, and when his second scorched in from 25 yards, you could not have seen a happier man.

The first half saw Liverpool enjoy a vast majority of the possession as McManaman attacked with his speed and trickery down the right.

The Dons had both Neil Ardley and Alan Kimble lining up to quell the danger, but the Player of the Month produced a string of fine runs and crosses.

After just a couple of minutes he had found Oyvind Leonhardsen with a superb ball beyond the far post that the little Norwegian headed agonisingly wide.

Paul Ince and Redknapp also threatened from long range, and then McManaman swept a fine curling low cross in behind the defence for Leonhardsen to meet on the far post only to see the ball bounce behind off Kenny Cunningham.

McManaman continued to create havoc down the right and set up both Ince and Leonhardsen again on the near post as Wimbledon fought to keep the flowing home side out.

After weathering that early storm, a string of Wimbledon corners had the alarm bells ringing with worrying headers that went mighty close from Chris Perry and Robbie Earle.

Had it not been for a brilliant saving tackle from Phil Babb, Marcus Gayle would surely have scored after being put through to bear down on David James.

Neil Sullivan did well to clutch down a close-range Robbie Fowler shot after Jason McAteer had whipped in a fierce low cross.

But the break came and Wimbledon's strength and organisation had them level, and deservedly so.

The second half started in the same vein. Liverpool were getting frustrated, Wimbledon more confident, and had it not been for a smart piece of goalkeeping from James, Gayle would have unhinged Liverpool with a backheader following a Vinny Jones long throw.

But McManaman was beginning to really get at Wimbledon. Cunningham was booked for hauling him back after 70 minutes, and from the freekick Redknapp gave a warning of what was to come when he curled the ball round the wall to force a fine save from Sullivan.

Patrik Berger came on for Leonhardsen, and Liverpool turned the screw even more.

To their credit they didn't let their frustration affect their passing game and after 72 minutes they were ahead.

It was McManaman who set it up, with a stunning defence-splitting ball that Redknapp ran onto and cracked in off the far post.

Sullivan saved well from Fowler, Owen was twice denied by the keeper, before Redknapp ended the contest with a magnificent goal after 84 minutes.

He found himself all alone 25 yards out, and blasted a brilliant shot into the top corner, doubling his total for the season to four.

League position: 4th (40 points after 21 matches)

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