Berger sparks Liverpool goal rush
from "Press Association"
Patrik Berger hasn't taken long to win a place in the hearts of Liverpool fans - just 123 minutes in fact.
Four goals in the space of a week for the club, plus another two for the Czech Republic, emphasised his thirst for scoring.
And that is what Liverpool have been lacking this season, despite their climb to the Premiership summit.
Berger has taken the matter into his own hands and marked his first start for the club with two goals in the 5-1 thrashing of Chelsea at Anfield.
Team-mate Mark Wright was among the first to congratulate him. "Brilliant," he said. "Two goals at Leicester and another two today. You can't take that away from him. It's there in black and white."
"When you get players like him and Steve McManaman, breaking like they do from midfield, they are difficult for defenders to pick up. They can take people to pieces and that is what happened to Chelsea."
Berger, full of running and full of enthusiasm, was thrilled at getting a standing ovation when he was replaced by Jamie Redknapp with 12 minutes to go.
"The feeling out there was just wonderful for me," he said. "I just hope this goes on and on."
"I have never experienced the kind of atmosphere Anfield generates. This is just great."
"Of course I know this is a team game. I know I wouldn't be getting goals unless everybody pulled together.!
Berger's marvellous week began at Leicester last Sunday when he replaced Stan Collymore at half-time and steered Liverpool to a 3-0 victory.
Then he was back in action in midweek with another brace against Malta in a World Cup qualifier.
Robbie Fowler, John Barnes and a bizarre own goal from Andy Myers completed Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit's misery.
Frank Lebeouf scored a consolation goal from the penalty spot with five minutes remaining which gave their travelling support something to cheer about.
"We want two," they chanted prompting a round of applause from the home fans who had much to smile about, not least of all Berger's contribution.
His finishing was clinical as both goals came after one-on-one's with Chelsea keeper Kevin Hitchcock.
"He took his chances well," said Hitchcock, "but we were punished on the day for poor defending."
"We played a lot of good stuff in the opening 20 minutes but the marking was sloppy for the opening goal and we fell apart."
Chelsea dashed back to London just half an hour after the game with Gullit having much to reflect on.
He said: "We played more against ourselves than Liverpool today. We gave away four goals and after that we snapped."
"Maybe we should welcome this defeat because it showed us we are not there yet. It brought us down to earth.
Copyright - "Press Association" - 21 September 1996