Liverpool 4 Sheffield United 0

Last updated : 24 February 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Liverpool rounded off a superb week with a 4-0 win over Sheffield United which at times flattered their performance.

After midweek delight in Barcelona and headlines from the trip to Portugal it was back to the Premiership routine at Anfield.

And it was two early penalties scored in the same way as the Reds' draw at Bramall Lane which set them on the way to victory.

The artistry and passion of the Champions League was forgotten as a workmanlike performance from the Anfield side yielded four goals and kept them third in the league.

Rafa Benitez took the opportunity to rest key campaigners after the priceless victory in the Camp Nou, giving Javier Mascherano his debut in the starting line-up.

United were looking to put further space between themselves and the relegation zone and build on their victory against Tottenham last time out.

Striker Rob Hulse had the first clear cut chance of the game, firing a volley on the turn over the crossbar on nine minutes.

Visitors United were keen to tie up Liverpool resources and were quick to press ahead into opposition territory when given the ball.

But it was Liverpool who opened scoring with an early penalty dispatched by Robbie Fowler, just as he did in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the campaign

Steven Gerrard was adjudged to have been wrestled to the ground by defender Rob Kozluk in the 17th minutes as Jermaine Pennant swung in a corner, Fowler converted from the spot.

The home side took a blow with Peter Crouch stretchered off with a head wound after clashing with Hulse at the same set-piece, Dirk Kuyt replacing him

Before Warnock's men could regroup their misery was doubled with a second penalty only five minutes later.

Again Gerrard went down in the area while latching on to a Kuyt flick-on and Steve Bennett ruled Nick Montgomery had tugged him back.

Fowler again stepped to do the honours, sending the second spot-kick to Paddy Kenny's right.

Gerrard nearly put the game beyond the Blades' reach when he flashed wide a shot from Kuyt's knock down on 56 minutes.

As the second half progressed play became increasingly disjointed as neither side truly had control of the game.

John Arne Riise swung his powerful left foot into action on 65 minutes but his shot was always curling upwards and away from Kenny's goal.

Veteran Sami Hyypia managed to get himself on the scoresheet and make the points safe with a uncharacteristic poacher's goal on 71 minutes.

The Finn capitalised on a deflection from Pennant's corner to rifle home a shot from barely six yards which Kenny could do little to stop.

Kenny was again a virtual spectator as Gerrard rounded off what was possibly a flattering scoreline two minutes later with a crisp finish.

The Liverpool captain collected Fowler's through ball, nicked it neatly past Chris Morgan and calmly fired the ball home from 15 yards low into the corner.

Hulse had United's best chance for a goal, but his instinctive effort from six yards from Colin Kazim-Richards' cross crashed against the crossbar and away to safety.