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14:45 13th September 2009


Owen Coyle's eye for talent has served Burnley so well and it was spot-on again at Anfield.

Unfortunately for the Clarets, it was Coyle's identification of Liverpool's Yossi Benayoun as the Reds' potential dangerman that proved correct as the Israeli international was the catalyst for Burnley's third defeat of the season.

Among Liverpool's star cast of players, it was Benyoun who had caught Coyle's eye on one of the Burnley boss's last visits to Anfield.

But earmarking a threat and being able to do anything about are two different things.

And with Liverpool's multi-dimensional midfield proving the difference between the two teams, Benayoun was the major beneficiary with a hat-trick and a hand in Liverpool's other goal for Dirk Kuyt.

David Nugent makes his Clarets debut

Burnley had done well for the opening half-hour and the first sight of goal came Martin Paterson's way but the striker was unable to hit the target after Chris McCann and Wade Elliott had parted the Liverpool defence.

The home side, trying to recover from a hit-and-miss start to the campaign, had been restricted to long-range efforts as Clarke Carlisle did a fine job of marshalling Fernando Torres and the rest of Burnley's back four stood firm.

But with Liverpool preferring to launch their attacks from deep the problems arose from elsewhere and Benayoun finally broke the deadlock after 27 minutes.

Collecting a pass from England full-back Glen Johnson, Benayoun burst forward into the box and with a low shot steered the ball across Brian Jensen into the far corner.

Within a minute Jensen made a fine double save to deny Benayoun and Kuyt and the Burnley keeper found himself the busiest man on the pitch before Burnley briefly gained a foothold in the game.

Tyrone Mears did his best to stem the tide

Enjoying their best spell of the half, Burnley retained useful possession and Paterson tested Pepe Reina from 25 yards.

However, any hopes of a comeback disappeared four minutes before the interval when Torres beat Wade Elliott to the ball following a Clarets' corner and launched a rapid counter-attack which ended with Benayoun letting fly.

Jensen could not hold the dipping shot and Kuyt, starting from what looked like an offside position, followed up to score.

A magnificent save from Jensen stopped Steven Gerrard adding a third before the break.

But Liverpool had to wait until just six minutes into the second half to increase their lead as Gerrard, an increasing influence, powered forward and squared the ball for Benayoun to tap in.

It threatened to become a long afternoon for the Clarets and Benayoun was briefly denied a hat-trick by a harsh off-side decision

And after Coyle had thrown on David Nugent for a debut, and seen Wade Elliott shoot over from a pass from lively subsitute Chris Eagles, the little Israeli earned the match-ball with the final goal eight minutes from the end.

Helped by a ricochet off referee Lee Mason, Liverpool racked up the passes on the edge of the penalty area and when Andriy Voronin slipped the ball through for Benayoun he calmly side-footed home to confirm the Reds' credentials as title hopefuls.

Burnley: Jensen, Alexander (Gudjonsson 75), Carlisle, Fletcher, Paterson (Nugent 69), Elliott, Mears, McCann, Blake (Eagles 59), Bikey, Jordan. Substitutes: Penny, McDonald, Thompson, Guerrero.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson (Degen 64), Gerrard, Torres (Ngog 75) , Riera, Benayoun, Kuyt (Voronin 69), Lucas, Insua, Carragher, Skrtel. Substitutes: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Spearing, Degen, Dossena.

Attendance: 43,817

    Data provided by Press Association