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Liverpool romp to record triumph

Liverpool last night dramatically salvaged a faltering Champions League campaign by crushing Besiktas 8-0 to record the biggest victory in the 15-year history of the competition. The seven-goal record Arsenal equalled against Slavia Prague lasted precisely a fortnight.

For a side that had thus far picked up a solitary point in their opening three games in Group A, this was a stunning revival built on a hat-trick by Yossi Benayoun and two goals apiece from the restored Peter Crouch and substitute Ryan Babel. Steven Gerrard may have had to content himself with just the one but it was the most exquisitely worked of the night.

 Liverpool romp to record triumph
Red storm: Peter Crouch scored the opening goal for Liverpool

The Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, acknowledged that Besiktas, who might have conceded many more than eight, provided far less of a test than their two remaining fixtures - at home to group leaders Porto and away to Marseille.

"Porto need to come to Anfield and, for sure, they will be worried," said Benitez, whose side still need two further victories to guarantee qualification for the knockout phases. "We need to recognise that Porto are experienced in Europe and they are used to pressure, but we have confidence now."

However emphatic the victory, it is not one that dramatically improves Liverpool's position and may even slightly worsen it since Marseille will face a Besiktas side whose confidence will have been shattered by last night's experiences.

Should Marseille, who lost 2-1 in Portugal last night, beat Besiktas and Liverpool overcome Porto, Benitez will take his side to Provence next month in third place and needing a win to qualify. Last night's result will, however, give them an edge if it comes to goal difference.

Benitez argued that this was a thrashing that had been building for some time. "We have shown recently that we've been playing better but we simply couldn't score," Benitez said.

Champions League all-time biggest wins
8-0 Liverpool v Besiktas (6.11.07)
7-0 Arsenal v Slavia Prague (23.10.07)
7-0 Juventus v Olympiakos (10.12.03)
7-1 Man United v Roma (10.4.07)
6-0 Marseille v CSKA Moscow (17.3.93)
6-0 Leeds Utd v Besiktas (26.9.00)
6-0 Real Madrid v Genk (25.9.02)

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