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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 December, 2004, 19:55 GMT
West Brom 0-5 Liverpool
John Arne Riise celebrates scoring Liverpool's opener with goal provider Steven Gerrard
Liverpool eased to victory over a despondent 10-man West Brom.

John Arne Riise struck the opener when he drove in an angled shot after Steven Gerrard's lofted ball.

The Baggies were down to 10 men after Cosmin Contra handled a goalbound Antonio Nunez header but Milan Baros saw the resultant penalty saved.

Florent Sinama Pongolle volleyed home, Gerrard powered in a free-kick, Riise rocketed in a fourth and Luis Garcia tapped in to complete Liverpool's win.

Gerrard was typically at the heart of Liverpool's play from the opening whistle and he quickly threatened with two well-struck long range shots.

West Brom were gifted an chance when central defender Jamie Carragher's stooping header fell to striker Geoff Horsfield and he had a clear run on goal.

But Horsfield's lack of pace allowed Sami Hyypia to get back and tackle before the visitors immediately went up the other end with Milan Baros going close.

The Baggies clearly lacked confidence and were playing with an inhibited air at a subdued Hawthorns.

West Brom defender Darren Purse (left) races for possession against Liverpool striker Milan Baros
Baros (right) missed a penalty for Liverpool

And the atmosphere was exacerbated when Liverpool took the lead after Riise met Gerrard's lofted ball with a first-time shot across goal and inside the far post of keeper Hoult's goal.

Liverpool should have doubled their lead shortly before the interval when Contra was sent off for handling a goalbound Antonio Nunez header and referee Rob Styles pointed to the spot.

But Hoult saved a tame penalty from Baros and in the ensuing scramble Pongolle slipped as he attempted to score from the rebound while Baros had a shot cleared off the line by Darren Purse.

Riise then helped set up Liverpool's second after the break when he gathered Pongolle's long ball before crossing for the striker to volley home from eight yards.

The signs were looking ominous for the Baggies and their predicament only worsened when Gerrard powered in a 25-yard free-kick low into Hoult's net.

The game was won for Liverpool barring a remarkable comeback and boss Rafael Benitez took the opportunity of taking Gerrard and Baros off to preserve them for a busy festive programme.

Riise thundered in a fourth for the Merseysiders and Garcia tapped in late on with the home fans streaming out of the ground as Liverpool totally dominanted on the way to recording only a second away win this season.


West Brom: Hoult, Scimeca, Gaardsoe, Purse, Clement, Koumas, Johnson (Gera 45), Greening, Contra, Horsfield, Earnshaw (Hulse 72). Subs Not Used: Robinson, Dyer, Kuszczak.

Sent Off: Contra (39).

Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan (Warnock 70), Carragher, Hyypia, Traore, Nunez, Gerrard (Alonso 62), Hamann, Riise, Sinama Pongolle, Baros (Luis Garcia 66). Subs Not Used: Diao, Harrison.

Goals: Riise 17, Sinama Pongolle 51, Gerrard 55, Riise 82, Luis Garcia 89.

Att: 27,533

Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: West Brom boss Bryan Robson


Interview: Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez




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