Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Sunday September 2 2007
The Rams were totally outclassed by Liverpool as Rafa Benitez`s side ran out 6-0 winners and moved to the top of the Premier League table. Again defence mistakes came back to haunt the Rams, and they will have to learn very quickly you can`t do that in the Premier League as you will get punished every week.
The Rams opened brightly keeping possession and playing some good football without really threatening the Liverpool goal. The 4-5-1 formation was working well with Steve Howard the sole striker completely out of the game, but the home side began to up the tempo and the cracks began to show in the Rams back line.
First Stephen Bywater had to be alert to save Agger's 25-yard shot deflected off Derby midfielder Bob Malcolm and moments he reacted well to save a Torres header. But their pressure was rewarded on 27 minutes, Agger`s 40-yard curling free kick into the box was aimed to Durt Kuyt`s but it beat everyone and sneaked under the outstretched arm of Bywater.
It was a bitter blow for Billy Davies` side who had battled hard but the home side were now dominating and the Rams were hanging on with Claude Davis working overtime at the back.
Just as it looked the Rams would go into half time 1-0 down, they conceded a late goal, again poor defending was the Rams problem. Malcolm lost possession in midfield and Alvaro Arbeloa`s pull back found Ryan Babel on the edge of the box. Both Davis and Andy Griffin dived in unnecessarily and the Dutchman`s first touch gave him time and space and he fired past a stranded Bywater, with his first goal since his £11.5m summer move from Ajax.
The Rams were totally on the back foot and the Reds, who were without England trio Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Peter Crouch continued where they left off in the first half. Alonso should have made it 3-0 early, when Torres and Kuyt combined well to send him clear with only Bywater to beat, but he fired wide.
But the inevitable third goal duly arrived on 56 minutes, again Malcolm was caught in possession by Javier Mascherano who fed Torres and the Spanish striker outpaced Griffin and Davis before slotting coolly home.
It was one why traffic and the Rams were chasing shadows as Liverpool's pace and movement was excellent and they added to their lead on 69 minutes, Yossi Benayoun had the first chance but Jay McEverly crunching tackle cleared the initial danger, but the rebound fell to Alonso on the edge of the box and he fired low into the bottom corner.
Steve Howard should have pulled a goal back moments later when Tyrone Mears cross from the right found the big man unmarked in the six-yard box, but he headed wide. The Reds looked unstoppable and it was 5-0 on 76 minutes, Torres was the architect this time, he found Kuyt down the left and his shot was only parried by Bywater and Voronin was on hand to fire home the rebound.
It was six moments later, and it was another defensive error, Andy Todd, who had looked uncomfortable all afternoon, underhit a back pass to Bywater and Torres pounced rounding the Rams keeper and firing home, but to the delight of the kop.
The Rams pressed late Stephen Pearson`s long-range shot was saved by Jose Reina at the second attempt and the Rams miserable day was summed up late on when Craig Fagan was clear in on goal but failed to make contact with the ball with only Reina to beat.
The week`s international break will give Rams boss Davies time to settle the side down ahead of the Newcastle United game at Pride Park. But he has to ask questions again of the defence, you can`t make defensive mistakes the magnitude the Rams have made so far this season and be competitive, they will have to sort this out sooner rather than later.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Agger, Arbeloa, Pennant (Benayoun 61), Mascherano (Sissoko 77), Alonso, Babel (Voronin 73), Torres, Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Riise.
Derby: Bywater, Griffin (Moore 80), Malcolm (Teale 59), Davis, Camara (McEveley 63), Todd, Fagan, Oakley, Mears, Pearson, Howard.
Subs Not Used: Price, Earnshaw.
Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).
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Date:Sunday September 2 2007
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