The Reds have always had it in them to hammer a side but doing it has been a very different matter. A side pushing hard to cause a slip up above them in the league can do no more than scare them. Trouncing a side 6-0 away from home does just that and as Chelsea faltered again the Reds are ready to pounce on fourth place. Six goals is actually fewer than the Reds could have had on the day had it not been for good goalkeeping from Russell Hoult.
The Reds knew this game could go either way beforehand. Albion could relax knowing they were relegated and could surprise a few people or they could get hammered. Thankfully they got the latter. West Brom actually started the game quite brightly with Dichio causing early problems for the Reds although it lasted only a short time as the Reds geared up for the game.
The Reds served notice of their intentions after just six minutes when Murphy forced Hoult in to a diving save from a long range effort. The opening goal came after just fifteen minutes. Owen was played in by Riise but rather than take the ball straight off he turned and ran at the area which wrong footed the defender. Once in the area he simply shot hard and low past Hoult for his 99th premiership goal.
The Reds were nearly two up just four minutes later but Murphy saw his free kick cleared off the line and then Hamann fired the rebound just wide of the goal. It was becoming one way traffic. Baros appealed for a penalty after being tugged back by Wallwork but got nothing after twenty minutes. Two minutes later and he was just tackled before shooting on goal. Baros was clean through two minutes later but after delaying his shot for too long was tackled by Clement.
Hoult was called into action on the half hour again when he denied Owen this time. A couple of minutes later and Wallwork went close for the home side but his shot was always rising as it flew just over the bar. McInness then went on a good run for Albion but a great tackle by Riise preventing him from getting to close on goal. Although Albion had a couple of chances the game was being controlled by the Reds but they really needed to start scoring more goal to close the game off. Those goals duly arrived but it was the second half before they did.
The second half started in a whirlwind as the Reds scored two goals inside the first four minutes of the half. First Milan Baros scored two minutes into the half. A little bit of a scrappy goal but they all count and it really set the Reds up. Two minutes later and it was goal 100 for Owen. The goal really should have been Baros's one after he saw his initial shot saved from Hoult but as both Red strikers reacted Owen got here first and buried it from a yard out.
It was now cruise control for the Reds and quite frankly they could have had as many as they could have gone for after this. The Reds' fourth goal came on the hour and it was Owen's hat-trick this time but it owed more to Baros. Baros went on a typical run of his. He charged at the Albion defence, twisted and turned his way clear and as he got in the area he squared the ball to Owen who slotted it home.
The Reds bagged a fifth and it was Owen again, bagging his fourth for the second time in a Reds shirt. This was a more typical Owen goal. Racing clear from a Murphy through ball Owen calmly slotted the ball past Hoult in the Albion goal. Emile Heskey came on for El Hadji Diouf on sixty seven minutes as the Reds didn't look to ease up in the goal stakes. Baros was clean through on seventy two minutes but failed to score and then a minute later Owen was clear and played a great ball to Gerrard who spurned the chance as well.
Salif Diao replaced Riise with just over ten minutes to go which gave the Reds a change at the back with Carragher going to left back as Diao slotted in at right back. Jason Koumas went close to a consolation goal ten minutes from time but his shot was tipped over by Dudek who did well to stay awake in the one way traffic. Owen just slotted wide from the following play at the other end. Bruno Cheyrou replaced Danny Murphy for the last seven minutes of the game and within a minute the Reds were six up. Milan Baros was played in over the top and finally he made no mistake when through on the keeper.
West Brom did score in the final minutes but the referee or his assistant didn't see it. The ball went past Dudek and Hyypia cleared from just behind the line and the game went on. The referee blew for time shortly afterwards.
Overall the Reds finally saw off a team in a one sided affair. This is the kind of performance they should put in but it still had to be done. Michael Owen and Milan Baros both played exceptionally well up front. They didn't always combine hugely as a pairing but when you bag six between you who can argue. All the pressure is on the two sides above the Reds now for the Champions League spots. Michael Owen is now guaranteed a place in the Reds' history books as he scored his 100th league goal.
MotM : Michael Owen - on an excellent team day Owen stood apart for his master goals. He worked incredibly hard as well. Milan Baros also played incredibly well and deserved his two goals.