A Yossi Benayoun hat-trick, two goals apiece for Ryan Babel and Peter Crouch, and a further strike by Steven Gerrard earned Liverpool FC a record UEFA Champions League victory as they swept Beşiktaş JK aside.
One point from their opening three matches had left the 2005 winners looking isolated at the bottom of Group A, but they responded in the best possible fashion. Two goals to the good at half-time, they ran away with the game in the second period as Beşiktaş, with memories of beating Liverpool a fortnight ago still fresh, suffered a night to forget.
If Liverpool and their supporters were tense, there were no obvious signs to begin with. Crouch set up Andriy Voronin for the first opportunity in the fourth minute but the Ukrainian international could not control the England striker's cushioned header and dragged his effort wide. Crouch went close soon after, rising as high as only he seemingly can to meet John Arne Riise's cross, and although he headed a metre wide, his persistence would soon pay off.
On 19 minutes Crouch grabbed the breakthrough when he was unwittingly released by Beşiktaş midfielder Edouard Cissé, and although goalkeeper Hakan Arıkan parried his initial strike, he reacted quickest to the rebound and steered it home. Buoyed by their positive start, last season's runners-up only turned up the pressure on Beşiktaş. İbrahim Üzülmez had to head the ball off the line to deny Riise, though the Norwegian was instrumental in creating Liverpool's second.
The Anfield scoreboard at full-time
Riise's quickly taken throw-in found Voronin in space down the left and he picked out Benayoun with a measured cross. If the Israeli had been unlucky not to score on 13 minutes when his attempt clipped a post, he made sure second time around – he steadied himself before powering a shot past Hakan Arıkan and into the corner to make it 2-0 on 32 minutes.
Eleven minutes into the second half, Benayoun had completed his hat-trick with a pair of tap-ins that owed much to being in the right place at the right time. In the 53rd minute he side-footed into the unguarded net after Hakan Arıkan had blocked Riise's shot into his path, and when the Beşiktaş goalkeeper failed to hold a stinging free-kick by Gerrard, the midfielder tidied up to claim the first UEFA Champions League hat-trick of the season.
Gerrard then blasted in the fifth with the benefit of a deflection in the 69th minute following a neat one-two with Voronin. Benayoun turned provider 12 minutes from time, supplying the cross for Babel to fox Hakan Arıkan with a clever back-heel, and there was more than a touch of good fortune about the Dutchman's second when İbrahim Toraman's attempted clearance bounced off Babel's back and looped into the net.
With the Kop demanding an eighth, Babel almost answered their calls when nodding against the crossbar, but Crouch eventually obliged with a minute to go, his glancing header coming courtesy of another Benayoun centre.