Gerrard leads by example

04 November 2010 10:30
Skipper Steven Gerrard came to Liverpool's aid once again as his late second-half hat-trick inspired the side to a 3-1 Europa League victory against Napoli which highlighted the gulf in class within the squad. The Reds were deservedly behind to Ezequiel Lavezzi's goal after a dire first-half performance. The Argentinian struck midway through the half when the visitors capitalised on Christian Poulsen's wayward header to break forward and score. But the England midfielder's introduction at the interval changed the dynamic. Gerrard, as he always has, led from the front and scored three goals in the final 15 minutes to extend Liverpool's lead at the top of Group K. His first came when Andrea Dossena's challenge diverted the ball towards Morgan De Sanctis. Gerrard sensed an opportunity and charged in with his lunge enough to divert the ball past the goalkeeper. Salvatore Aronica's 88th-minute trip on Glen Johnson presented the captain with a penalty to double his tally and he duly obliged. In the directors' box new owner John Henry punched the air but he had barely sat down before Gerrard completed his hat-trick, cleverly dinking the ball over De Sanctis from substitute Lucas Leiva's through-ball.

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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