Zola: Anfield stalemate my best yet

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West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola claimed Monday night's goalless draw at Liverpool was the most impressive performance of his short spell as manager.

The Hammers chief, in charge for a dozen matches, has watched his team earn three successive clean sheets in an unbeaten run that has dragged the side away from the bottom three, and Zola hailed striker Craig Bellamy as "awesome" on the Welshman's first return to Anfield since his £7.5m move to east London 17 months ago.

Zola said: "I am very pleased with my side, that was the best term performance since I became manager. And as for Craig, he was awesome. Maybe he felt he had something to prove after leaving Liverpool, and he covered every blade of grass."

He added: "I like what he does, not only as a striker but the hard work he puts in helping the midfield."

For Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, it was a case of more frustration and more home points dropped, even if they did take over at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Co-owner George Gillett made a surprise visit to Anfield last night to see Benitez's side move to the summit in place of Chelsea.

Gillett was in Liverpool, it is believed, for discussions with Benitez over the Spaniard's proposed new contract. But both men were clearly disappointed with the draw against West Ham, which means Liverpool have only a one point lead over Chelsea at the top.

Benitez insisted that he is still waiting for "more communication" with the owners, while making it clear that he is not trying to re-sign Michael Owen, despite speculation.

Benitez said: "George Gillett is here, but there is no news yet on the contract.

"We are waiting for further communication, we do not have that yet. We will finish our conversations soon and start thinking about football."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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Michael Owen
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Gianfranco Zola
West Ham United

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