Anything The Mancs and Chelsea can do we can do better. Another 1-0 win and, let’s be honest, a flattish performance.
However, Messer’s Ancelotti, Ferguson and now Benitez will pleased to have got through their first game and banked the three points but who be the most relieved? I suspect that honour goes to a certain Frenchman working in North London!
Not one of our greatest European nights but sometimes you need to grit your teeth, be patient and see these games through in order for such treats to occur. I can’t believe we will do much worse than this yet at the same time we deserved the win through keeping up the pressure throughout the game if not in a particularly high or, in terms of taking chances, productive tempo. The Hungarians were probably better than many anticipated and they had their moments but on the whole they were few and far between and didn’t cause us undue stress or bother.
Before the game there was much debate about the side Rafa would name. Would it be weakened? Would Gerrard stay in the holding role? Would Mascherano return? No, yes and no, it was same starting line up as Saturday.
We started well with Riera and Gerrard going close and Torres and Lucas producing half chances. The Hungarians replied via Czvitkovics (how many points is that worth in a game of scrabble) and Bodnar before Kuyt had one cleared off the line. In between Gerrard was stupidly booked by an over zealous referee for taking a free kick too quickly.
The goal came just before half time when, after collecting Benayoun’s pass, Torres produced a good save from Poleksic however, he was unable to hold the shot and Kuyt, for the second game in a row, gathered up the rebound.
In the second half the Hungarian threat was all but nullified however we had difficulty in pressing home our advantage. Gerrard pinged the back stanchion from distance and Benayoun demonstrated how confident he is after Saturday with a mazy run past five defenders before the keeper clumsy scooped his near post shot out for a corner. Later he fired over the bar after good work from Babel and Torres. Coulibaly had half a chance but miscued and that was that.
Said Rafa after the game.
“To start the Champions League group stage with three points was always the most important thing and hopefully we’ll see better things in the next game. We had some chances, we didn’t take them and as a result we put ourselves under pressure at the end”
No doubt many will add this performance to the collection of doubts about us that everyone seems intent on amassing. As Rafa suggested we should have taken our chances and a second goal would have given us the cushion to push on, be more expansive and add to that tally and enable Rafa to make changes and save legs for Saturday. However, no one can be perfect all the time and if you can’t but can still manage to win then surely that is something to be positive about?
Onwards and upwards!
Liverpool: Reina, Insua, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Riera, Gerrard (captain), Leiva, Benayoun, Torres, Kuyt. Subs – Spearing, Babel, Aurelio, Kyrgiakos, Cavalieri, Mascherano, Voronin
Debrecen: Poleksic, Fodor, Komlosi, Meszaros, Bodnar, Szakaly, Kiss (captain), Ramos, Czvitkovics, Coulibaly. Subs – Pantic, Bernath, Katona, Olah, Feczesin, Laczko, Szucs
Champions League Group position – joint 1st