Reaction: PSV 0 Liverpool 3

Liverpool’s delight at taking a huge step towards the Champions League semi-final was tempered by the news that Brazilian Fabio Aurelio is set to be out for the rest of the season.

Liverpool went into last night’s tie with PSV hoping for a win and an away goal to help them in the second leg. They got three away goals, without reply, and now would have to throw it away not to progress. But Liverpool and their fans know full-well that 3-0 halfway through a tie doesn’t mean game over at all.

Aurelio, signed in the summer, has struggled for much of the season with injury, but finally looked set to be making a claim for a regular starting place. His performance on Saturday against Arsenal was outstanding and he was one of many players performing almost perfectly last night for Liverpool. Then he got the sensation of being struck in the back of the leg when he had nobody near him – a sure sign of an Achilles tendon injury, an injury that takes a long time to get over for a footballer.

Rafa Benítez confirmed the early diagnosis: “It's an achilles tendon injury. Normally this injury is really serious,” said the boss. He went on: “Fabio has started to play really well; this is a very bad blow for him and us. There was nobody anywhere near him, he felt as if he had been hit by a stone. The pain was from behind and it struck him like he had been hit, it is a real tragedy for us.”

PSV boss Ronald Koeman engineered Liverpool’s exit from the competition
last season when he was in charge of Benfica, and had said beforehand
that he’d be happy with a 0-0 draw at home. And that’s how PSV played.
Liverpool were the positive side, with PSV making only rare
counter-attacks. Koeman threw the towel in afterwards, or at least
attempted to claim he had. They can’t pull back the 3-0 deficit he
says: “It doesn't give us any possibility to go into the next round. I
think it's not realistic to think we can win. If I tried to find a
reason to believe that, I would be from another planet.”

Koeman said that the same tactics had got them through to the quarter
finals, but blamed missing players on it going wrong this time: “We
played with the same tactics against Arsenal to beat them in the last
round. But we have injuries now, we are missing a few important
players, and you could see that we did not have the quality to match

The game plan – to get a 0-0 draw – went out of the window as soon as
Gerrard put the Reds in front: “We played well until they scored their
first. Then we started to give Steve Finnan too much freedom and we
started to make mistakes. From then on it was clear that Liverpool were
too strong for us. It is not realistic to think that we can win the tie

Despite what Koeman says, he’ll be doing all he can to try and make the
second leg more than a formality for Liverpool, and Liverpool know
that. Captain Gerrard, now the club’s all-time top scorer in the
competition, said: “We are just concentrating on finishing them off. We
want to be professional in our jobs and worry about the next 90
minutes.” Liverpool would face either Valencia – Rafa’s former club, or
Chelsea if they progressed to the semis, but Gerrard won’t be drawn
into making any plans for that for now: “We can't think about that just
yet. There's still work to be done in this tie and we have to make sure
we're professional at Anfield next week and finish the job off. If we
do that then we can think about playing Chelsea or Valencia, but not

Gerrard was pleased with how he and his team-mates performed: “It was a
good performance from us tonight. We were solid and hard to break down.
Once we got the first goal we knew what we wanted to do and we did it

He was asked how he felt on overtaking Ian Rush’s European Cup record:
“I am a bit embarrassed. He's someone I watched as a kid and I never
dreamt I would break one of his records. I don't think I will be
breaking any of his other ones. I am flattered but it's not really
important to me. What's important is how well the team is doing. It was
a really good performance and hopefully we can go all the way.”

Another record broken last night was Phil Neal’s European Cup
appearance record. Jamie Carragher overtook this with his 58th
appearance in the competition.

Rafa Benítez is also reminding his players and the fans that 3-0 does
not mean the job is already done: “We must remember Istanbul, we came
back from 3-0 down. We played well; it was an organised, effective
performance. But we are all more concerned about Fabio. There must be
no room for complacency now. We must take the second-leg seriously and
play a proper match.”

He says they can’t even think about getting to the semis yet: “If we
can keep them quiet for the first 45 minutes, then maybe we can start
thinking of reaching the semi-finals. For me this is a different
feeling from the season we won the trophy. This team is better than
that one was, but this is another year, another competition, although
we are getting closer.”

Of the two broken records he said: “We broke some records and that's
very positive. We want to see Stevie scoring goals, Carra playing a lot
of games and the team winning.”

Peter Crouch followed his perfect hat-trick against Arsenal on Saturday
with another headed goal last night, and confirmed that the Reds were
looking for a 1-0 win: “We came here not to concede and to get an away
goal, to get three is even better. To win 3-0 away anywhere in Europe
is a great result and we're all delighted.” He was asked if squad
rotation, much criticised earlier in the season, was now paying off
with the players all looking in top condition: “I don't know if it's
about rotation but perhaps we are peaking at the right time.”