Teams: Liverpool v Spurs – Maxi on bench

Once again Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has had a limited squad to pick his side from with the likes of Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun, Daniel Agger and Steven Gerrard all out injured.

Jamie Carragher will be filling in as captain again and also looks likely to fill in at right-back. Kyrgiakos and Skrtel both get another start in the centre of defence with Emiliano Insua retaining his place at left-back.

Lucas and Javier Mascherano both start in midfield meaning Alberto Aquilani will have a more advanced role, probably just behind Dirk Kuyt. Rafa is looking to Philip Degen and Albert Riera to provide some width. Maxi Rodriguez is amongst the subs again, Ryan Babel is back on the bench and for his sake perhaps keeping his phone switched off.

Also on the bench is Robbie Keane, one of the Spurs subs just under a year after he left Anfield following his ill-fated six-month spell at the club, most of which he seemed to spend on the bench. Former Red Peter Crouch is certain to get a good reception too, he starts alongside Defoe.

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 16 Kyrgiakos, 22 Insua, 27 Degen, 20 Mascherano, 21 Lucas, 11 Riera, 4 Aquilani, 18 Kuyt
Subs: 1 Cavalieri, 32 Darby, 17 Maxi, 26 Spearing, 19 Babel, 24 Ngog, 47 Pacheco

Tottenham: 1 Gomes, 3 Bale, 20 Dawson, 22 Corluka, 26 King, 8 Jenas, 12 Palacios, 4 Modric, 21 Kranjcar, 15 Crouch, 18 Defoe
Subs: 27 Alnwick, 2 Hutton, 19 Bassong, 25 Rose, 9 Pavlyuchenko, 10 Keane, 17 Giovani

Referee: Howard Webb

Result: Liverpool 1 Debrecen 0

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Champions LeagueAnfield – Result

Liverpool 1 (Kuyt 45+1) – Debrecen 0

Post-match quotes:

Jamie Carragher: “We didn’t play well, we know that, just the 1-0 tonight, but we wanted to get a win as quick as we could to qualify from the group. It’s not our best performance but we got the result.”

Dirk Kuyt: “It was difficult to create chances. In the first half we should have scored more than one goal to make the game a lot easier. Like Jamie said, it’s not the best performance, but we got the clean sheet and won the game. That’s the most important thing in the first game. It doesn’t matter which position I play if I can be important for the team. I have played there before. Last year I played most of the time on the right, and this year most of the time behind Fernando. Maybe on Saturday it will be a different position, but that is up to the manager.”

Rafael Benitez: “We had three or four good chances and if we take our chances it would be easier. But it’s 1-0, and the most important thing is to get the three points. In the first half we had two or three very good chances and in the second half it’s the same. People didn’t know what to expect because they didn’t know the other team, but they showed they’re not bad.

“We have confidence and we are winning games now which is important for the players. 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. It was a game against a side who were working hard and were well organised. We scored too late in the first-half, so it was more difficult and at the end of the game it was the same.

“We were in control in the first half and they didn’t have too many options. The difference was that we couldn’t score the second goal. But I am really pleased because in the end we won. They have good players and are well organised. We knew it could be difficult. I said before we’d have to see how they played against a top side and they showed they are a good team. We knew we had to score an early goal and change the game. We didn’t and if that happens the other team keeps working hard until the end.

“When you don’t have too much confidence like before, you need to win. But we are winning games in a row now. The problem is that if you play against this type of team at Anfield and don’t score early, they are going to press for every ball from the first minute and because of that it wasn’t easy.”

Debrecen coach Andras Herczeg: “We did our best and our performance gives us confidence for our next match.”

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 2 Johnson, 22 Insua, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 8 Gerrard (booked), 11 Riera (19 Babel 80), 15 Benayoun (20 Mascherano 87), 21 Lucas, 9 Torres, 18 Kuyt (12 Aurelio 90+2)
Subs: 1 Cavalieri, 12 Aurelio, 16 Kyrgiakos, 26 Spearing, 10 Voronin

Debrecen: 1 Poleksic, 10 Bodnar, 16 Komlosi, 21 Fodor (booked), 4 Leandro, 6 Ramos (86 Laczko 67), 17 Meszaros, 30 Kiss, 55 Szakaly (11 Feczesin 79), 77 Czvitkovics, 39 Coulibaly
Subs: 12 Pantic, 2 Szucs, 81 Katona, 22 Bernath, 41 Olah

Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal)

Attendance: 41,591

Stats: (Liverpool – Debrecen)
Possession: 58% – 42%
Shots on target: 9 – 5
Shots off target: 15 – 6
Corners: 10 – 6
Fouls: 9 – 11