confident despite Valencia setback
Gerard Houllier believes Liverpool can
still reach the last 16 of the Champions League, despite losing 1-0 at
home to Valencia.
They will probably need to win in Basle in a fortnight to do it, but
Houllier insisted: "We know we can beat anyone on our day.
"And we remember how much luck Basle had when they drew at Anfield earlier
in the season and we had nearly 30 shots and still couldn't beat them.''
He added: "Our morale hasn't been affected, you have to learn something
from every defeat and we have learned that when you have good chances like
we did against Valencia, you must take them or they will punish you.
"I enjoyed the match, the style and the tempo of the game, but we lacked
the finishing touch. We used our own assets and there are many things I
can take from the game in terms of help for the future."
Valencia have now outfoxed Liverpool twice this season and left their mark
of quality on Houllier's young side when Francisco Rufete's deflected
effort proved enough to seal the win.
The Reds also saw their 11-month unbeaten home record destroyed too, and
Houllier said: "My team will learn from matches like this. We lost to a
very, very good side, professional and clever, it will teach us a lot.
"But I look at my team and see half of them still young, developing and
learning. I can't blame them for anything because they tried right to the
"We had chances and didn't take them, and you can't do that against sides
as good as Valencia.''
Basle will play away to Spartak Moscow next Tuesday and a win there would
leave them one point ahead of Liverpool, with everything depending on the
last game in Switzerland.
Gerrard acknowledges gap in
Steven Gerrard conceded that Liverpool have some way to go to match the
quality of Valencia after the Reds' 1-0 Champions League defeat.
Francisco Rufete's deflected strike in the 33rd minute proved enough for
the Spanish champions to claim their win at Anfield.
Both Liverpool's defeats in competitive action this season have now come
against the Spaniards.
The result means Liverpool will need to take something from their final
match away to Basle to make sure of reaching the second group phase of the
The Swiss side are two points behind but could be one ahead if they win
their rearranged match against Spartak Moscow, which was postponed and put
back to next Tuesday, November 5.
Gerrard told ITV2: "It's going to be a good game [against Basle]. We
always knew we'd have to go there and get a result.
"Valencia have been to the Champions League final twice in the last few
years and have proved in both games that they're a little bit better than
us. That's how far we've got to go."
Gerrard had a good chance to score for Liverpool in the first half but his
low effort was blocked by Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares.
"I should have scored," Gerrard added. "The ball seemed to take five or 10
minutes getting to me and I had to sidefoot it and the keeper saved it."
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier added: "I thought it was a good game. Their
keeper made three or four good saves but we've got to acknowledge the
opposition were a little bit better than us.
"We had some good chances but we couldn't put them in the back of the net.
"I was pleased that the players were trying right to the end. They showed
a lot of character and I'm pleased with way they were resilient and tried
to come back into the game."
Valencia vanquish Liverpool
BBC Sport Online
Valencia once again got the better of Liverpool as the Spanish champions
came away from Anfield with a narrow win to book their place in the
Champions League second stage.
Six weeks ago Valencia gave Liverpool a footballing lesson, in the process
inflicting the only defeat Gerard Houllier's side have suffered this
The rematch proved a more equitable affair but the Spanish champions -
two-time European Cup finalists in the last three years - still had too
much nous for the Premiership leaders.
Francisco Rufete's deflected shot - the ball flew off Sami Hyypia and past
Jerzy Dudek - was the only goal of the game, but Valencia were well worth
The defeat leaves Liverpool requiring either a draw or victory in their
final game against Basle in Switzerland on 12 November to reach the last
Valencia had too much guile in a midfield and a goalkeeper in Santiago
Canizares, who proved unbeatable on the few occasions that Liverpool
manoeuvred their way into the Spanish champions' penalty area.
Just before and after the interval the Spanish international keeper's
reflexes foiled Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen, probably Liverpool's two
It was a measure of how impenetrable Liverpool found Valencia's defensive
and midfield blockades that it took 40 minutes for Houllier's team to get
their first clear sight of goal.
Then Owen's persistence allowed him to flick the ball to Gerrard on the
edge of the box, but the midfielder's shot was well saved by Canizares.
Immediately after the restart Canizares produced another excellent stop to
deny Owen after good work by Gerrard and Emile Heskey.
The Valencia goalkeeper also got his body in the way of substitute Milan
Baros' shot in the game's closing stages.
Yet Jerzy Dudek was just as busy as his Spanish counterpart.
Early on Kily Gonzalez's deflected cross bamboozled the Liverpool
goalkeeper and bounced off the bar, but away from the lurking Rufete.
Just before the half-hour Ruben Baraja was unable to keep his shot down
after Pablo Aimar chested the ball down to him from a Valencia corner as
Dudek raced off his line.
Late in the game Liverpool's Polish goalkeeper produced another athletic
save from Miguel Angulo's shot.
But he could only watch when John Carew touched the ball into the path of
Rufete, whose side-foot shot richocheted off Hyypia and into the corner of