After The Match 


Liverpool-Kaunas 2-0 (0-0)  Tue 02.08.05   (CL qual, 2.r-2.leg)
Goals: Gerrard (77), Cisse (86)
Team: Carson, Finnan, Hyypia, Whitbread, Warnock, Luis Garcia, Hamann, Sissoko, Zenden, Crouch, Morientes
Subs: Cisse (Morientes 45), Potter (Crouch 55),
Gerrard (Hamann 75)
Not used: Reina, Carragher, Riise, Alonso
Yellow: None
Red: None
Referee: Gianluca Paparesta (Italy)

Shots on target: 4-1
Shots off target: 10-2
Fouls conceded: 15-10
Corners: 8-1
Yellow: 0-0



HEADLINES "For me Momo
Sissoko was one
of the best players
on the pitch."
     Rafael Benitez

0308: Skipper is the catalyst again
0208: Rafa praises Stevie and Momo
0208: Gerrard inspires Liverpool


Gerrard and Sissoko - two of the front men at Anfield.

Skipper is the catalyst again

By Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo

Thank heaven for Steven Gerrard. Liverpool's skipper has been the inspiration for many triumphs - who could forget his European goals last season, and particularly the one that sparked the incredible comeback against AC Milan?

His pre-season form in the Champions League qualifiers has already produced quality goals.

"Quality" was not quite the word I would use to describe his goal last night against Kaunus, but his presence on the field, his urgency, his awareness, were all top quality and he lifted his side when they needed it.

From a game that was dying on its feet, Gerrard gave it new meaning when he came on as a late substitute.

It didn't take long before he was threading through a superb ball for Djibril Cisse, whose effort brought a fine save from the keeper. Then his speculative cross-shot squirmed under the keeper to give the fans something to cheer.

They had packed Anfield hoping to see a goals spectacular. It never occurred and, after a first half that was simply a non-event, it looked as if they would go home disappointed despite overall victory.

But Gerrard changed that. He is the catalyst for so much of the team's good work.

He was greeted with a tremendous roar, typifying just how much the fans regard him in terms of importance to Rafa Benitez's side.

As a training exercise the second leg gave the manager the opportunity to play some of his squad players.

Although the Kaunas threat was limited, Zak Whitbread and Stephen Warnock looked solid at the back, made some timely interceptions and generally used the ball well.

Scott Carson had little to do in goal, but he held onto an early free-kick, and was quick to come out of his area when required.

But the big letdown in the first half was the lack of opportunities to give new boy Peter Crouch and Nando Morientes any chance to threaten the visitors' goal.

Gerrard's appearance lifted things, and Cisse looked alert and direct.

Garcia's pass into his path late on for the second goal was a gem and the striker's finish on the volley with his instep was brilliantly executed.

There was no Gerrard for most of the time and Xabi Alonso was rested - these two are critical to the creative side if the Reds are to find the cutting edge that was lacking for so long last season.

Mohamed Sissoko gave a promising display in midfield, breaking up the play and using the ball well, and he could prove a popular figure in the months to come.

The Reds may still be in training mode at present, but the tempo will have to be raised for next week's Champions League qualifier, yet questions remain over who will fill various positions when the league action begins.

I just hope Benitez has all the answers.

Rafa praises Stevie and Momo

By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez singled out goalscoring hero Steven Gerrard and Momo Sissoko for special praise following Liverpool's 2-0 victory over FBK Kaunas in the Champions League second round qualifier.

For Sissoko it was his Anfield debut and his first 90 minutes for Liverpool and he gave an energetic and enthusiastic display. Gerrard came on to score the opening goal and inspire Liverpool to a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Benitez said: "It was a difficult game to start with as they worked hard and closed down the space but we were much better in the second half and are through to the next round.

"Steven Gerrard is scoring a lot of goals for us and I wanted to put him on for the supporters to see him. I hope he continues to score a lot more for us.

"For me Momo Sissoko was one of the best players on the pitch. He worked hard, he won tackles, kept it simple and I am happy with him."

Regarding the hamstring injury to Peter Crouch, Benitez would only say: "I don't have any news at this moment and I will have to talk with the doctor to see what the problem is."

Gerrard inspires Liverpool

Sporting Life

Liverpool cruised to a 2-0 win over Kaunas at Anfield - but again left it late with Steven Gerrard and Djibril Cisse scoring from the bench.

Rafael Benitez's troops were always in charge of the Champions League second qualifying round showdown after earning a 3-1 lead from the first leg.

And they strolled through the first half at a canter, with Bolo Zenden looking lively with some flashing strikes and Peter Crouch combining well with Fernando Morientes, whose close-range header drew a fine save from keeper Sarunas Kilijonas on 14 minutes.

Cisse's arrival after the break added some urgency to the Reds' play, and his strike was turned away for a corner from which Gerrard whipped home a low shot which squirmed under the keeper's body to break the deadlock on 78 minutes.

The French striker then put the icing on the cake of a solid display when he coolly volleyed home a clever dink from Luis Garcia on 85 minutes.

Steven Gerrard revealed he was happy to get the chance to score his seventh goal of Liverpool's Champions League qualifying campaign.

The England midfielder had only been on the pitch for two minutes after arriving as a 75th-minute substitute with Liverpool toiling against the plucky Lithuanians.

But after netting he said: "I didn't want the night off. The manager told me I would start on the bench and if needed he would give me some minutes.

"But I wanted to get on - I don't like watching football."

After netting for the fourth-successive match, Gerrard continued: "I'm getting a bit of luck.

"I was very lucky tonight but I'm going to claim the goal tonight - and long may it continue.

"We are using these Champions League qualifying games as pre-season games but they are quicker than friendlies, so we are getting fitter quicker."

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Thor Zakariassen