After The Match 


PSV-Liverpool 1-3 (1-1)           9.12.08                               CL
Goals: Babel (45), Riera (69), Ngog (78)        Lazovic (37)
Team: Cavalieri, Dossena, Agger, Carragher, Arbeloa, Riera, Mascherano, Lucas, Babel, Keane, Ngog
Subs: Darby (Arbeloa 70), Spearing (Riera 77), Kelly (Carragher 81)
Not used: Reina, Alonso, Benayoun, Gerrard
Yellow: Riera (37), Arbeloa (42), Dossena (53)
Simons (42), Mendez (68)
Red: None
Referee: Nikolai Golubev (Rus)
Attendance: 35,000
Shots on target: 5-4
Shots off target: 2-10
Blocked shots: 4-1
Fouls conceded: 19-15
Corners: 3-1
Offsides: 3-2
Possession: 50.6-49.4
Yellow: 2-3
a lot more
to come
from me."
Robbie Keane
1212: Cavalieri: I could never
           turn down my big chance

1112: Carragher backing local lads
1012: Keane: I’m here to stay
1012: Benitez the architect of Liverpool's perfect show
1012: Riera: I need to shoot more often
0912: Rafa counts the plus points
0912: Carra salutes Reds after 'great night'
0912: Reira rocket helps Reds to victory

Cavalieri: I could never turn
down my big chance

By Tony Barrett - Liverpool Echo

Diego Cavalieri may still be coming to terms with the language, but there are other elements of English culture he got used to in no time at all.

In a recent interview in Liverpool's matchday programme, the Brazilian goalkeeper admitted to rarely leaving the house without a waterproof coat and an umbrella due to the ever present threat of rain in his new home country.

Not that he is complaining though – that is clearly not in the nature of a laid back character who takes positives where others see negatives and who has become an instant hit with team-mates and staff at Melwood thanks to his naturally sunny disposition.

It's just as well he tends to look on the bright side of life though, particularly as his chances of becoming a regular in Liverpool's first team are being thwarted by a certain Pepe Reina, a keeper rated by many as one of the very best around.

Cavalieri knew this would be the case when he left Palmeiras behind for a new challenge abroad and despite having made just three appearances for the Reds so far he remains adamant that moving to Anfield as back up to the Spaniard was unquestionably the right decision.

"I knew when I came to Liverpool that it would be a really difficult job to compete with Pepe because he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world," said the 26-year-old.

"But for me it was an opportunity to sign for one of the biggest clubs in the world and I believe I will get chances here.

"I know my own capabilities and I know that if I work hard all the time then I will have a better chance of showing what I can do when I do get the opportunity to play."

One such chance arrived on Tuesday night when Rafa Benitez named a reshuffled starting XI for the Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven and Cavalieri was given the nod in goal.

He didn't manage to keep what would have been his first clean sheet since joining the club but he certainly didn't do anything wrong either as he played his part in a commanding victory over the Dutch champions.

"It was a very important win for us because it meant that we finished first in the group," said Cavalieri.

"For me it was a very important moment because it was my first ever game in the Champions League and I really enjoyed it.

"I am very happy because it was a good night for the team and also a good night for me because I was part of it.

"I was happy with the way I played even though I was disappointed to concede a goal and now I just have to continue working hard in training every single day because it is perhaps more difficult for a keeper to come into the team without much match preparation than it is for outfield players."

Part of Cavalieri's preparation is to work on a daily basis alongside the man he is charged with ousting but that hasn't stopped him from forging a strong bond with Reina.

"I have an excellent relationship with Pepe," said Cavalieri. "He has helped me from the moment that I first came to the club.

"I knew about him before I signed because I had seen him play many times on television and it was clear that he was a very good keeper.

"But having worked with him I am now even more impressed because I have been able to see his qualities from closer up.

"So I am very happy to work alongside Pepe and with the other goalkeepers at the club."

Not having quality goalkeeping back up cost Liverpool dear last season with many commentators attributing their failure to progress in the FA Cup to the presence of Charles Itandje. The French keeper is still at Anfield having failed to complete a summer move to Galatasaray, his place as back-up to Reina now well and truly lost to Cavalieri.

That is one battle that the Brazilian has won but he knows shifting Reina from the Reds number one spot is another matter entirely.

"I know that Pepe is the manager's choice and I will always respect the manager's decision," said Cavalieri.

"All I can do is keep working hard all the time, try to get better and make the most of any minutes that I get on the pitch."

For the time being at least, Cavalieri is just happy to be part of a Liverpool squad which seems to be going places.

Top of the league in England and winners of their group in Europe, this is a season of rich promise at Anfield and there is a growing belief in the dressing room that the Reds can go on to build on the impressive start they have made to the campaign.

"I think that is true," said Cavalieri. "The players in the dressing room have a good feeling right now.

"We know that if we work as hard as we can then we will have a chance of achieving our aim at the end of the season which is to win trophies for Liverpool.

"We are doing well in the Premier League and also in the Champions League but there is still a long way to go in both competitions so now we must keep our focus and hopefully this will allow us to achieve our objectives."

He may be missing the sunshine of hisnativehomeland but as far as Diego Cavalieri is concerned the future is looking bright at Anfield.

Carragher backing local lads

By Tony Barrett - Liverpool Echo

Jamie Carragher has spoken of his desire to see locally produced players follow in his footsteps by making it into the first team ranks at Liverpool on a regular basis.

The Reds defender was delighted to see reserve team graduates Stephen Darby, Jay Spearing and Martin Kelly thrust into the action as second half substitutes in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over PSV on Tuesday.

Though Carragher acknowledges it is tougher than ever for young players to make the grade at Anfield, he remains hopeful the trio can continue to stake their claim for places in Rafa Benitez’s squad.

“It is difficult. It’s more difficult now than when I started because Liverpool are a better team now,” he said.

“We are regarded as one of the best teams in Europe and that makes it a lot more difficult for the younger players who are trying to break into the team.

“That’s the challenge facing them so it was good to see them get some time on the pitch against PSV.

“Don’t get me wrong, the game was probably won by the time they came on but they weren’t overawed in any way and they did quite well as well.”

Having been impressed by the way Spearing, Kelly and Darby acquitted themselves in the latter stages of the game in Eindhoven, Carragher is aware of just how much their appearances will have meant to them.

Now he is hoping that they will continue their progress and help give Liverpool some additional local flavour.

“Playing for Liverpool in the Champions League is something they will remember for the rest of their lives,” added Carrager.

“Jay told me he received 37 text messages after the game so that shows just how pleased his family and friends are and it’s the same with all of us, we’re all delighted for them.

“No disrespect to anyone else, but when you are a local lad who has come through you have a bit of an extra feel for the club.

“That’s not a criticism of the foreign players but the club does mean so much to the local lads and you can see that in those young lads every day in training.”

Keane: I’m here to stay

By Tony Barrett - Liverpool Echo

Robbie Keane today insisted he will be going nowhere when the January transfer window opens.

The Irish striker returned to Rafa Benitez’s starting line-up for last night’s 3-1 win at PSV Eindhoven after being left out of the side against Blackburn at the weekend.

Having had a difficult start to his Liverpool career following his £20m dream move from Spurs in the summer, speculation has surfaced that Keane could be sold as early as next month.

But the 28-year-old has no plans to walk away and insists he will keep giving everything for the cause every time he is given the opportunity to pull on a red shirt.

“I’ve only been here a few months but there’s nothing I can do about speculation, that’s all part and parcel of being a footballer,” said Keane.

“If people want to create something that’s not there it’s up to them but there’s no question in my mind, I will be a Liverpool player for a long time.

“People can write what they want and they can say what they want. They can keep writing but I’ll be here past January.

“I’m no different to everyone else. I love playing football and I want to play every game.

“But if I am left out of things then it’s about bouncing back. I’m a strong character and I just get on with it.

“But the most important thing is to work hard and do well when I am in the team and hopefully that’s what I did last night.”

Keane has scored just four times since moving to Anfield but remains confident that the goals will come.

Last night he set up Liverpool’s third goal for David Ngog with a magnificent through ball and the Irishman believes he benefited from playing in a slightly withdrawn role just behind the French forward.

“I’m happy,” he insisted. “I was playing in the position I like to play in, just off the striker.

“I got involved and I got an assist. I love scoring but I also get a buzz out of helping other people score so that was nice.

“I’m not the kind of person who gets down about things. I’m confident in my own ability and I know I’ll score a lot of goals for this club.

“There’s a lot more to come from me. Some players put their head down and cry about it when things aren’t going as well as they’d like.

“But I’m too mentally strong to do that and I know that if I keep on putting in performances like that and being involved in games then it’s only a matter of time before I score a lot of goals.

“I’ve only been here a few months and it takes a bit of time to settle into a new club. That’s not an excuse but I deserve to be judged a little further down the line.”

“I’m not being big headed but you don’t score a lot of goals like I’ve done over the last ten years and suddenly it just goes away so I’m not worried about that.”

Keane was delighted with Liverpool’s display which saw them go through to the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners.

“It was a good performance from the lads,” he said. “I thought we dominated the game.

“I know they got the first goal from a corner but I always thought we were in control, particularly in the second half when we kept the ball really well.”

Benitez the architect
of Liverpool's perfect show

Comment by Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo

There are plenty of positives to take from last night’s victory in Holland.

In the absence of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, we’ve seen goals – and good goals at that – coming from other areas and other players.

Daniel Agger has come back into the side and put in a top performance alongside the ever reliable Jamie Carragher. The pair were probably our best players, but Robbie Keane also showed some good touches, particularly in the second half, which indicates his doubters may well be eating their words soon.

Hopefully, Robbie’s confidence is on the rise now because we all know what a good player he is.

Other players who the fans have been unsure about also put in much improved displays, which can only auger well for the rest of the season.

But the person who deserves the biggest pat on the back today is probably the manager.

Rafael Benitez, along with his staff at Anfield, had clearly done his homework on PSV and it showed.

He’s often been criticised for rotating too much – it’s a concern I’ve shared on occasion – but no-one is mentioning that today, are they?

Rafa had obviously done his scouting on the Dutchmen and made a number of changes which worked well and saw us control the game.

PSV aren’t a good side nowadays and they visibily wilted at half time as Babel put Liverpool level. There was only going to be one winner after that.

I’ve said before the Dutch League isn’t up to standard these days and if PSV have been Holland’s champions over the last few years, it doesn’t say much for their set- up.

But you can only beat what’s in front of you and that’s what we have done, and pretty emphatically.

Riera’s goal was a beauty and Ngog finished off the sort of pass from Keane which I’m sure the Irshman would like more often to be on the end of himself.

So, after all the the stuttering performances recently, we’re top of the Premier League and have also topped our Champions League group with a record points haul.

Of course, it’s only December, and no-one gets any prizes at this time. But it’s not looking too bad... is it?

Riera: I need
to shoot more often

By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website

Albert Riera today vowed to try his luck from long range more often after netting a stunning goal during Liverpool's 3-1 Champions League win in Eindhoven.

Riera scored his second goal for the Reds with a blistering 30 yard drive to complete a brilliant comeback after Ryan Babel had cancelled out Danko Lazovic's first half strike.

David Ngog put the seal on another impressive Liverpool European away-day with a third goal late on, but it was Riera who rightfully stole the headlines with his stunning drive into the top corner.

"It was a very important goal for getting the win and we are in the next round of the Champions League, so we are very happy," said the Spaniard after the game.

"But I'm sure I will wait a lot of matches to score a goal like that one again!

"We were talking in training about about shooting from quite far out - sometimes I try it and it works, and sometimes not.

"But I was in a great position and tried a shot. I have to try shooting like that more often - some players like Stevie or Xabi like to try shots from far out and they have scored some great goals.

"It can be a good idea to shoot like that, especially at Anfield because a lot of teams come to defend and it is difficult to get chances in those matches."

Riera was one of the Reds' stand-out performers during the victory which ensured they qualify for the next round of the competition as group winners.

"I am happy to help the team and it was only last weekend that the boss decided to drop me to the bench. I am continuing with the same mentality to help the team. That is the most important thing," he added.

"We are really confident to keep playing this way. Our confidence is really high."

Rafa counts the plus points

By Joe Curran at the Philips Stadium - LFC Official Website

Rafa Benitez believes there are many positives to take from his side's 3-1 victory over PSV Eindhoven.

Ryan Babel, Albert Riera and David Ngog found the net to make sure the Reds qualified as group winners for the last 16 of the Champions League, and Benitez admitted he was pleased to be assured of playing at Anfield in the second leg of the first knockout stage.

"We are really happy to be playing the second leg of the next round at Anfield," said Benitez.

"It's really important to play at Anfield last in the next round because we know that the players can work that little bit harder when the fans are behind them at home.

"I was disappointed with the goal we conceded in the first half because I felt it wasn't a corner. But we showed character to come back from behind and we were always a threat on the counter attack.

"We played very well and there are a lot of positive things to come out of this result. It's always easy to talk about Arbeloa, Carragher and Agger, but the whole team worked hard.

"Cavalieri played well in goal and Lucas and Ngog deserve a lot of credit too. David's movement was very good - he is a clever young player and worked very hard and Lucas proved he is a very good player as well - he has character and quality.

"Robbie Keane also worked hard alongside Ngog. Every striker wants to score goals, but his movement was especially good and he was always a threat.

"Ryan Babel scored another good goal too - he played very well as a right winger today, so that is yet another positive to take from this match."

Benitez also praised Jay Spearing, Stephen Darby and Martin Kelly, who all came off the bench to put in steady displays on their Champions League debuts.

"And the last positive thing is seeing the three young lads come on to make their debuts," said Benitez.

"It is very good to have young players like Darby, Spearing and Kelly come on from the bench in the Champions League."

Carra salutes Reds
after 'great night'

By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website

Jamie Carragher reflected on Liverpool's 3-1 victory in Eindhoven on Tuesday night and insisted: "It's a great night for the club."

Liverpool secured top spot in Group D as goals from Ryan Babel, Albert Riera and David Ngog saw the Reds overtake Atletico Madrid, with the Spanish side held to a goalless draw in Marseille.

The Reds will discover their last sixteen opponents when the draw for the knock-out stage takes place next week, but they will definitely play the second leg of the tie at Anfield after winning their group.

"We came here to win the group and that's what we've done," said Carragher.

"It was a great night for us. We got the right result, we were able to rest a few players, youngsters like Lucas and David Ngog played well and we saw three of our Academy lads come on which I'm sure will give everyone at the club a boost.

"It wasn't an easy game because they were fighting to stay in Europe and so there was probably more riding on it for them than for us. But we wanted to finish top and I think we deserved the win after our second half performance.

"There wasn't a lot happening in the first half, we scored a goal at the right time to equalise and then in the second half our attacking players were superb to win us the game."

Reira rocket helps
Reds to victory


Liverpool came from behind to beat PSV Eindhoven 3-1 at the Philips Stadion and in the process secure top spot in Champions League Group D.

Rafael Benitez sent out a much-changed side against the Dutch champions and they found themselves behind when Danko Lazovic struck after 36 minutes.

Dutchman Ryan Babel found an equaliser just before the break, though, and from then on there was only ever going to be one winner. Albert Riera belted home a 30-yarder for the second before French youngster David Ngog added a third to ensure the night ended comfortably for the Reds.

Benitez would have been further contented after he was able to blood three local youngsters in European football - Stephen Darby, Jay Spearing and Martin Kelly all getting their first taste of Champions league football.

PSV needed to win to have any chance of qualifying for the UEFA Cup, but they fell away badly after going ahead, while Liverpool will now go into next week's draw for the last 16 as group winners and certain of playing at home in the second-leg of their tie.

Liverpool left out Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Jose Reina with Robbie Keane recalled to play up front alongside Ngog. Babel was included on the wing while Lucas started in midfield.

Diego Cavalieri got a rare run-out in goal, with Jamie Carragher captaining the side.

Despite their much-changed side and the fact qualification for the last 16 had already been achieved for the sixth time in seven seasons, Liverpool began full of energy.

A second minute Andrea Dossena cross was headed just wide by Riera, while Babel almost created a shooting opportunity as he glided in off the right flank.

Babel, because of his former association with Ajax, was jeered by the home faithful.

PSV's first attempt on goal came after 15 minutes when Timmy Simons let fly from 20 yards and Cavalieri opted to punch away when he could have caught the effort.

Then after Nordin Amrabat ran from half way, he was muscled out of a shooting chance by Carragher in the box.

There was little urgency or pace about the game, but it was brought to life after 36 minutes when PSV took the lead.

Liverpool were furious with the goal and Riera was booked for arguing with a linesman who had failed to spot Lazovic a yard offside before he fired the ball home from a couple of yards.

A corner from the right had bounced off Dirk Marcellis straight to Lazovic, with Liverpool defenders certain he was offside before he beat Cavalieri from close range. Television replays showed they were right.

Four minutes later Alvaro Arbeloa and Simons were booked after a confrontation following an Arbeloa foul on Lazovic.

But with just seconds of the half remaining, Babel rose to head home a Lucas free-kick for the equaliser.

Babel, so often a peripheral figure when he gets into Liverpool's starting line-up, was showing far more intensity and when he cut in from the right after 59 minutes, he slammed a low shot into the side netting.

Lucas then got a cross in from the left and Keane, trying to get the ball onto his right foot, saw the chance slip away from him just 10 yards out.

PSV still needed the win to keep their UEFA Cup hopes alive and kept coming forward at pace. It took a fine saving header from Arbeloa to stop Amrabat reaching a far-post cross.

After 67 minutes Edison Mendez was cautioned for following through into Lucas' ankle.

But two minutes later Liverpool were ahead when Riera lashed a 30-yard shot past Andreas Isaksson.

Benitez sent on youngster Darby for Arbeloa before the re-start for his first taste of European action.

Benitez was soon to introduce another of Liverpool's local youngster when Spearing replaced Riera after 75 minutes.

Two minutes later the game was virtually all over when Keane's fine ball sent Ngog racing away from the half-way line to coolly slide home the third.

PSV sent on Reimond Manco for Mendez, while another Liverpool teenager, defender Kelly for his debut in place of Carragher.

Mascherano took over as skipper before PSV made a change of their own with Stefan Nijland replacing Otman Bakkal.

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen ©