Morientes for more
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard believes more is to
come from Fernando Morientes after the Spain striker
scored twice in the 3-1 win against CSKA Sofia in
Morientes' goals gave Rafael Benitez's side a great
chance of reaching the Champions League group stages
after taking the advantage in the first leg of their
Gerrard told Sky Sports: "He's got ability, there's no
doubt, his all-round game was a lot better and there's a
lot more to come from him, definitely."
Djibril Cisse scored the other goal for the visitors,
while Velizar Dimitrov reduced arrears.
The Reds skipper set up all three goals, but added:
"That's my job - to set up goals and score, but the team
performance was the main thing.
"We're happy with the score, we would been a lot more
happy with a clean sheet."
The midfield star almost suffered an injury celebrating
Morientes' second strike and he added: "When we were
celebrating he nearly pulled my back out of place, but
everything is fine. We feel sharp and ready for Saturday
Centre-back Sami Hyypia added: "It was a good win but we
can't be 100% happy about conceding a goal. But in the
second half they only had a few chances.
"They are a good team and we knew it would not be easy,
if you give them space and time they can hurt you."
Rafa hails Fernando show
By Peter ORourke - Sky Sports
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was delighted to see
Fernando Morientes among the goals in the 3-1 win over
Morientes moved some way to silencing his critics with
two goals in Sofia with Djibril Cisse netting the other
for the Champions League holders.
Benitez believes Morientes will show his true worth this
season after a disappointing start to his Liverpool
career last term after arriving from Real Madrid in
"We're waiting to see him score goals in the
Premiership, but he had a very good game," said Benitez.
"We need to give him more crosses and we'll see the best
Benitez was happy with the overall showing against CSKA
as Liverpool moved a step closer to the lucrative group
"The players concentrated and in the end it was a good
result," added Benitez.
"They (CSKA) ran a lot and played good football. We have
also did a good job, it's important to score goals. We
did a good job in defence and in attack.
"It was a good test for us as each time the teams are
getting better and we are managing games and getting
results which is good for confidence.
"It is important to score goals and for a striker to
score goals it is good, and it is good for their
Benitez admitted he is still looking for two new
signings before the close of the transfer window with a
new defender and right-sided midfielder top of his
"Yes they (the squad) cannot play all the games and we
are looking for those two players," added Benitez.
so good for Reds
By Peter ORourke - Planet Football/Sky Sports
Liverpool virtually booked a place in the UEFA
Champions League with an impressive 3-1 win over CSKA
Sofia in Bulgaria on Wednesday night.
Goals from Fernando Morientes (2) and Djibril Cisse were
enough to give Liverpool a comfortable victory although
they were made to sweat after CSKA netted a goal right
on the stroke of half time.
Liverpool began brightly with Cisse testing CSKA
goalkeeper Eugen Hmaruc in the opening two minutes and
then dragging a long-range shot wide five minutes later
after he was set-up by Morientes.
CSKA created their first chance on nine minutes when
Velizar Dimitrov played Guillaume Zadi in on goal, but
Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina drove him wide and he
could not get his shot on target.
The home side were trying to impose themselves on
Liverpool and Mourad Hidiouad fired a speculative shot
from almost 35 yards well over the top on 15 minutes
while two minutes later Velizar Dimitrov saw an
ambitious volley fail to trouble Reina.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard tried to rouse his
team-mates when he made space for a shot on 22 minutes,
but he drove his shot well over the top.
Two minutes later Gerrard fizzed another shot from the
edge of the area just wide after being teed up by Xabi
Liverpool broke the deadlock on 25 minutes when
Gerrard's superb disguised pass sent Cisse clear on the
left and the Frenchman's drilled shot from an acute
angle somehow slipped under the body of Hmaruc.
The Champions League holders doubled their lead on 31
minutes when Morientes rose highest to head home
Gerrard's inviting free kick for his first goal of the
Ibrahima Gueye had a chance to reduce the deficit five
minutes before the break when the ball broke to him
inside the box from a corner, but under pressure from
John Arne Riise he fizzed his volley wide of the target.
Liverpool came close to grabbing a third goal on 44
minutes when Gerrard picked out Morientes again with a
brilliant cross and the Spaniard was unlucky to see his
glanced header drop just wide of the far post.
CSKA gave themselves a lifeline right on the stroke of
half time when Dimitrov ghosted into the box unmarked to
head home Hidiouad's cross from six yards out.
Zadi had the first chance of the second half for CSKA on
53 minutes, but Reina collected his rising shot from the
edge of the box comfortably.
The dangerous Cisse led a Liverpool break on 54 minutes
and after racing to the edge of the box he fired in a
shot which Hmaruc held down to his right.
Seconds later Liverpool missed a golden opportunity to
grab a third goal when Alonso cleverly played Morientes
through on goal and, with only the goalkeeper to beat,
he saw his curling shot clip off the post.
Liverpool did notch a third goal on 58 minutes when
Cisse picked out Gerrard inside the box and the Reds
skipper cut the ball back for Morientes who swivelled
and drove a shot through the legs of Hmaruc to put
Liverpool in control of the tie.
Morientes was denied his hat trick on 63 minutes when he
rose to power Steve Finnan's cross goalwards only for
Hmaruc to pull off a splendid diving save.
Two minutes later Cisse wasted a great opening when
Garcia headed the ball down into his path inside the
box, but the Frenchman wildly slashed his volley well
over the top.
Liverpool substitute Mohamed Sissoko called Hmaruc into
action on 75 minutes with a shot which the keeper easily
Reina denied CSKA a second goal in the dying seconds
when he did brilliantly to keep put Eygeni Iordanov's
volley from 12 yards out.