After The Match 


Sofia-Liverpool 1-3 (1-2)  Wed 10.08.05      (CL qual, 3.r-1.leg)
Goals: Cisse (24), Morientes (30, 58)     V Dimitrov (44)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Warnock, Garcia, Alonso, Gerrard, Riise, Cisse, Morientes
Subs: Hamann (Alonso 62), Sissoko (Gerrard 69),
Barragan (Morientes 79)
Not used: Carson, Whitbread, Baros
Yellow: Garcia (86), Warnock (88)      Hdiouad (61)
Red: None
Referee: Jan Wegreef (Holland)
Shots on target: 4-7
Shots off target: 8-7
Fouls conceded: 11-18
Corners: 3-2
Yellow: 1-2



a good win..."
        Sami Hyypia

1008: Gerrard backs Morientes for more
1008: Rafa hails Fernando show
1008: Sofia so good for Reds


Gerrard backs Morientes for more

ITV Football

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 Bulgaria.

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 qualifier.

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 against Middlesbrough."

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 CSKA Sofia.

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 January.

"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 of him."

Benitez was happy with the overall showing against CSKA as Liverpool moved a step closer to the lucrative group stages.

"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 confidence."

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 wanted list.

"Yes they (the squad) cannot play all the games and we are looking for those two players," added Benitez.

Sofia 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 Alonso.

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 season.

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 collected.

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.

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Thor Zakariassen