Benitez hails TNS
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was full of praise
for TNS goalkeeper Ged Doherty after his side were
restricted to a 3-0 victory in their Champions League
first qualifier second leg.
The Reds won 6-0 on aggregate after recording the same
scoreline at Anfield last week, Djibril Cisse and a late
Steven Gerrard brace sparing Liverpool's blushes at
Wrexham's Racecourse Ground on Tuesday.
"We tried and at the end it was a better tempo, the
goalkeeper saved a lot and for us to score at the end
was good," Benitez told ITV2.
"Maybe we could have scored some more goals but I am
happy with my strikers, with the work we have done.
"Sometimes you can score, sometimes the goalkeeper makes
good saves but for me the goalkeeper was the best player
in the games."
For long spells the Welsh side performed heroics to
leave Liverpool with faces as red as their shirts.
With Peter Crouch waiting in the wings, Liverpool were
humbled and never able to produce the goal feast Benitez
Gerrard came off the bench to score twice in the dying
minutes to add to his hat-trick from the first leg after
Cisse's opener, but even then it could not take away the
glory from the Welsh champions who played their hearts
out and even hit a post, seeing another effort ruled
marginally offside with Liverpool rocking.
Once again TNS' hero was Doherty, who produced another
string of fine saves to cap his display last week at
Anfield and even saved a Dietmar Hamman penalty.
Doherty admitted the 3-0 scoreline was disappointing
after such a resilient performance.
"I think it was a bit tough, 1-0 or 2-0 would have been
a proper scoreline. They had enough chances but Gerrard
came on and stuck them away for them," He told ITV2.
The penalty stop was the finest of his saves and he
said: "Being a keeper it's never down to a poor penalty,
it is always a great save!
"I just stood up as long as I could and did well to get
stroll past minnows TNS
BBC Sport Online
Steven Gerrard scored twice inside a minute late on
as Liverpool cruised comfortably into the Champions
League second qualifying round.
Djibril Cisse gave Liverpool a first-half lead, and Didi
Hamann had a penalty saved by Ged Doherty.
Gerrard then emerged as a substitute to deliver a double
strike in the last six minutes to rubber-stamp a tie
against FC Kaunas of Lithuania.
TNS' best chance came when Steven Beck saw a powerful
drive strike a post.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez fielded a strong side,
despite a comfortable advantage, although he chose to
leave first-leg hat-trick hero Gerrard on the bench,
along with Fernando Morientes.
And with Southampton's Peter Crouch waiting in the wings
to seal a £7m move to Liverpool, Cisse took the
opportunity to press his claims.
He had already been denied when clean through on
Doherty, but made no mistake when he put Liverpool ahead
after 26 minutes.
Chris King missed John Arne Riise's cross, and Cisse
controlled before flashing home a low finish.
Liverpool dominated possession totally, but TNS were
resilient and managed to restrict the Premiership side
to occasional threats.
Phil Baker needed to smuggle an Anthony Le Tallec effort
off the line after 33 minutes, while Boudewijn Zenden's
cross flew inches wide in first-half stoppage time.
Liverpool should have doubled their lead after 48
minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Jamie
Wood fouled Darren Potter.
But Hamann's penalty was weak and Doherty was able to
save comfortably diving to his left.
Doherty was in action again as Liverpool's domination
increased, blocking a free-kick from Steve Finnan.
TNS' moment of glory almost arrived after 66 minutes
when Beck was desperately unlucky to see a curling drive
hit the post with Pepe Reina helpless.
It was the signal for Liverpool to send on captain
Gerrard for the impressive Xabi Alonso.
TNS keeper Doherty was having an outstanding game, and
he performed heroics again to block a powerful drive
from Liverpool substitute Luis Garcia.
But even Doherty was powerless once Gerrard exerted his
influence, firing a long-range drive into the bottom
corner after 84 minutes, then adding another less than a
minute later with a shot the goalkeeper should have