Poulsen pleased with debut
By Al Campbell - LFC Online
Christian Poulsen was pleased to make his
Liverpool debut last night.
Poulsen made his first Reds appearance last night and
admitted it was a special moment when he heard the fans
signing 'You'll Never Walk Alone.'
"It was something really special being out on the pitch
hearing the Kop singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone," said our
new number 28.
"I was sat in the stand for the Arsenal game and it was
great to see it, but to be out there on the pitch with them
tonight was fantastic.
"It was nice to play 90 minutes and it felt good to be out
there and I am looking forward to playing many more games
for this club.
"We probably should have won by more than one goal but we
kept a clean sheet which is always important in Europe.
"We missed a penalty and we had some good chances but didn't
take them. I thought we were much better in the second half
and we had a bit more control of the game.
"We know we have a job to do next week. It will be a tough
match over in Turkey but we'll be ready for it."
Roy rues missed opportunities
Roy Hodgson hopes Liverpool will not pay
the price for failing to kill Trabzonspor off on Thursday.
The Reds hold a slender 1-0 lead following the first leg of
their Europa League play-off, but know their advantage
should be far more commanding.
They were far from their formidable best against Turkish
opposition in midweek, but carved open enough clear-cut
opportunities to have put the tie to bed.
Among the better of those chances was a missed penalty by
summer signing Joe Cole and a disallowed effort by another
new boy, Christian Poulsen.
As it happens, a solitary effort from Ryan Babel was all
they could muster at Anfield and they now head into the
return meeting next week knowing they have little margin for
"I think we probably did (deserve another goal)," said
"We missed a penalty and if you do that you can't blame
anyone but yourself. We were unlucky with the disallowed
goal - TV replays show no real contact between Joe Cole and
their goalkeeper. I think we can count ourselves unlucky.
"With our second-half performance we could have got a second
goal and made the trip to Turkey more comfortable, but we
didn't and now it won't be comfortable at all."
He added: "We needed to play with more intensity. In the
first half our performance was not as good as it needed to
be. I thought we were quite lucky to be 1-0 up at half-time
because we didn't cause their defence enough problems to go
"We played with more intensity in attack and defence in the
second half - we caused them more problems after the break
and that was the half we deserved to score in."
Hodgson made seven changes to the side that drew 1-1 with
Arsenal on Sunday for continental competition, with captain
Steven Gerrard and Dutch winger Dirk Kuyt among those to be
"It was important to rest them because they all played for
international teams last Wednesday," said Hodgson.
"They then played Arsenal on Sunday in a very intense game
which we finished with effectively nine men. We then had a
tough game tonight and there's another one again on Monday,
so it was important to rotate the players.
"Fortunately the ones I chose did a good job and helped us
to win the game. Whether the margin of victory is enough,
only time will tell, but we can at least go there with a
lead and having not conceded a goal."
One of those drafted into the side was goalscorer Babel, and
Hodgson has sought to play down fears that he picked up a
knock after opting to withdraw the Holland international at
"No, Babel isn't injured," said Hodgson.
"He hasn't played much football. He was with Holland at the
World Cup but didn't play. He then came back to training
late with Torres, Kuyt and Reina and that was only two weeks
"The only football he has played was behind closed doors in
a friendly with Tranmere reserves. So, we thought 45 minutes
was probably enough for him and it gave us a chance to play
Fernando Torres for 45 minutes too. Hopefully it will set
him in good stead."
Cole reflects on penalty woe
Joe Cole has held his hands up and
admitted that his penalty against Trabzonspor was not the
The Liverpool midfielder was awarded a golden opportunity to
open his account for the club in Thursday's Europa League
play-off, first leg.
With Lucas Leiva having been sent crashing in the area, Cole
was first to grab the ball and take full responsibility from
However, his nightmare start to life at Anfield - following
Sunday's red card against Arsenal - continued as he saw his
effort beaten away.
Cole was in repentant mood afterwards, having seen the Reds
hold on for a 1-0 win, but insists he will not be dwelling
on the disappointing miss.
"I hold my hands up, it was a bad penalty," said the England
"We can't dwell on it though. It was a bad pen but we won
1-0 and we have to take the positives from the game.
"It wasn't a vintage performance by any stretch but we won
and we are happy with that. We are far from through though
because it will be tough over there, make no mistake about
it. Going away to Turkey is always tough so we have to be on
our game next week."
Despite missing from the spot, Cole can be proud of his
performance against Trabzonspor.
Asked to fill a floating role behind lone frontman Ryan
Babel, he saw plenty of the ball and appears to be
rekindling the spark he lost while marooned on the bench at
He helped play in Babel for the only goal of the game and
believes there is much more to come from him once he
acclimatises to his new surroundings.
"I'm finding my feet in my role and it's my job to create
goals. It was nice to do that tonight for Ryan," he added.
"I'm just trying to do my best in every game and I'm really
enjoying my football here. We've made a decent start to the
season which is good."
edges Reds ahead
By Chris Burton - Sky Sports
Ryan Babel struck on the stroke of
half-time to hand Liverpool a 1-0 lead in their Europa
League play-off with Trabzonspor.
Things could have been even better for the Reds had Joe Cole
converted a second-half penalty, but he saw his effort
palmed away to safety.
Roy Hodgson, who took Fulham all the way to the final last
season, chose to rest Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt from
midweek action, meaning Babel was handed a lone frontman
role and Cole, who was dismissed on his debut against
Arsenal on Sunday, was given freedom to float.
The Reds took their time to settle, though, and struggled to
get to grips with a surface slickened by persistent drizzle.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos did force Onur Kivrak into a smart save
with just five minutes on the clock, but the hosts lacked
fluidity and surrendered possession far too easily.
They were almost made to pay for their lethargy on 11
minutes when Burak Yilmaz flashed a header across the face
of goal after Martin Kelly had looped the ball over his own
Trabzonspor were certainly not being overawed by the
occasion and Umut Bulut tested Jose Reina with a deflected
shot from the edge of the box.
Fabio Aurelio wasted a 25-yard free-kick as Liverpool tried
their best to establish some rhythm, but they continued to
look shaky at the back far too often.
Debutant Christian Poulsen was hardly helping their cause,
with it painfully apparent that he is still some way short
of full match sharpness.
Hodgson's men did start to find their stride, though, as the
half wore on, with Cole able to find plenty of space in
front of the Turkish back four.
He almost drifted in behind shortly before the interval, but
Babel delayed his pass fractionally too long and the
assistant's flag was raised.
That pair were to combine to devastating effect moments
later, though, as Cole broke from halfway and laid the
perfect pass into the feet of Babel.
The Dutchman, faced with the first real clear sight of goal,
displayed commendable composure to close on the keeper and
stroke the ball into the far corner as the clock ticked into
first half stoppage-time.
Liverpool could consider themselves somewhat fortunate to be
in front, having created little, and Hodgson looked to mix
things up after the break.
Fernando Torres was introduced from the bench and the
Spaniard almost made an immediate impact as he forced Kivrak
to tip a stinging drive over the top with his first touch.
From the resulting corner Lucas Leiva was left all alone
inside the box, but he could only divert a free header past
Liverpool were finally looking like a side capable of making
inroads in continental competition and Poulsen sent a
25-yard effort sailing into the Kop.
The Reds then had two penalty shouts in the space of 60
seconds, with Maxi Rodriguez waved to his feet at the first
time of asking.
The referee did point to the spot second time around,
though, as Lucas was sent sprawling by a clumsy challenge
from Serkan Balci.
Cole took responsibility from 12 yards, keen to get off the
mark for his new employers, but his tame effort was easily
beaten away by Kivrak.
The Turkish visitors, who had been so sprightly in the
opening 45, were now looking tired and Ceyhun Gulselam
joined Balci in the book when he sent Milan Jovanovic
Liverpool's Serbian winger then came close to grabbing a
second for the hosts when he combined well with Torres, but
was unable to force the ball home.
At 1-0 Trabzonspor were always in with a fighting chance,
though, and they almost hauled themselves level shortly
before the hour mark when Bulut beat the offside trap, but
saw Reina deny him with a top drawer save that diverted the
ball over the bar.
The game was now swinging from end to end and shortly after
Aurelio whipped a dangerous free-kick inches past the post,
Torres thumped a towering header into the midriff of Kivrak.
Chances continued to come and go in both penalty areas, with
Bulut unable to get a telling touch to a floated corner and
Cole unable to pick out a team-mate when he profited from a
nervy flap from Kivrak.
Poulsen thought he had bundled in a second for the Reds on
73 minutes, as Kivrak wobbled again, but the Dane was denied
a dream start to his Anfield career by a questionable call
from the referee who awarded the Turkish keeper a free-kick.
Frustration began to tell for Trabzonspor as time ticked
away and they conceded a spate of dangerous free-kicks which
Liverpool really should have made more of.
Reina was called into action on a couple of occasions in the
final 10 minutes, but he was never tested by ambitious
efforts which Jamie Carragher and co had well under control.
Liverpool took their foot off the gas in the final stages,
prepared to defend what they had and avoid taking any
The return meeting in Turkey, when the Reds will be looking
to defend their narrow lead, takes place next Thursday.