After The Match 


Liverpool-Trabzonspor 1-0 (1-0)       19.8.10                       EL
Goals: Babel (45)
Team: Reina, Kelly, Aurelio, Kyrgiakos, Carragher, Lucas, Poulsen, Cole, Maxi, Jovanovic, Babel
Subs: Torres (Babel 45), Ngog (Rodriguez 73)
Not used: Cavalieri, Wilson, Spearing, Skrtel, Pacheco
Yellow: Balci (52), Gülselam (55), Korkmaz (78), Cale (85)
Red: None
Referee: Thomas Einwaller (AUT)
Attendance: 40,941
Shots on target: 7-2
Shots off target: 5-4
Blocked shots: 2-5
Fouls conceded: 16-24
Corners: 6-5
Offsides: 2-1
Possession: 51-49
Yellow: 0-4

HEADLINES "I'm finding
my feet in my role and
it's my job
to create goals."
Ryan Babel
2008: Poulsen pleased with debut
1908: Roy rues missed opportunities
1908: Cole reflects on penalty woe
1908: Babel edges Reds ahead


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

Sky Sports

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 error.

"I think we probably did (deserve another goal)," said Hodgson afterwards.

"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 in ahead.

"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 rested.

"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 half-time.

"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 ago.

"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

Sky Sports

Joe Cole has held his hands up and admitted that his penalty against Trabzonspor was not the best.

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 12 yards.

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 international.

"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 Chelsea.

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."

Babel 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 crossbar.

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 the post.

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 flying.

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 unnecessary risks.

The return meeting in Turkey, when the Reds will be looking to defend their narrow lead, takes place next Thursday.

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Thor Zakariassen ©