After The Match 


Leeds-Liverpool 0-1 (0-0)           22.9.09                     CC, 3.r.
Goals: Ngog (66)
Team: Cavalieri, Degen, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Dossena, Aurelio, Spearing, Mascherano, Riera, Babel, Ngog
Subs: Johnson (Degen 72), Gerrard (Ngog 78), Skrtel (Babel 90)
Not used: Reina, Torres, Voronin, Plessis
Yellow: Kyrgiakos (41)      Crowe (43)
Red: None
Referee: Alan Wiley
Attendance: 36,168
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Blocked shots:
Fouls conceded:

a difficult stadium
to come to..."
Rafael Benitez
2409: Spearing on his full debut
2409: Ngog will remain patient
2309: Liverpool FC Leeds win could
          have been easier and earlier

2209: Benitez: Win illustrates squad strength
2209: Ngog breaks Leeds hearts   

Spearing on his full debut

By Jason Darby - Anfield Online

Local(ish) lad Jay Spearing was handed his first full Liverpool start on Tuesday night, partnering Javier Mascherano in arguably the smallest Liverpool central midfield pairing in our clubs history.

The 20 year old had been left in the stands for most of the reds reserves games this season, and questions were starting to be asked about the player’s future – although he has occupied a place on Liverpool’s first team bench on a couple of occasions.

With an improving Lucas Leiva, and the arrival of Alberto Aquilani, the chances of Spearing breaking through appear more difficult but after a memorable substitute appearance in Liverpool’s 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid last season – Liverpool fans will have been pleased to see him getting some more match time under Benitez.

Jay said of his full debut:

“I felt I did all right and hopefully I’ve proved to the boss and the supporters that I can do it for the first team.

“It was a very special night for me to make my first start for the club. And to play the full 90 minutes was fantastic.

“We trained in the formation we used on the night on Monday so I thought I might have a chance of starting, and then when we got to the hotel the boss told me I was playing.

“It has been a long time coming waiting for my first start but I’ve had to keep grafting hard and wait for my chance. I knew it was going to come soon and thankfully we got the result we needed.”

Ngog will remain patient

Football 365

Liverpool striker David Ngog accepts he will have to remain patient if he is to become a regular in the side.

Ngog made a rare start in Tuesday's Carling Cup clash at Leeds and he enhanced his first-team prospects with the only goal of the game.

It was only the 20-year-old's sixth start for the club, but the Frenchman hopes he has given Rafa Benitez much to ponder with his display at Elland Road.

"It was a very important goal for me for my confidence and because we won the game," said Ngog. "I think I played okay. The intensity of the game made it difficult and I was very happy to score.

"Of course I know that I'm not going to play every game so when the coach gives me a chance, I want to do my best for the team and try to score.

"I know I have to be patient and all I can do is when I get a chance, try and take it and show the manager what I can do.

"I hope I have done that in this match and shown the manager my qualities and that I can be another possibility in attack.

"When you are a striker, scoring is always the best thing. That is our job and what we work for."

Liverpool FC Leeds win could
have been easier and earlier

Comment by Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo

Apart from a couple of minor scares Liverpool were never in any real trouble against Leeds last night.

And the result was never really in doubt.

But that didn’t stop me wishing Rafa Benitez had played just a few more of the Reds’ senior stars to get the job done a fair bit earlier.

I know most top clubs and managers rest players and put out second string sides in the Carling Cup nowadays. Fair enough.

But I still feel with a bit more clout out there from the start we could have got the business sorted much sooner – and then have taken off the familiar names to give others a chance once the game was won.

As it was, a really good goal from David Ngog settled a tie I felt we were always in control of.

We got better and better as the game went on and it was a terrific first touch and finish from the French lad to seal it.

He has definitely got some qualities to parts of his play but that said, he has also got to try and improve his strength in holding the ball up and bringing others into the picture.

I have to admit, though, that Jermaine Beckford was the one player for Leeds who caught my eye. I can’t help but think he is just the type of striker who perhaps could do a job at Anfield.

Torres needs a bit of help up top. He cannot be expected to shoulder the burden on his own this season.

I don’t know how much Beckford would cost but for me he’s an interesting one and I’d happily take a punt on him if I was Rafa – and the deal was right.

As it is, Leeds are out of the way – and now we can get back to the big guns and the real stuff.

Benitez: Win illustrates squad strength

By Jimmy Rice at Elland Road - LFC Official Website

Rafa Benitez believes the 1-0 victory over Leeds United on Tuesday was an illustration of the strength within the current Liverpool squad.

David Ngog buried the only goal of the game on 65 minutes to clinch a hard-fought win and guarantee a place in the Carling Cup fourth round.

There were only two survivors from the starting line-up against West Ham on Saturday - and the gaffer was delighted with the way his fringe players performed.

"It was a good game. They had some chances, we had some chances. At the end we won with a lot of players who haven't been playing," said Benitez.

"It is a difficult stadium to come to. They've won many games in a row. In these types of games it is very important to keep the mentality and character.

"I am really pleased with my team, with my squad. We showed we can manage with different players. For the rest of the season it is important to know you have players who can come in and perform."

Ngog now has two goals despite a limited role this season.

Benitez added: "It was a great goal. He showed quality. He is a player with quality who has very good movement, but also here he was fighting against a big lad. It's very positive for him and for the team.

"As I said before, players who aren't normally playing showed character and quality."

The boss also heaped praise on the hosts, whose fans created a marvellous atmosphere on what was the first visit of a Premier League club since their top flight relegation in 2004.

"You can also be positive in terms of Leeds," said Benitez. "The atmosphere was fantastic and the fans were really good. It's a good team with good players and they worked very hard."

Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher admitted Liverpool had to toil to ensure progression.

"That was as difficult a game as we have had all season and to be fair they were a bit unlucky that we won," said the skipper-for-the-night.

"Obviously we've not got our full Premier League team out and not played together that much, but it was a very tough evening."

Ngog breaks Leeds hearts

By Carla Hilton - Sky Sports

David Ngog's second half strike was enough to see Liverpool through to the last 16 of the Carling Cup at the expense of a determined Leeds United.

Javier Mascherano and Jamie Caragher were the only recognised names in an otherwise second string Liverpool line-up.

In the early part the Whites dominated and had an early goal disallowed as Luciano Becchio was deemed offside when paring up with Jermaine Beckford.

After that, Leeds continued to press and were unfortunate to be on the losing end with players such as Robert Snodgrass and Patrick Kisnorbo putting in outstanding performances in front of a sell-out crowd.

Ngog, who played with credit on the night, broke Leeds' hearts just after the hour mark when picking up on a timely ball from Mascherano to turn and slot home from close range.

Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson made brief appearances towards the end of the match as the Reds saw out a narrow win to secure passage through to the last 16 with a virtually second-string squad.

It was Liverpool's first visit to Leeds since their hosts were relegated from the top flight in 2004 but the atmosphere generated by the 38,168 crowd rekindled memories of a once intense rivalry.

Leeds, looking upwards again after an unbeaten start to the season, played like they had a point to prove against a Liverpool side showing nine changes.

Jamie Carragher, who took over the captaincy, and Javier Mascherano were the only survivors from the Reds side which won at West Ham last weekend.

Manager Rafael Benitez, however, had big guns Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson on the bench in case not all went according to plan.

It seemed a sensible insurance policy as for large parts Leeds, with Robert Snodgrass a constant danger on the right, exploited the unfamiliarity in the Liverpool ranks.

There was a huge roar inside the opening minutes when Beckford went down in the area but referee Alan Wiley gave nothing.

Leeds were keen to attack and gave warning when Snodgrass broke free, although his cross was easily claimed by Liverpool keeper Diego Cavalieri.

Ngog, starting up front alone, then got into the game with a couple of breaks but saw a long-range shot after a neat turn blocked.

Leeds then missed a glorious chance to take the lead when Snodgrass delivered a perfect cross but Michael Doyle headed wide from about eight yards.

The Yorkshire side had the ball in the net after 11 minutes when Beckford turned in Michalik's goalbound header from close range but Wiley ruled the striker offside.

Luciano Becchio also tried his luck for Leeds but curled wide from 20 yards.

Ryan Babel, hoping to stake a claim for a regular place, created Liverpool's first serious chance after a run from deep but Shane Higgs dealt comfortably with his tame shot.

Snodgrass caused further alarm in the Liverpool defence with another deep cross from a clever Beckford flick but Cavalieri just did enough to frustrate Becchio.

Albert Riera should have given Liverpool the lead, against the run of play, on the stroke of half-time after meeting a Fabio Aurelio free-kick but Higgs saved his firm header.

The outstanding Snodgrass weaved his way into the Liverpool box soon after the restart but the visitors eventually managed to crowd him out.

Leeds continued to look the most likely side but Liverpool youngster Jay Spearing got a shooting chance from a Riera lay-off, only to fire well over.

Beckford then raced on to a long bouncing ball but scuffed his shot when any firm contact might have beaten Cavalieri.

The Leeds striker had another gilt-edged opportunity when Bradley Johnson crossed from the byline after 63 minutes but, after turning brilliantly, he sent his shot over.

Leeds paid the price as Liverpool went ahead two minutes later.

Mascherano mis-hit a shot from the edge of the area but Ngog reacted quickly and seized on the ball to tuck past Higgs.

Leeds tried to respond as Johnson controlled a Michalik long ball outside the area but shot straight at Cavalieri.

Liverpool brought on Johnson and Gerrard in an attempt to see out the game but Leeds continued to push.

Johnson needed to intervene to head back to Cavalieri as Liverpool struggled to clear another Leeds attack.

Liverpool did break out again with Babel winning a free-kick on the edge of the area but Aurelio's shot was deflected wide.

Gerrard almost made doubly sure of victory as time ran down but fired into the side-netting and then straight at Higgs after powerful runs.

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