After The Match 


Olympiacos-Liverpool 3-4 (1-1)     23.07.05              Friendly
Goals: Garcia (31), Morientes (49), Baros (53, 59)
Rivaldo (40), Djordjevic (Pen 77, 83)
Team: Carson, Josemi, Hyypia, Medjani, Riise, Garcia, gerrard, Hamann, Potter, Cisse, Crouch
Subs: Whitbread, Warnock, Alonso, Sissoko, Zenden, Morientes, Baros, Carragher, Le Tallec
Not used: Dudek, Baros
Yellow: Sissoko (76)
Red: None
Referee: Reto Rutz (Switzerland)

Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Fouls conceded:



HEADLINES "I think we are
strong in midfield."
      Rafael Benitez

2507: Crouch in goal pledge
2307: Rafa pleased with Crouch debut
2307: Reds smash four past Greek champions


Crouch in goal pledge

By Tony Barrett - Liverpool Echo

Peter Crouch today spoke of his pride at pulling on a Liverpool shirt for the first time - and pledged to score the goals to take his new club to yet more glory.

The Reds' new 7m signing enjoyed a promising debut in Liverpool's 4- 3 win over Olympiakos on Saturday, setting up the first goal for Luis Garcia and proving a constant menace to the Greek defence.

Crouch, who is eligible to play in tomorrow night's Champions League qualifier against FC Kaunas, said: "To be honest, I was just glad to be able to wear that famous red jersey for the first time.

"That was a dream come true for me and now I'm just looking forward to doing it again.

"I would have loved to have scored but that wasn't to be, although I've been told the goal I had ruled out for offside was actually okay.

"I might have missed out against Olympiakos but hopefully it'll come against Kaunas if I'm selected."

Crouch admits many still view him simply as a target man but says his ability with the ball at his feet will come to the fore.

"Because I'm tall people tend to think that I'm only good with my head but they will see that I can play with my feet as well.

"I like to get the ball down and use it and this should stand me in good stead at Anfield because I know that's the Liverpool way.

"The run I had for the first goal is as much what I'm about as winning head-ers. I went on a bit of a mazy one and, to be honest, I wanted to get a shot away myself but the ball broke to Luis Garcia and he tucked it away really well."

He added "I have set myself a target for scoring goals like I do every year but I'll be keeping that to myself.

"But I know that if I score goals and perform well it will help the team."

Rafael Benitez said: "Peter did very well for the first goal and he is a clever player. He has a good touch and can bring other players into the game. He knows what we want from him."

Xabi Alonso insisted Crouch's arrival has lifted the squad.

He said: "Last season we were guilty of giving the ball away too often and maybe Crouch can help us keep possession further up the pitch.

"When a good player joins, it gives everyone a lift and the more good players you have, the better you have to play to earn a place in the team. That's got to be a good thing."

Rafa pleased with Crouch debut

By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez said he was pleased with his side's fitness and style of play during the entertaining 4-3 win over Olympiacos in Liechtenstein and declared himself highly satisfied with debutant Peter Crouch.

Crouch helped set up the opening goal with a strong and determined run and when he was closed out Luis Garcia finished well.

Benitez said: "Peter played well. He did very well for the first goal and he is a clever player. He has a good touch and can bring other players into the game. He knows what we want from him and he gives us lots of options."

The Liverpool manager believes he has a better squad than the one he had last season and said he is trying hard to bring in some more players in the very near future.

One player already at the club who is hoping to enjoy an injury free run in the team is Xabi Alonso. The Spanish midfield maestro played the second half and displayed some of his trademark defence splitting passes and Benitez said he is a very important player.

Benitez said: "I think we are strong in midfield. We have Steve, Xabi, Didi, Momo Sissoko and we have lots of options. It means I can rest players when they need to be and bring others in who will do a very good job.

"Xabi is a very good player. He links the play and he opens up defences with his passing and he is looking very sharp.

"I thought this was a good game for the supporters, seven goals and lots of chances. There was two teams playing at a high level and we are in a good physical condition and getting better. I thought we played some good football and we are scoring goals which is good.

"We are trying to bring in some more players and this season we will have a stronger and better squad than the last one."

Reds smash four past Greek champions

By Paul Rogers - LFC Official Website

If Peter Crouch's arrival on Merseyside was supposed to spell the end of the Anfield dream for Milan Baros, someone must have forgotten to tell the Czech international.

While Crouch was the undisputed star of the first-half - going close on two occasions and setting up Luis Garcia's opener with a great run into the box after 31 minutes - there was no doubting Baros was the liveliest player on the pitch after the interval.

The Liverpool No.5, linked by the media with a move away from Anfield all summer, entered the pitch after half-time with the scores level after Rivaldo had cancelled out Garcia's opening goal on 40 minutes, and then set about single-handedly taking the game to the Greeks.

Within minutes of being on the pitch, Baros had set Fernando Morientes up to slot home Liverpool's second and then he got in on the act, heading in a Stephen Warnock cross and rounding the 'keeper to double our lead during the space of six electrifying second-half minutes.

Liverpool's lead could have been extended further still when Baros again found Morientes with a cross from the right only for Erwin Lemmens to dive low to block the Spaniard's shot.

We've always known Milan Baros was capable of putting the ball in the back of the net but tonight he demonstrated that maybe, just maybe, he's now started to use his head a bit more and find his team-mates in space rather than trying to beat the world on his own.

With both Djibril Cisse and Luis Garcia linking well with Crouch in the first-half and Sissoko and Xabi Alonso impressing during the second period, Liverpool are starting to look like they finally have a decent squad to choose from with options in almost every position.

A penalty from Predrag Djordjevic on 76 minutes after Zak Whitbread was adjudged to have brought down Yiannis Okkas and another well-taken goal from the No.11 seven minutes later when he rounded Scott Carson might have taken the shine off the night for Rafael Benitez but it's still five wins out of five for the Reds this summer.

Scoring goals might have been a problem last season but after smashing 17 goals in five games, Rafa will no doubt be turning his attention away from his strikers and onto his defence.

Milan Baros, for one, will be happy about that.

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen