After The Match 

            


LIVERPOOL-STEAUA BUCHAREST 1-0 (0-0)     Thu Nov 27        UEFA Cup
Goals: Kewell (48)
Team: Kirkland, Diao, Hyypia, Biscan, Traore, Gerrard, Hamann, Diouf, Kewell, Pongolle, Owen
Subs: Heskey (Pongolle 69), Smicer (Diouf 69), Murphy (Owen 88
Not used: Dudek, Le Tallec, Riise, Otsemobor
Yellow:  Rachita (25) Mutica (40)
Red: None
Referee: Florian Meyer (Germany)
Attendance: 42.837

                                                             FIXTURES & RESULTS 
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HEADLINES

Driven, determined and tenacious, Gerrard was the heart of a Liverpool side clearly betrayed by a lack of confidence and first-choice personnel.
                          Daily Post

2811: Didi's back, and Stevie's the winner
2711: Houllier happy to go through
2711: Liverpool scrape past Steaua

 

 


NOVEMBER 28
Didi's back, and Stevie's the winner

By Ian Doyle - Daily Post

Absence really does make the heart grow fonder at Anfield. How else to explain the recent clamour from Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and countless thousands of Liverpool fans for the swift return of Dietmar Hamann to the starting lineup?

As the German recuperated from a serious shin injury earlier this season, Gerard Houllier's side lurched from one Premiership defeat to another as the championship moved out of reach for another year.

Last night, however, saw Hamann make his first start of the campaign to help guide a shaky Liverpool into the third round of the UEFA Cup.

But while his presence was a visible and vital lift to the Reds, there was no happier player than Gerrard at his midfield partner's return.

It's easy to see why. With Hamann sidelined, the England international has been pressed into primarily defensive duties as Houllier sought for a more attacking style of play. The job was done well, but the belief persisted Gerrard's natural game was being stymied.

And against a skilful Steaua side, the midfielder served only to further emphasise why his true talents can only be fully harnessed when given a license to adventure upfield.

Gerrard had admitted beforehand this was crunch time for a Liverpool season which he had charitably referred to as a 'let-down'.

And with Hamann back alongside him, the Reds skipper led by example with an impressive display which made it plainly obvious which position he prefers to play in.

Driven, determined and tenacious, Gerrard was the heart of a Liverpool side clearly betrayed by a lack of confidence and first-choice personnel.

It was no surprise, then, that Gerrard was provider for Harry Kewell's 48thminute winner, culminating a charging run down the right flank with a cross for the Australian to convert.

Hamann, as is his style, was more quietly effective. Although he showed understandable signs of rustiness after such a lengthy spell out, the merits for his continued selection are widely acknowledged. The German must again be a regular fixture in this Liverpool side, no matter how attacking or defensive Houllier chooses them to be.

It wasn't all great news, however. They may have won, but Liverpool rarely convinced, particularly during a first half which was so insipidly dire, the pain of observing it was second only to a 45-minute session of sandpapering your own retinas.

Still, the win was a much-needed boost for the Reds, who can now forget about Europe until the new year and concentrate on improving their Premiership position. With that in mind, they'll be grateful for the return of Hamann - and the re-emergence of Gerrard.


NOVEMBER 27
Houllier happy to go through

Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier was delighted to see his side progress into the next round of the Uefa Cup following a nervy 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest.

Harry Kewell's second half goal was enough to give Liverpool a 2-1 aggregate victory and Houllier admits it is vital that Liverpool enjoy a long run in Europe.

"It was important to keep the run in Europe because it is always exciting," said Houllier.

"We have beaten a good team. They could pass a ball well. I don't think that they had a lot of chances but on the whole it is a deserved victory."

Houllier was boosted by the return of Dietmar Hamann, who made his first start since May, and although Michael Owen came off just before half time with a calf problem Houllier is hopeful that the problem is nothing serious.

"Michael felt his calf was a bit tight but I think - I hope - it is nothing much," added Houllier.

"It was a first game for Didi since early May so it was good to see him back."


NOVEMBER 27
Liverpool scrape past Steaua

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool stuttered into the Uefa Cup third round after overcoming stiff resistance from Romanian side Steaua Bucharest.

Harry Kewell's header gave Liverpool a narrow win against a Steaua team that fluffed a number of chances and had a reasonable penalty claim turned down.

Liverpool never really got into their stride, the honourable exception being Steven Gerrard, who turned in a powering performance.

Whether tracking back, tackling, crossing or shooting, his immense drive was the difference between the two teams.

Yet the England midfielder also demonstrated that reckless streak in his decision-making that has blighted his development in the past.

Early in the game, his dangerous challenge on Matei Radoi infuriated Steaua, although German referee Florian Meyer awarded a free kick to Liverpool on that occasion.

Michael Owen headed narrowly over from the resulting free kick before Gerrard powered another header straight at Steaua goalkeeper Vasili Hamutovski moments later.

Steaua were having real problems getting to grips with Gerrard's forages from midfield - and Dorel Mutica was yellow carded for hauling down the Liverpool captain.

But the visitors were not without their own chances.

Early on, Claudiu Raducanu's lob just cleared the bar, Marian Aliuta went close with a shot, while Gabriel Bostina wasted another opportunity to score with a header.

Steaua were incensed when Raducanu's penalty appeal was turned down by Meyer after the break following a challenge by Igor Biscan.

And their mood became even darker when Liverpool took the lead seconds later, Kewell heading home from Gerrard's right-wing cross.

Both Owen and Emile Heskey went close to doubling Liverpool's lead, but Steaua almost took the game into extra time when Dinita flashed a shot narrowly wide.


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