After The Match 

            


Olympiakos-Liverpool 1-0 (1-0)      Tue Sep. 28.         Champions League
Goals: Stoltidis (17)
Team: Dudek, Josemi, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Finnan, Alonso, Hamann, Warnock, Garcia, Baros
Subs: Kewell (Warnock 45), Cisse (Josemi 74), Diao (Hamann 83)
Not used: Kirkland, Biscan, Traore, Pongolle
Yellow: Warnock (41), Finnan (92)
Anatolakis (18), Pantos (31), Mavrogenidis (61)
Red: Pantos (83)
Referee: Pierluigi Collina
Attendance:

                                                            FIXTURES & RESULTS 
TEAM STATS
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HEADLINES

"When you lose
like that it is always
very disappointing."

               Rafael Benitez

2909: Carra: Time to get tough
2909: Diao: We either improve or go out
2809: Benitez: Home form will decide group
2809: Rivaldo's performance pleases Olympiakos...
2809: Hyypia upset with defending
2809: Historic defeat for Liverpool


 

SEPTEMBER 29
Carra: Time to get tough

By Chris Bascombe In Athens - Liverpool Echo

Jamie Carragher admits Liverpool will only cure their travel sickness by showing more character away from home.

The Reds suffered their third consecutive away defeat last night, performing poorly in the 1-0 loss to Olympiakos.

Carragher, one of few players to emerge with any credit from the match, said the players must be braver and restore some of the qualities which made the Reds so tough to beat in Europe.

"Under Gerard Houllier our problem was our form at home. It's reversed at the moment," said Carragher.

"No-one can really put their finger on why. We couldn't work out our problems at home over the last few years, and now it's the same away.

"We need to sort it out quickly because we've two away games coming up in the Premiership.

"We had a good record away under the last manager because we were solid.

"Maybe we we're tougher in certain areas but now we're better on the eye at home.

"It's all about finding the right balance. We haven't quite got it. We never had it under the last manager at home. That isn't a problem now, it's away where we've got to get it right."

Carragher pointed to specific qualities which you need to show far more on your travels.

He added: "You've got to be more of a team away from home because you're under the cosh and decisions will go against you.

"They have the crowd with them too, but I don't think that should matter. I don't see why you should play any differently.

"It's eleven versus eleven, the same sized pitch and the same ball. We've got to be men. You've just got to show more character. You've got to have people wanting the ball and making more challenges.

"You see the real characters in the team when you're away.

"We didn't perform. Olympiakos were fighting for the ball a lot better than us, showing more character and aggression. It's disappointing that's how the game went. Everyone has to take greater responsibility, including myself."

Despite the loss, the defender believes Liverpool are still in a good position to reach the last 16.

"It's still early days in the group. I'm still confident we'll get through," he said.

"It's only one defeat out of the six games so far. Whatever the result, we're still in it. We play everyone twice so we've got to look to beat Olympiakos at Anfield now.

"If we beat every team in the group once, we've still got a great chance.

"We've three points on the board, so if we can get another four from our next two games, we'd be delighted.

"But if we play like that against Chelsea or anyone else, they'll punish us even more. I'm confident in the manager and the players and we'll put up a much a better performance than last night on Sunday."


SEPTEMBER 29
Diao: We either improve or go out

By Paul Rogers in Athens - LFC Official Website

Salif Diao believes Liverpool must get their act together quickly if they are to progress any further in this season's Champions League tournament.

Diao, a second half substitute against Olympiacos on Tuesday night, admits that the Reds are in danger of throwing away their early advantage in Group A unless they buck up their ideas away from home.

"The game against Deportivo La Coruna is a very important one for us now," he told Liverpoolfc.tv. "If we want to give ourselves the best possible chance of qualifying then we need to win our next match.

"With Monaco winning and ourselves losing to Olympiacos, the group is very open. All four teams can still qualify and we must improve if we are to reach the knock-out stages. We can't afford to lose many more matches because the other teams will take advantage and open up a lead at the top of the group.

"The game was quite similar to the one against Manchester United in that we didn't start well and the first half was not good for us but we improved in the second-half and could have earnt a draw at least.

"We're working on improving things in training but we must learn to start matches a lot better than we did at Old Trafford and against Olympiacos. In both matches, we only started playing once we'd conceded a goal and that must change.

"Everything is new at Liverpool at the moment. We have a new manager, new players, new methods on the training pitch and new tactics. Training is different and it takes time to adjust to what the new manager is looking for. I can't explain why we are so much better at home than we are when we travel away but we are working all the time to improve our away record and I'm confident that given time under Rafael Benitez, we'll be as strong away from home as we are at Anfield."


SEPTEMBER 28
Benitez: Home form will decide group

Soccernet

A disappointed Rafael Benitez accepts Liverpool's home games in the Champions League will decide whether they qualify from Group A.

The Reds suffered a shattering 1-0 away defeat tonight against a committed Olympiacos side, who finished with 10 men but still stopped Liverpool creating a single chance over the 90 minutes.

Manager Benitez said: "When you lose like that it is always very disappointing.

"We gave away a lot of possession; we had plenty but did not keep it.

'"In the second half we were a lot better; we were more aggressive and created more possibilities.'

Even so Liverpool never recovered from conceding an early headed goal to Ieroklis Stoltidis - and despite abandoning their 4-4-1-1 system and throwing on attacking players Djibril Cisse and Harry Kewell, the Merseysiders could not rescue even a point.

Group A is now very tight following Monaco's 2-0 home win over Deportivo, whom Liverpool play in crucial back-to-back matches in October and November.

Deportivo are bottom of the group, and Liverpool must take a four-point minimum from the two games.

Benitez said: "Until Olympiacos scored they had not created anything, but after their goal the game changed.

"They were confident and had more opportunities."

The Spaniard felt his team were a little unlucky to go behind.

"The goal was unfortunate," he said.

"The cross clipped a player and changed direction, making it very difficult for Sami Hyypia to clear.

"As far as the group goes, now every team has a chance of qualifying - so the home games for everybody will be important now.

"Whoever wins them will have a great chance of qualifying."


SEPTEMBER 28
Rivaldo's performance pleases Olympiakos coach

By Barney Spender - Reuters

Olympiakos Piraeus coach Dusan Bajevic praised the performance of playmaker Rivaldo after his team beat Liverpool 1-0 in the Champions league on Tuesday.

"I have already said that he is a great personality," said Bajevic. "He is still only 32 and he has had a great career but he is an example to the rest of the players."

The close season signing of Brazil's World Cup-winner was met with raised eyebrows across most parts of Greece but Bajevic warmed to the subject of a man who lit up the first half.

"In training his behaviour is excellent and I think you all saw it with your own eyes tonight that he played so well," added former Yugoslavia international Bajevic.

"He did everything he could to help the team win and I'm convinced that as he has more games he'll continue to improve."

Rivaldo silenced his critics with an impressive first-half display that included floating over the cross that led to Ieroklis Stoltidis' 17th minute headed goal and almost scoring himself with a fierce strike from outside the area.

"He has a lot of talent," said Bajevic. "We knew he hadn't played for a while before coming here but I know that the more games he plays, the better he will become."

Olympiakos put Liverpool under pressure in their Group A match, twice hitting the woodwork and coming within a whisker of adding to their tally on at least three other occasions.

"When you lose, you're normally not very happy," said Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez. "In the first half, we had problems, we didn't keep the ball. In the second half, we were more aggressive and we made more opportunities."

The result leaves Olympiakos, perennial non-achievers in Europe, top of the group after two games.

"My players did exactly what they should have done," said Bajevic. "They communicated well with each other throughout the game, they were confident and they were disciplined.

"We stopped Liverpool from creating any chances, just a few corners and we dealt with those. But it wasn't only the defence that defended well, it was the whole operation. We didn't allow Liverpool to play their game."


SEPTEMBER 28
Hyypia upset with defending

By Paul Higham - Sky Sports

Liverpool's Sami Hyypia says they need to learn from their defeat at Olympiakos.

The Reds produced a lacklustre display in Athens to go down to a single goal against the Greek side who also showed little but still came away with the win.

Rafa Benitez's side again saw his side struggle to defend from crosses and set-plays, a problem which is fast becoming their major weak point.

Hyypia was unhappy with the way Liverpool lost the match, saying that they must learn from their recent mistakes.

Liverpool have been employing a new zonal defence system brought in by Benitez, but it has not yet come together, and Hyypia says they need to start learning fast.

"To concede a goal like that to lose the game was bad," said Hyypia. "It shouldn't have happened.

"They made it very difficult for us, but that's how it goes sometimes.

"It was a disappointing night but now we have to analyse this and concentrate on our next match.

"Every day we are learning more under him (Benitez). We need to analyse this defeat and learn from it."


SEPTEMBER 28
Historic defeat for Liverpool

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool suffered a first ever defeat against Greek opposition despite an improved display in the second half.

Yiannis Okkas struck the post with a powerful drive before Ieroklis Stoltidis headed in from a free-kick.

The visitors were much better after the break and had an effort from Harry Kewell ruled out for offside.

Stoltidis hit the bar with a header as Olympiakos finished strongly and, although Anastasios Pantos was sent off, they held on for a famous win.

Liverpool looked to have the pace in Luis Garcia and Milan Baros to cause Olympiakos problems on the break - but they saw so little of the ball in the early stages that it did not matter.

The Reds had problems implementing the zonal defence Rafael Benitez prefers and they had a lucky escape when Jerzy Dudek got a finger to Okkas' shot to ensure it thudded against the near post rather than the back of the net.

It was no surprise when Stoltidis got in front of Sami Hyypia and produced a superb header from Rivaldo's free-kick to make it 1-0.

Liverpool might have hit back immediately when Baros looked to be impeded in the area but that was it in terms of first-half highlights for the visitors.

Brazilian maestro Rivaldo showed that he can still produce moments of magic when he rifled in a 30-yard half-volley which whistled past Dudek's left-hand post.

A poor Dudek clearance allowed Grigoris Georgatos to cross and Giovanni headed just wide, although there was a suspicion that John Arne Riise's hand had got the decisive touch to deflect it wide.

Pantelis Kafes should have made it 2-0 from a Georgatos corner but he could not keep his header down and Liverpool went in at the interval relieved to be just a goal down.

Benitez made a predictable change at half time, withdrawing Stephen Warnock, who had endured a torrid first 45 minutes, and putting on Kewell.

And there were signs that Liverpool might just keep their unbeaten record in this part of the world intact.

Defensively they looked more assured and, with Kewell offering more options going forward, the Greeks were on the back-foot.

Kewell had the ball in the back of the net after a lay-off from Baros but a debatable offside call denied the Reds an equaliser.

However, it needed a timely intervention from Riise to cut out a dangerous cross from Georgiadis.

From the ensuing corner Liverpool had another slice of luck when Stoltidis again found room but this time his header crashed against the bar.

Georgiadis was enjoying plenty of time on the ball down the right and he cut in before firing in a 25-yarder which went straight at Dudek.

Liverpool made their final change by putting on Salif Diao for Dietmar Hamann and they soon had a one-man advantage when Pantos was sent off for a second bookable offence after bringing down Xabi Alonso.

Georgiadis had a chance to finish them off when he raced into the box, only to send his effort wide of the far post - but it mattered little to the home fans who were joyous at the final whistle.


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Thor Zakariassen