Houllier: I'm proud of my team
LFC Official Website
Gerard Houllier said he was bursting
with pride after seeing his Liverpool team overcome Vitesse Arnhem to earn
a place in the fourth round of the UEFA Cup.
Houllier praised the professionalism and character of his players as
Liverpool enjoyed a 2-0 aggregate victory over the mid-table Dutch side.
Houllier said: "I take this as a very professional performance. The aim
was to qualify for the next round and over the two legs we deserved to
qualify. With a bit of luck we could have scored a second goal but I'm
pleased and proud of my team.
"We have played better and lost but I said we needed a scrappy 1-0. I
would say it is a lack of respect to say they were not the best team but
we made them look ordinary.
"The attitude of my players was perfect tonight. Vitesse are not a bad
side and they have a good away record in Europe. They had chances tonight
but that happens."
Gerrard calls for Reds revival
Steven Gerrard called on Liverpool to
bounce back from the disappointment of being knocked out of the Champions
League by winning the Uefa Cup.
Michael Owen repeated his performance from the first leg in Vitesse Arnhem
to net the only goal of the second leg and send Liverpool through 2-0 on
And Gerrard, criticised recently by Houllier for his below-par
performances, set his sights on ending a disappointing recent run for the
He told BBC2: "There has been a lot of talk this week in training and the
most important thing tonight is the clean sheet, we can take that into the
Sunderland game this weekend.
"We expected to be in the second phase of the Champions League because we
were last year but it wasn't to be. Now it's up to us to try and win this
competition and have a good crack at the Premier League."
Owen admitted he did not expect to be given a second chance after the
Vitesse goalkeeper saved his initial effort.
He said: "I thought I maybe should have got a little bit closer when I
shot. I never expected it but you've always got to be on the look out -
that's what being a striker is all about.
"By now the midfielders know how I like to play the game and Gerrard is
equally as good as Danny Murphy and it's nice to play in front of two
players like that.
"I think the result we got away was a good one and even though it wasn't
the prettiest game tonight, when you've lost four or five in quick
succession you take any win. That's something to build on."
Liverpool safely through
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool made it through to the fourth
round of the Uefa Cup with a 1-0 defeat of Vitesse Arnhem at Anfield, but
it was anything but a vintage performance.
Gerard Houllier's side went into the game on the back of four defeats in
five Premiership games and in need of a confidence-boosting display.
But they struggled to produce any sort of fluency and again were
over-reliant on the scoring ability of Michael Owen
Bob Peeters was close to getting on the end of a dangerous cross from
Matthew Amoah in the fourth minute, but Reds keeper Chris Kirkland got
Peeters should have done much better in the 19th minute when Tim
Cornelisse swung in a dangerous cross that escaped the Liverpool defence
and found the big striker at the back post.
But somehow Peeters managed to put his header from point blank range
against the outside of the post with Kirkland well beaten.
In between the visitors' early chances Vladimir Smicer slipped a pass into
Murphy but Vitesse keeper Dragoslav Jevric was quick off his line to block
the England midfielder's shot.
Two minutes after Peeters' second miss Liverpool went in front with Owen's
15th goal of the season.
It was set up by an exquisite ball behind the Vitesse defence from the
increasingly influential Murphy.
Owen's pace took him away and after firing straight at the keeper, the
striker was on hand to finish off from the rebound.
Murphy combined with Owen again shortly before half-time, but this time
the forward's shot was blocked by a retreating defence.
Vitesse went close to pulling a goal back before the interval when Amoah
tried his luck from outside the box, but Kirkland dealt with the problem
It seemed only a goal from Vitesse was going to spark Liverpool into life
and the Dutch side nearly got it in the 71st minute when Emile Mbamba
flicked on for Peeters.
But again the forward failed to find the net, firing straight at Kirkland
when he should really have scored.
Liverpool ended the game almost in cruise control and completed only their
second win in nine games - the other being the first leg against Vitesse.
Can we play you every week could have been the cry from the Liverpool fans
who were left inside Anfield at the final whistle.