Tuesday 12th September 2006 7:45 pm @ Phillips Stadium, Eindhoven, Netherlands

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GOALS: none

LIVERPOOL TEAM: (4-4-2) - Rafa stuck with Reina. Agger returned to the side in place of Hyypia - Warnock also returned to left back, pushing Aurelio in to his favoured position of left midfield. Zenden partnered Sissoko in central midfield and it was all change up front as Bellamy and Kuyt partnered. Captain Steven Gerrard started from the bench.







(Alonso 62)
(Gonzalez 81)


(Gerrard 72)
Subs: Dudek, Hyypia, Luis Garcia, Crouch
][ = Yellow Card
Name = goalscorer and time(s)




Gomes, Kromkamp, Alex, Reiziger, Salcido, Simons, Mendez,Afellay (Vayrynen 74), Culina (Aissati 63), Farfan, Kone.Subs Not Used: Moens, Kluivert, Da Costa, Addo, Lamey.

Att: 35,000
Ref: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland).

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Kromkamp and Kuyt

Liverpool kept their first clean sheet of the season and claimed a crucial point in their opening Champions League Group C match against PSV Eindhoven.

It could easily have been three points after Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt had threatened to open up the PSV defence on countless occasions in an encouraging first half.

But in the end it was Steven Gerrard, on the bench until the last 19 minutes, who almost won the game for Liverpool with a stunning hooked volley from 25 yards that crashed into the inside of a post and somehow bounced to safety.

PSV had improved after the break and in a good, open game both sides were going for glory at the end, Liverpool without a defensive player in their front six at the end.

But after the domestic debacle at neighbours Everton on Saturday, Liverpool should be satisfied with this point and performance.

The repercussions from Liverpool's Merseyside derby disaster were felt here as manager Rafael Benitez made six changes from that side.

Benitez considers Gerrard has played too many matches of late and left his skipper on the bench, along with Sami Hyypia, Luis Garcia, Xabi Alonso and Peter Crouch from Saturday's side while Robbie Fowler was not even among the substitutes.

In came Bellamy and Kuyt up front, with Daniel Agger, Bolo Zenden, Stephen Warnock and Jermaine Pennant all in the starting line-up.

The Dutch had former Anfield defender Jan Kromkamp in their side, along with ex- Middlesbrough man Michael Reiziger with Patrick Kluivert on the bench.

There were early signs Bellamy's extra pace up front could pay dividends with PSV having much of the early possession and Liverpool hitting on the break.

Twice Bellamy ran away from Brazilian defender Alex, but the end product was not there. PSV, though, had the first clear chance when Mohamed Sissoko misplaced a ball in midfield and Arouna Kone raced 40 yards to hit the bar from just outside the box.

Aurelio shot wide after charging in on the left to fire wide across the goal, while Pennant became increasingly influential on the ball.

Bellamy was penalised for handball as he smacked one chance against the woodwork, and there was doubt creeping into the PSV defence as they were becoming increasingly concerned about the potential damage that Kuyt, Bellamy and Pennant were doing in possession.

Zenden found space to lash another effort wide from 25 yards after Pennant had retained possession well and tricked his way to the edge of the box, before Aurelio sent Kuyt racing through the middle, only to be stopped in the act of shooting by Carlos Salcido.

PSV cranked up the tempo from the off as the second period opened with the clear objective to stop Liverpool's midfield from having so much of the ball.

Sissoko got caught in possession too often and PSV started getting men forward, Kromkamp producing one surging run and pass from the back that was only snuffed out by Jamie Carragher's intervention.

Kuyt had one snap shot charged down and Pennant created space for himself to force Gomes into a save to his right.

Kone started to cause trouble on PSV's left and forced Reina into a low save by a post he really should have done better with, while Edison Mendes flashed a 25-yarder inches wide.

Liverpool sent on Alonso for Sissoko on 61 minutes, while PSV responded with Ismail Aissati replacing Jason Culina a minute later.

This was a different PSV now, more drive, more width and more imagination and they were wrestling control of the game from Liverpool.

But Kuyt was still trying to make the difference and he unleashed a 30-yard drive that grazed the outside of a post.

Finally on 71 minutes, Liverpool sent on Gerrard in place of Bellamy, to play as a striker. PSV sent on Mika Vayrynen for Afellay, Mendez having just been allowed too much room to run and fire a dipping drive just over the bar.

Liverpool were under increasing pressure and it was not helped when Carragher got in Reina's way and the 'keeper managed a weak punch that put the Anfield men under pressure.

Liverpool then sent on winger Mark Gonzalez for Aurelio, but it was Steve Finnan with a fine tackle on Jefferson Farfan that saved Liverpool on 84 minutes.

Then with two minutes left Kuyt's touch set up Gerrard, who sent in a swerving volley from 25 yards that cracked against the inside of a post and bounced to safety.

Paul Walker, PA

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PSV 0-0 Reds

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Match Report filed: 12th September 2006