UEFA Champions League Rd3 Leg2 (5-0 on aggregate)
Tuesday 28th August 2007 (8:05pm) @ Anfield
Liverpool demolished Toulouse on an emotionally charged night at Anfield to ensure progress to the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Remarkably this was the reds first European tie in 10 years in which neither the two Scouse life-bloods of the side, Gerrard and Carra, were not involved. That fact was made even more ironic that the game was held on the 800th birthday of the city and a day that saw Everton's famous Z-cars theme tune played prior to kick off in honour of Rhys Jones, the 11 year old tragically killed in the city last week.
Before the game Rafa had warned the reds to take Toulouse seriously, and the reds did just that. Sebastian Leto was a surprise starter for the reds, and both Benayoun and Crouch were handed their chances to impress.
After 5 minutes in, it was clear that the gulf in class was enormous. Yossi Benayoun had a superb game - not only putting pressure on Benitez's team selection but also on Jermaine Pennant's ambition to get back in the England squad. Ryan Babel may be waiting a long time to play in his favoured right wing position.
Peter Crouch opened up the scoring for the reds with a well taken goal-poachers goal from the edge of the 6 yard box. The first half ended with frustration as three headers (two from Crouch, and one from Kuyt) failed to trouble the keeper - when on another day they all could have gone in.
The second half, with the reds kicking towards the Kop, was an entirely different matter. The Captain for the night, Sami Hyypia, was unmarked and despatched a header in to the net to double the reds lead. His broken nose failing to prevent him from getting himself stuck in when the reds were awarded set-pieces.
Changes were made to the side as the game dragged on, but it was left to Dirk Kuyt to add another two goals for the reds (his first and second of the season). The first was the result of some good build up with Ryan Babel, but it was probably fitting that Benayoun was the created for the fourth and final goal of the day.
Five competitive matches in the season and all four Liverpool strikers have scored - 6 goals between them and Liverpool have won convincingly without Gerrard and Carragher in the side.
An excellent night for Liverpool on the pitch, and a night to be proud off it too.
Liverpool: Reina, Riise, Hyypia (captain), Agger, Arbeloa, Leto, Mascherano, Sissoko, Benayoun, Crouch, Kuyt. Subs - Alonso, Babel, Leiva, Torres, Pennant, Itandje
Toulouse: Douchez, Cetto, Cesar, Ilunga, Mathieu, Dieuze (captain), Fofana, Sirieix, Emana, Elmander, Gignac. Subs - Riou, Jonsson, Mansare, Sissoko, , Bergougnoux, Batlles
Referee: W Stark
Post Match Reaction
"I am very happy with my team. We showed the strength and quality of our squad.
"We scored four good goals and could have scored a lot more. We now have two players for each position and you can see our squad is stronger than it was.
"I have players everywhere who want to play and have the ability to play."
Match highlights and Goals:http://www.lfcreds.com/reds/index.php/topic,3320.0.html