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Kuyt secures Reds victory
16 Sep 2009 - 21:58:15
Liverpool got their Champions League camping off and running, but were pedestrian at times in a scrappy 1-0 victory over Hungarian side Debreceni.
Dirk Kuyt ensured that the Reds took all three points with a goal in first-half stoppage time, but it could have been many more if the the home side were more clinical and ruthless in front of goal.
Despite an uninspiring performance, a subdued Kop watched their idols fluff plenty of decent chances throughout which would have allowed Rafael Benitez to make changes earlier.
In a first half that was often frustrating for Liverpool, it was the emergence of Debreceni into the game which shot them into life.
The Reds were lackadaisical for the first half hour and this allowed the visitors to capitalise.
A ten-minute period of possession from the Hungarian champions was topped by an exquisite 20-yard half-volley from Peter Czvitkovics, who forced Jose Reina to tip the ball over for a corner.
Further surges forward from the visitors caused the home support to become uneasy and voice their annoyance at the lethargic nature of Liverpool's performance, which in turn provided a response from the men in red.
A whirlwind last ten minutes of the first period put the visitors firmly back on the foot as Albert Riera had three gaping opportunities in the space of five minutes as he grew in confidence with each, but failed to trouble Debrecen goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic sufficiently.
Steven Gerrard had opportunities of his own despite operating from deep, but it was Kuyt, Liverpool's brightest spark of the first half, who made the breakthrough in stoppage time.
Just as he did in Saturday's victory over Burnley, the Dutchman latched onto a rebound to send the ball into the back of the net to ease the nerves on Merseyside.
The chance came off the back off a pinpoint Yossi Benayoun pass to Torres, who turned and swung his right boot to force Poleksic to parry, though he could not get it to safety.
Kuyt was all-too-happy to follow the shot up and sent the ball home to ease nerves on Merseyside and the goal allowed the Reds to dictate the second half.
As the Kop hoped to see a Liverpool onslaught, they were made to watch the Reds flatter to deceive, with only Gerrard seriously threatening Poleksic.
The skipper left the keeper planted firmly to the ground with a vicious right-foot volley ten minutes into the second period, but thankfully for the visitors, the ball brushed the roof of the net.
Despite plenty of bright play down the flanks from Benayoun, Riera, Glen Johnson and Emiliano Insua, the Reds failed to break down Debreceni again and were forced to settle for a 1-0 victory.
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