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Reds ease past poor PSV
01 Oct 2008 - 22:07:09
Captain Steven Gerrard stole the headlines for Liverpool with his 100th goal for the club as the Reds cruised to a comfortable Champions League win against PSV Eindhoven.
Their Dutch opponents were never in contention as goals by Dirk Kuyt, Robbie Keane - his first for the club - and Gerrard ensured that Danny Koevermans' late strike was little more than a consolation.
PSV Eindhoven set themselves up for a defensive slog, slipping defensive midfielder Timmy Simons into a third centre-back role, a sound approach as long as the game remained goalless.
However, after only four minutes the tactical ploy looked anything but smart as Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson first blocked Fernando Torres' low shot before allowing Kuyt's first-time effort to deflect off him and into the net.
Isaksson endured a disappointing two years at Manchester City, an injury-hit stint that ended with a transfer to Holland this summer, but his ability was also questioned and further first-half errors did nothing to suggest City should have kept him on.
If some of the blame was laid at his large feet then plenty should also be dished out to the rest of the team who, with the exception of lone striker Nordin Amrabat, failed to fully perform.
Anything less than a memorable showing by the reigning Eredivisie champions would have led to defeat on a night when Liverpool continued to show that a relatively quiet summer has left them with an excellent, united team.
The one new player who has been hard to forget, although easy to ignore, is £20million striker Keane whose two-month goal drought was finally ended after 34 minutes.
Kuyt played in Torres - the best player on the pitch - down the right wing and his low cross was volleyed home by the former Spurs striker to rapturous applause.
Yet the greatest cheer of the night was reserved for Liverpool's third goal, a classic Gerrard free-kick - a thrilling way to score his landmark goal in front of a joyous Kop.
Despite looking toothless PSV made a mark on the match with their second goal in their last seven Champions League games, a strike which did nothing to stop them rotting at the bottom of Group D.
Goalscorer Koevermans will have enjoyed it despite surprisingly starting the game on the substitute's bench, although he owed the goal to a mistake by Jamie Carragher who allowed a right-wing cross to drop over his head and onto the PSV player's foot.
Yet that blemish will be quickly forgotten on Merseyside after a memorable evening which left Liverpool as favourites to win Group D ahead of their next two games against Atletico Madrid.