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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Champions League, Liverpool 1-0 Psv Eindhoven (agg 4-0)

Liverpool beat PSV again!
Liverpool FC booked a UEFA Champions League semi-final date with English rivals Chelsea FC for the second time in three years as Peter Crouch's solitary strike wrapped up a comfortable 4-0 aggregate win over PSV Eindhoven in the quarter-final at Anfield.

PSV finishe the game with 10 men after the unfortunate dismissal of teenager Dirk Marcellis on his debut, a decision that even drew sympathy from the Kop. Peter Crouch scored the winner midway through the second-half, but this was little more than a functional performance that failed to match the creditable efforts of United and Chelsea 24 hours earlier.

Benitez opted to rest both Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher with a 3-0 lead already in the bag from the first match in Holland last week. Along with Javier Mascherano, they were both on the substitutes' bench. Sami Hyypia, Bolo Zenden and Alvaro Arbeloa were in the starting line-up as Liverpool attempted to secure what was by now an expected semi-final spot.

Liverpool felt they could coast through the occasion, despite the fact the Kop had come to party and kept up a constant barrage of noise. Alarm bells were ringing in the third minute when Farfan sent in a powerful header from Phillip Cocu's right-wing cross, and it took a fine reflex save from Jose Reina to keep it out.

Then Liverpool lost Craig Bellamy. He attempted to block a cross from Csaba Feher, and only connected with his boot. The Welshman collapsed behind the goal-line and was eventually carried off on a stretcher, with a damaged right leg, Robbie Fowler coming on as substitute.

The arrival of Fowler certainly sparked the crowd even more. Liverpool fans are priming themselves for a final goodbye to their hero, 32 earlier this week. Fowler came close with a flicked header, and his movement in the box certainly gave PSV something to think about.

There was little to entertain them on the pitch, and there was only one chance to cheer in the first half when Carlos Salcido was booked in the 41st minute for a foul on Fowler. Zenden curled the 20-yard free-kick just wide of the post.

Liverpool's urgency hardly improved after the break, and it was PSV coming forward with Reina making another fine save from a Farfan drive. Patrick Kluivert and China international Sun Xiang were introduced by the Dutch before PSV were totally deflated by a crazy sending off.

Italian referee Roberto Rosetti clearly decided to liven up the proceedings with a ridiculous red card for 18 year-old Marcellis on his debut. A tackle on Zenden caused the incident, hardly a serious foul and Liverpool's fans booed the decision. PSV were stunned, but resistance was futile and the home fans applauded the youngster from the pitch.

Three minutes later, Liverpool were ahead and the tie was really over. John Arne Riise crossed from the left, Gomes pushed the ball away and Fowler turned it back for Crouch to score from two yards, his 18th of the season. The game over now, Mark Gonzalez replaced Xabi Alonso in the 71st minute and Gabriel Paletta took over from Daniel Agger soon after.

Another Riise cross spooned up for Crouch to head over the bar from eight yards!

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Hyypia, Agger (Paletta 78), Riise, Pennant, Sissoko, Alonso (Gonzalez 72), Zenden, Crouch, Bellamy (Fowler 17).
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Gerrard, Mascherano, Carragher.

Goals: Crouch 68.

PSV: Gomes, Marcellis, Simons, Addo, Salcido, Feher (Sun 62), Cocu, Vayrynen, Culina, Farfan (Kluivert 62), Kone (Van Eijden 71).
Subs Not Used: Moens, Da Costa, Tardelli, Ter Horst.

Sent Off: Marcellis (64).

Booked: Salcido.

Champions League, Liverpool 1-0 PSV highlights: