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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Champions league, PSV 0-3 Liverpool

Ruthless Liverpool hammers PSV
Liverpool powered to a resounding win over PSV Eindhoven to all but book their place in the semi finals of the Champions League.

Captain Steven Gerrard, John Arne Riise and Peter Crouch bagged the goals to silence the Phillips Stadium. It was no less than Liverpool deserved against a surprisingly negative PSV, whose season is beginning to unravel before them.

Rafa Benitez opted to stick with the central midfield of Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso, with Gerrard out on the right. Dirk Kuyt partnered Crouch up-front. Diego Tardelli was paired with Jefferson Farfan in attack for PSV but the two operated as wide players all too often in the first-half, meaning the Dutch lacked a focal point in attack.

PSV set their stall out in defensive fashion and would have gone behind after 15 minutes but for a fine save by Heurelho Gomes after Jamie Carragher’s header. The home side became a little more adventurous and Mika Vayrynen came close when he saw his effort deflected over the bar after a cross from former Liverpool full-back Jan Kromkamp.

The Reds took the lead after 26 minutes when the unmarked Gerrard headed a right-wing Steve Finnan cross low into Gomes’ bottom left corner. This was Gerrard’s 15th goal in the European Cup and he is now Liverpool’s all-time record scorer in the competition.

Liverpool comfortably kept their out-of-form rivals at arm's length and were nearly gifted a second straight after the break. After two lucky escapes, PSV shot themselves in the foot on 49 minutes when a wayward clearance from Belgian centre-back Timmy Simons fell to Riise 25 yards out.
Risse needed no second invitation to dispatch a dipping volley into the top corner of the net.

Liverpool extended their lead and virtually finished the tie as a contest on 62 minutes when Crouch rose to head home another Finnan cross. In an act of frustration PSV substitute Patrick Kluivert was quickly booked for a cynical lunge on Mascherano, who cut an impressive figure in the Liverpool midfield.

On an otherwise perfect day for Benitez, Fabio Aurelio was stretchered off after suffering a suspected ruptured achilles.

Kuyt picked up his third booking of the competition late on for not retreating on a free-kick. He will now serve a suspension in the second-leg.

This as a dreadful performance from Ronald Koeman's side who barely created a chance in the game.

PSV: Gomes, Kromkamp (Feher 68), Da Costa, Simons, Salcido, Mendez (Kluivert 51), Vayrynen, Cocu, Culina, Farfan (Sun 46), Tardelli.
Subs Not Used: Moens, Addo, Marcellis.

Booked: Kluivert, Feher.

Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Riise (Zenden 65), Gerrard, Mascherano, Alonso, Aurelio (Gonzalez 75), Crouch (Pennant 85), Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Arbeloa, Hyypia, Bellamy.

Booked: Mascherano, Kuyt.

Goals: Gerrard 27, Riise 49, Crouch 63.

Champions league, PSV 0-3 Liverpool highlights and goals: