In all, 19 goals were scored on the second evening of Matchday 5 but none came at Anfield where Liverpool got the 0-0 draw they needed against Real Betis Balompié to book their place in the knockout phase. However, while it was a case of job done for Rafael Benítez's men, Crouch extended his barren run for the Reds to 16 games, including a missed penalty in last Saturday's 3-0 win against Portsmouth FC.
Crouch, who had four good opportunities in as many first-half minutes and was a constant threat to the Betis defence, said: "It was a frustrating night for me but the most important thing is that we're through. I thought we were comfortable and deserved to win the game, but the most important thing is getting through to the knockout stage."
The 1.98m-tall forward joined Liverpool for €10.1m after a superb season, individually speaking, with relegated Southampton in the English Premiership. Yet despite some encouraging displays for club and country – he played a major role as substitute in England's 3-2 defeat of Argentina earlier this month – he has not managed a goal in the 2005/06 campaign.
Certainly, he has the backing of his Liverpool team-mates. Fellow striker Djibril Cissé told uefa.com before the match that the players were "all trying to help" while Boudewijn Zenden revealed afterwards that he had every faith in his colleague. "He's doing his work, putting in a lot of effort and getting chances and
I'm sure he'll score, hopefully sooner rather than later," Zenden told uefa.com.
The misfiring 24-year-old was given an encouraging ovation when he left the Anfield pitch with six minutes remaining, and received the full support of his manager. "If Peter Crouch continues to play as well as he did tonight I will be delighted. As long as the team are getting results that's the most important thing, but it would be better to see Crouch scoring," Benítez said.
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