Peter Crouch once again made the difference as Liverpool FC beat FC Girondins de Bordeaux to cement their position at the top of Group C. The home side failed to find the net for the third consecutive UEFA Champions League match and although Liverpool never hit top gear, they were rarely troubled by their French opponents.
Craig Bellamy had the first chance of the night after seven minutes when he scampered on to Luis García's chested pass, but Ulrich Ramé in the Bordeaux goal smothered his tame attempt. For Bordeaux, left-back Geraldo Mauricio Wendel fired in two shots from well outside the box, but failed to test Pepe Reina.
Liverpool replied in kind, with first Mark González and then Xabi Alonso unable to threaten with long-distance efforts. Instead it was Alonso's opposite number 14, Johan Micoud, who almost opened the scoring midway through the first period. The playmaker met Wendel's inswinging free-kick but did not get enough contact with his head and the ball sailed agonisingly past Reina's left-hand post.
Crouch at the double
Sami Hyypiä's knockdown from a García free-kick eluded three team-mates while moments later Crouch cleverly remained onside from a deep John Arne Riise cross but volleyed wide from point-blank range. He was close again after 40 minutes but his bundled attempt was touched behind by Ramé for a corner. As the first half reached a conclusion, Bordeaux were well ahead in terms of possession, but had still failed to get a single shot on target.
They righted that within a minute of the restart when Fernando Menegazzo menaced but his drive from the edge of the box was straight at Reina. For the next ten minutes, last season's Ligue 1 runners-up turned up the pressure although they again lacked the quality to create clear opportunities.
Crouch on target
They were made to pay in the 58th minute as Liverpool took the lead. Bordeaux had conceded a corner when García's stinging effort was palmed away by Ramé, and when Bellamy swung the ball in from the right Crouch rose to send a powerful header past Ramé for the England striker's third UEFA Champions League goal this term. A few minutes later he was replaced by Dirk Kuyt, leaving the pitch to loud applause from the visiting fans.
Bordeaux coach Ricardo Gomes brought on Marouane Chamakh and Julien Faubert for Lilian Laslandes and Alejandro César Alonso, but while Chamakh nodded narrowly wide close to the death, Liverpool might also have extended their advantage when substitute Stephen Warnock, on for the lively Bellamy, shot straight at Ramé after a dazzling run. In the end, Crouch's intervention was enough for a win that keeps Liverpool comfortably on course for the last 16.