|Attempts on target||8||3|
|Attempts off target||16||9|
Liverpool FC goalkeeper Pepe Reina hailed match-winner Dirk Kuyt's scoring knack in the UEFA Champions League after his solitary goal earned the Merseysiders a narrow victory over Debreceni VSC in their opening Group E fixture.
Third on list
Kuyt stabbed home from close range on the stroke of half-time after Debrecen goalkeeper Vukašin Poleksić had parried a Fernando Torres effort to earn an opening three points for Rafael Benítez's side on Wednesday night. It was the Dutch forward's 12th goal in the UEFA Champions League – qualifying matches included – and lifted him to joint-third on the list of the club's leading scorers in the competition.
Kuyt struck his first UEFA Champions League goal for Liverpool in their 2006/07 final defeat by AC Milan and had scored in his previous appearance in last term's semi-final against Chelsea FC. Reina told uefa.com: "It seems like it's his competition – he always scores in the Champions League, he's got into the habit and let's hope he keeps on scoring a lot of goals. He did a good job tonight."
Operating in a second-striker role behind Torres, the Dutchman was typically busy in a first half where Liverpool dominated possession as they sought a way through the massed ranks of Debrecen defenders. Liverpool had 16 shots on goal in the opening period, six of them on target – including a Kuyt effort cleared off the line by Norbert Mészáros after the visiting goalkeeper had made one of several stops from Albert Riera. The home side looked set to return to their dressing room frustrated, however, until Kuyt struck. "It was nice to score and win and, hopefully, we can keep that going," said the ex-Feyenoord forward afterwards.
If Liverpool were not at their best on a low-key evening at Anfield – failing to reproduce the form that had brought four goals against Burnley FC last weekend – it was still a case of job done, according to Reina. While acknowledging there was "room for improvement" in the hosts' performance, he argued that a Debrecen side making their group-stage debut were never going to be pushovers. Indeed had Reina not made a fingertip save to turn over Péter Czvitkovics' first-half drive, the visitors would have taken a surprise lead. "It was a difficult game, we knew they'd go into it with a lot of motivation as it was their first match in the Champions League," said the goalkeeper.
"They didn't make things easy for us but we've fulfilled our objective, which was to win and now we can look forward. We've a dfficult trip ahead of us to Fiorentina and we need to try to get the points there. It will be tough – Fiorentina play in one of the top leagues but then you look at all the games in the Champions League and there's not a team you can look at and say: 'We'll beat them easily'."
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.