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Persistent Liverpool gain reward

Published: Thursday 26 February 2004, 23.35CET
Liverpool FC 2-0 PFC Levski Sofia Goals from Steven Gerrard and Harry Kewell give Liverpool the advantage.

Match statistics

LiverpoolLevski

Goals scored2
 
0
Attempts on target2
 
0
Attempts off target0
 
0
Corners0
 
0
Offsides0
 
0
Fouls committed0
 
0
Yellow cards0
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Thursday 26 February 2004, 23.35CET

Persistent Liverpool gain reward

Liverpool FC 2-0 PFC Levski Sofia Goals from Steven Gerrard and Harry Kewell give Liverpool the advantage.

Liverpool FC put their recent domestic troubles behind them as two second-half goals gave them victory Bulgarian side PFC Levski Sofia at Anfield. It took 67 minutes for them to break the deadlock, but Steven Gerrard's left-foot cracker was then matched by Harry Kewell three minutes later.

Trophy hope
For a club which clinched the UEFA Cup only three seasons ago, and for which this represents the only hope of silverware this season, Liverpool found it difficult to find their rhythm. It was not until the later stages that they were able to dominate the visitors in the first leg of this third-round tie.

Missed chances
Levski were limited to only one real chance in the first half, but Liverpool were unable to take advantage of their greater possession. Chances for Milan Baroš, Danny Murphy and Michael Owen all went begging.

Increasing frustration
Two rejected penalty appeals within as many minutes revealed a certain degree of desperation on the part of the home side, who became increasingly frustrated with their inability to break down the stubborn Levski defence.

Powerful shot
It was a brighter Liverpool who came on to the pitch in the second half. Owen could have scored a hat-trick in the first ten minutes, before Levski's Kostadin Vidolov tested home goalkeeper Chris Kirkland with a powerful shot from 25 metres.

Stunning strike
Owen was twice more denied by visiting goalkeeper Dimitar Ivankov before Gerrard scored with a stunning left-foot strike from the edge of the area. Three minutes later Harry Kewell, in a game which seemed to mark his long-awaited return to form, scored from a Danny Murphy short corner on the right-hand side.

Chasing possession
Liverpool were untroubled for the remainder of the match, and home Gérard Houllier was delighted with their performance, saying: "It was very professional. When you have to play at this level it is always difficult to break teams. It is a matter of persistence and skill."

'Extremely clinical'
But he praised the Bulgarian team and admitted the tie was far from over, with the second leg in Sofia on Wednesday. "Levski look a good team," Houllier said. "They look extremely clinical when they have the ball. This is only half-time in the tie. It is good that we kept a clean sheet."

Last updated: 27/02/04 10.21CET

Related information

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http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2003/matches/round=1720/match=73845/postmatch/report/index.html#persistent+liverpool+gain+reward

Lineups

liverpool

Liverpool

levski

Levski

22
KirklandChris Kirkland (GK)
27
IvankovDimitar Ivankov (GK) (C)
2
HenchozStéphane Henchoz
35
G. MarkovGeorgi Markov
3
FinnanSteve Finnan
22
I. StoyanovIlian Stoyanov
4
HyypiäSami Hyypiä
25
Lucio WagnerLucio Wagner
5
BarošMilan Baroš
Substitution90
26
TemileOmomigho Temile
Substitution74
7
KewellHarry Kewell
Goal70
Substitution85
13
BukarevAsen Bukarev
10
OwenMichael Owen
17
GolovskoyKonstantin Golovskoy
Yellow Card8
13
MurphyDanny Murphy
7
BorimirovDaniel Borimirov
Substitution75
16
HamannDietmar Hamann
38
VidolovKostadin Vidolov
Substitution73
17
GerrardSteven Gerrard (C)
Goal67
11
TopuzakovElin Topuzakov
23
CarragherJamie Carragher
90
G. IvanovGeorgi Ivanov

Substitutes

1
DudekJerzy Dudek (GK)
4
Biser IvanovBiser Ivanov
9
DioufEl Hadji Diouf
Substitution85
15
SimonovićSaša Simonović
20
Le TallecAnthony Le Tallec
21
TelkiyskiDimitar Telkiyski
Substitution74
21
TraoréDjimi Traoré
23
StankovMartin Stankov
Substitution75
25
BišćanIgor Bišćan
19
ChilikovGeorgi Chilikov
Substitution73
28
CheyrouBruno Cheyrou
Substitution90
20
AngelovStanislav Angelov
32
WelshJohn Welsh
1
G. PetkovGeorgi Petkov (GK)

Coach

Gérard Houllier (FRA) Georgi Ivanov (BUL)

Referee

Rene H.J. Temmink (NED)

Assistant referees

Jaap J.N. Pool (NED), Rob B.G. Meenhuis (NED)

Fourth official

Ruud Bossen (NED)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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