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UCL 18/09/2007 : FC PORTO VS LIVERPOOL

FC PORTO 1 - 1 LIVERPOOL


PORTO V REDS: THE BIG-MATCH VERDICT

Liverpool grabbed a point in their opening Champions League game against Porto despite the dismissal of Jermaine Pennant. Here's the pick of the post-match reaction...

porto draw gerrard

The journalist
It was a poor night in terms of Liverpool's all-round performance, and it was certainly the slowest I've seen them start in Europe for some time. But you've got to balance that out by saying that, yes they've played poorly - and Rafa Benitez has admitted that - but they've got a point from what I'm sure will prove to be the toughest game in Group A. That's a huge positive.
Mike Hughes, BBC Radio Merseyside

The fan
Liverpool found themselves under pressure from the first minute and could not find any room, time or control on a heavily-watered pitch that Porto obviously had spent time training on and getting used to. Their tactics were spot on and deserve recognition. Too many a time have we been critical of our team's performance - we overlook the skill of the opposition. We were on the receiving end of what we have done to many teams in the past and it leaves a soar taste. We have to do better next time but as always with Rafa, once bitten, twice shy. Eh, Jose?
Caulkheadkop, LFC.TV message boards

The former player
We made a slow start and created our own problems, and it wasn't surprising to see Porto score the first goal. You couldn't ask for a better response from Liverpool though and Dirk Kuyt scored the type of goal I would like to see him score more often. We defended very well in the second half, especially after Jermaine Pennant's unnecessary sending-off. We might even have won it in the end when Kuyt was unlucky not to take advantage of some great play from Steven Gerrard.
David Fairclough

The local paper
By avoiding defeat in what is arguably their toughest game in Group A, Liverpool ended a testing evening in a stronger position to qualify for the knockout stages. The visitors - for whom Fabio Aurelio made his long-awaited return as a late substitute - came closest to snatching a winner in the closing stages when Quaresma nicked the ball of Dutch forward Kuyt's foot before he could convert Gerrard's pass.
Daily Post

The tabloid
Liverpool are nothing if not resilient in Europe. And it was Hyypia who typified that spirit. For all their sublime touch and audacious skill, Porto have a weakness at the back from set-pieces, and that was exploited ruthlessly by the centre-back. On 17 minutes, Hyypia drifted away from his marker at the far post and headed back across goal, where Kuyt planted a header firmly above the keeper's despairing grasp into the roof of the net.
The Mirror

The commentator
Liverpool will be delighted with a point overall after a below-par display first half. Our equaliser came from a well-worked set piece and Dirk Kuyt scored with a predatory header. That's four goals in his last three Champions League games for Liverpool. I thought we defended very well second half - Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher were fantastic. Liverpoolfc.tv's Steve Hunter

The boss
We were really very bad in that first-half, there are no excuses. It is hard to explain why because our preparation had been good. It was easier to do the right things in the second period, but the damage had been done. We gave the ball away far too easily, we conceded clear chances and gave away a penalty - that was a correct decision. Rafa Benitez

The player
They fizzed the ball around very quickly. Quaresma and the other winger caused us problems. Sometimes you've got to hold your hands up and say the other team has played well. I'd say the first 30 minutes was up there with the toughest games we've ever had in the Champions League. But we have a lot of experience in Europe now, and we knew there was a long way to go. There was no need to panic. We showed a lot of character to get ourselves back in the game and probably had the better of the chances in the second half with 10 men. It would have been a good point with 11 men, but with 10 it's great. Jamie Carragher

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