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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 November 2006, 16:55 GMT
Liverpool 2-0 Reading
By Phil McNulty

Dirk Kuyt
Dirk Kuyt celebrates putting Liverpool ahead against Reading
Dirk Kuyt struck in each half to give resurgent Liverpool their fourth successive win as they comfortably overcame Reading at Anfield.

Kuyt turned in from close range after 14 minutes when Peter Crouch headed Steven Gerrard's cross into his path.

And he added a second 18 minutes from time, pouncing inside the six-yard box after Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann failed to hold another Crouch header.

Reading had an early chance through James Harper, but ended well beaten.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was unable to name an unchanged team, having departed from his usual rotation policy against Bordeaux in the Champions League, with a hamstring injury ruling out Luis Garcia and Momo Sissoko rested.


Reading created the first clear opening after seven minutes, when Glen Little set up Harper, but his goal-bound shot was blocked by Jamie Carragher.

Liverpool were more clinical when they took the lead seven minutes later through Kuyt.

Gerrard's cross was headed down by Crouch, and Kuyt was left with plenty of space to steer home his fourth goal of the season with Reading keeper Hahnemann helpless.

Hahnemann came to Reading's rescue after 21 minutes, diving to his left to save after Ivar Ingimarsson had deflected Gerrard's ball towards his own goal.

Liverpool had exerted total domination, and Kuyt could have doubled their lead seconds before the break when he headed Steve Finnan's cross narrowly wide.

Reading held their own in the early stages of the second half, but Gerrard almost doubled Liverpool's advantage with a glancing header from Jermaine Pennant's corner that drifted just wide.

The visitors had the ball in the net after 70 minutes, but referee Uriah Rennie ruled substitute Andre Bikey - on for Sam Sodje - had fouled Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina.

Liverpool finally extended their lead two minutes later when Kuyt scored his second goal of the game.

Hahnemann could not hold Crouch's header from a Pennant corner and Kuyt pounced with his left foot inside the six-yard area.

  • Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
    "Dirk Kuyt always works, always makes great effort and shows the right level of commitment and I was delighted he got two goals.

    "He creates space for others and the partnership with Peter Crouch is working well.

    "We have won four at home now but we know this form must be translated into our away form.

    "Since the defeat at Manchester United on 22 October we know we have done better and scored goals."

  • Reading manager Steve Coppell:
    "We know we have lost four on the trot in the league, but I do not think of runs like that.

    "When we started the season we did well but that was probably a coincidence of the fixtures.

    "Now we have lost these last four. That too is a coincidence of the fixtures. We have had Arsenal, Chelsea and now Liverpool in that sequence."

    Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Pennant, Gerrard, Alonso, Zenden (Gonzalez 66), Kuyt (Fowler 87), Crouch (Sissoko 74).
    Subs Not Used: Martin, Agger.

    Goals: Kuyt 14, 73.

    Reading: Hahnemann, Sodje (Bikey 69), Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Gunnarsson (Ki-Hyeon 80), Sidwell, Harper (Oster 88), Hunt, Little, Doyle.
    Subs Not Used: Federici, Long.

    Booked: Sidwell, Sodje.

    Att: 43,741

    Ref: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).

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