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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK
Liverpool 4-0 Toulouse (5-0)
By Chris Bevan

Peter Crouch celebrates putting Liverpool ahead
Crouch scored his eighth goal in his last 10 Champions League starts
Liverpool made short work of Toulouse to book their place in the group stage of the Champions League.

Peter Crouch put the Reds ahead when he stretched to meet Dirk Kuyt's cross and Liverpool, who were inspired by Yossi Benayoun, went on to dominate.

Crouch missed with two more headers but Sami Hyypia did make it 2-0 when he met Benayoun's corner at the near post.

Kuyt, who also hit the bar, netted with a low shot to make it 3-0 then ran clear to slot home a fourth goal.

It was an emotional night at Anfield, with the Reds paying their own tribute to murdered 11-year-old Everton fan Rhys Jones before kick-off.

The Toffees' theme of Z-Cars was played and the crowd applauded as Rhys's parents stood on the touchline in their Everton shirts.

Given the circumstances it could have been difficult for the Liverpool players to focus on the task in hand but they soon settled once the game began.

Benayoun has had limited first-team chances since joining from West Ham in the summer but he showed Benitez why he feels he deserves more opportunities.

Rhys Jones's parents received an emotional reception at Anfield
Rhys Jones's parents received an emotional reception at Anfield

The Israeli had already set up Kuyt to force a diving save from Toulouse keeper Nicolas Douchez when he won back possession to start the move that led to Crouch opening the scoring.

Kuyt ran on down the left before supplying a peach of a cross which the tall striker turned in at the far post.

The tie should really have been wrapped up by half-time but Crouch somehow headed another Benayoun ball over the bar before wasting an inviting ball from Alvaro Arbeloa.

Toulouse, who had come to Anfield trailing by a single goal, still had hope at this point but in truth they never looked like finding a way back into the tie.

Their only chances came from two sloppy clearances by Jose Reina and their best effort was a scuffed shot by Andre Gignac which summed up their night.

606: DEBATE
SR

Liverpool were home and dry when Hyypia rose unmarked at the near post after the break to head home Benayoun's corner and from then on they coasted home.

Substitute Ryan Babel went close before Kuyt, who had already had one shot deflected on to the bar, exchanged passes with his compatriot and drilled his shot past Douchez.

The home side were not finished yet and Benayoun was again the creator, sliding a ball through for Kuyt to slot home a fourth goal.

It was the first time since 1997 that neither Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher had featured in a European tie for the Reds but, even without their two talismans, this was a thoroughly convincing display.


  • Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez:
    "I am very happy with my team. We showed the strength and quality of our squad.

    "We scored four good goals and could have scored a lot more. We now have two players for each position and you can see our squad is stronger than it was.

    "I have players everywhere who want to play and have the ability to play."

  • Toulouse manager Elie Baup:
    "We ran a lot but with Liverpool's technical quality and movement they made the ball run a lot. Their ability was hard to handle at times.

    "There is a difference between the French league and the English league.

    "Liverpool were fresh, fit and strong and it showed at the end of the match. We struggled once they got their second, they play in a far stronger league."


    Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Hyypia, Agger (Finnan 81), Riise, Benayoun, Sissoko (Lucas 68), Mascherano, Leto (Babel 75), Crouch, Kuyt.
    Subs Not Used: Itandje, Torres, Alonso, Pennant.

    Goals: Crouch 19, Hyypia 49, Kuyt 87, 90.

    Toulouse: Douchez, Cetto, Ilunga, Paulo Cesar, Mathieu (Sissoko 81), Dieuze, Fofana, Sirieix, Elmander, Emana (Fabinho 76), Gignac (Bergougnoux 54).
    Subs Not Used: Riou, Jonsson, Mansare, Batlles.

    Att: 43,118.

    Ref: Wolfgang Stark (Germany).

    SEE ALSO
    Are Liverpool home and dry?
    28 Aug 07 |  Liverpool
    Toulouse 0-1 Liverpool
    15 Aug 07 |  Europe
    Sunderland 0-2 Liverpool
    25 Aug 07 |  Premier League


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