Kuyt scored for a second goal in as many games for Liverpool
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Anfield
Liverpool opened their Champions League campaign in unconvincing fashion with a narrow win over Hungarian champions Debrecen.
Dirk Kuyt's goal in first-half stoppage time settled an undistinguished encounter played out in a strangely subdued Anfield atmosphere.
Kuyt swept home the winner after Debrecen keeper Vukasin Poleksic failed to hold a low shot from Fernando Torres.
It was the high point of a low-key performance - but manager Rafael Benitez will simply be relieved that Liverpool achieved their main target of making a victorious start in Group E.
Liverpool deserved to clinch the three points for a period of sustained pressure that ended with Kuyt's goal but Debrecen, the first Hungarian side in the group phase of the Champions League for 14 years, stuck gamely to their task and provided the odd anxious moment for the Kop.
In the end, it was Liverpool's 100th victory in this competition in both its guises, the European Cup and the Champions League, and came in Benitez's 300th game in charge at Anfield. It was an occasion unworthy of such milestones.
Goalkeeper Jose Reina saved well from Peter Czvitkovics before the hosts heeded the warning signs and stepped up the tempo to make the crucial breakthrough. Albert Riera had been denied by Poleksic and Norbert Meszaros cleared off the line from Kuyt before the Netherlands striker got the goal that proved to be decisive.
Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun almost doubled Liverpool's advantage, although striker Adamo Coulibaly wasted half-chances near the end to earn Debrecen an unlikely point.
Anfield's reaction at the final whistle was tinged with relief rather than elation - and it was the noisy band of away supporters who stayed behind to revel in a landmark night for their club.
Benitez afforded himself the luxury of naming the same Liverpool team that beat Burnley 4-0 at Anfield on Saturday.
And in an unusually muted Anfield, with even a few empty seats to be seen, Liverpool found difficulty in finding their rhythm in the opening stages.
Indeed, the only incident of note early on was a booking for Liverpool captain Gerrard from Portuguese official Pedro Proenca for taking a free-kick too quickly.
Debrecen posed the first serious danger on the half hour when Czvitkovics - wearing number 77 - forced a fine diving save from Reina after Martin Skrtel had presented him with possession 25 yards out.
Reina then clutched a long-range free-kick from Laszlo Bodnar - and as Anfield vented its growing frustration, Liverpool finally sparked into life.
Riera was prominent as Liverpool finally exerted their superiority on the Hungarians, shooting just wide from Gerrard's pass then bringing a fine save from keeper Poleksic before defender Meszaros kicked off the line as Kuyt pounced on the rebound.
Gerrard then side-footed inches wide from Riera's cross, but the goal was coming and so it proved as Liverpool went ahead in first-half stoppage time.
Benayoun released Torres, and when Poleksic could not hold his shot Kuyt was again loitering with intent to turn home the loose ball.
The Reds picked up the pace again after the break and Gerrard was only inches off target with a stunning rising volley with Poleksic merely a helpless bystander.
Benayoun, a hat-trick hero against Burnley on Saturday, was almost on the scoresheet again after 64 minutes when he ended a weaving run with a low shot that Poleksic turned away unconvincingly at his near post.
Coulibaly made a hash of a presentable chance near the end when he closed in on Reina, but Liverpool survived in relative comfort to secure the win.
90:00+3:57 The referee brings the game to a close.
90:00+3:31 Corner taken short by Zoltan Kiss.
90:00+2:58 Short corner worked by Fabio Aurelio.
90:00+1:07 Substitution Fabio Aurelio comes on in place of Dirk Kuyt.
90:00+0:44 Steven Gerrard takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.
89:56 Javier Mascherano fouled by Adamo Coulibaly, the ref awards a free kick. Martin Skrtel restarts play with the free kick.
88:39 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard, clearance made by Adamo Coulibaly.
88:30 Shot from 18 yards by Ryan Babel. Norbert Meszaros gets a block in.
87:47 Adamo Coulibaly challenges Leiva Lucas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
86:39 Substitution Javier Mascherano joins the action as a substitute, replacing Yossi Benayoun.
85:22 Free kick awarded for a foul by Martin Skrtel on Almeida Leandro. Peter Czvitkovics has a direct shot on goal from the free
kick, save by Jose Reina.
83:40 Corner taken by Leiva Lucas played to the near post, clearance by Peter Czvitkovics.
82:46 Effort on goal by Yossi Benayoun from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.
81:43 Shot by Adamo Coulibaly from deep inside the penalty area misses wide to the left of the target.
79:18 Substitution (Liverpool) makes a substitution, with Ryan Babel coming on for Albert Riera.
79:01 Inswinging corner taken by Almeida Leandro from the right by-line.
78:44 Substitution (Debrecen) makes a substitution, with Robert Feczesin coming on for Peter Szakaly.
77:43 Corner taken by Almeida Leandro from the right by-line, Shot by Laszlo Bodnar from 20 yards. Fernando Torres gets a block
75:13 Dirk Kuyt challenges Norbert Meszaros unfairly and gives away a free kick. Vukasin Poleksic takes the direct free kick.
73:47 Jamie Carragher takes a shot from a long way out clearing the crossbar.
73:10 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Yossi Benayoun played to the near post, Peter Czvitkovics makes a clearance.
71:46 The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Jose Reina.
68:19 The ball is crossed by Emiliano Insua, Fernando Torres produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.
66:42 Substitution Zsolt Laczko on for Luis Ramos.
64:45 Shot from 18 yards from Yossi Benayoun. Save by Vukasin Poleksic. Yossi Benayoun takes the outswinging corner, Leiva Lucas
has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.
63:22 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Adamo Coulibaly by Martin Skrtel. Almeida Leandro takes the free kick.
62:19 A cross is delivered by Glen Johnson, clearance by Laszlo Bodnar.
61:03 The official flags Adamo Coulibaly offside. Martin Skrtel takes the indirect free kick.
60:31 The ball is swung over by Laszlo Bodnar, clearance by Jamie Carragher.
59:39 Effort on goal by Steven Gerrard from 30 yards. Save by Vukasin Poleksic.
57:53 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas by Almeida Leandro. Leiva Lucas restarts play with the free kick.
55:52 Unfair challenge on Martin Skrtel by Almeida Leandro results in a free kick. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
54:06 Shot by Steven Gerrard from outside the box goes high over the target.
51:43 Zoltan Kiss takes a shot from 35 yards and went wide right of the target.
50:45 Peter Czvitkovics has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide left of the target.
50:19 Peter Szakaly fouled by Leiva Lucas, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Peter Szakaly.
48:07 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Yossi Benayoun, Adam Komlosi manages to make a clearance.
45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
45:00+1:14 The ref blows to signal half-time.
45:00+0:31 Fernando Torres provided the assist for the goal.
45:00+0:31 GOAL - Dirk Kuyt:Liverpool 1 - 0 Debrecen Dirk Kuyt finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool
45:00+0:21 Fernando Torres takes a shot. Save by Vukasin Poleksic.
43:09 Shot by Steven Gerrard from deep inside the penalty area misses wide to the left of the target.
42:37 Laszlo Bodnar gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Albert Riera. Emiliano Insua takes the direct free kick.
41:30 Steven Gerrard produces a right-footed shot from outside the box and misses left.
38:27 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Yossi Benayoun from the right by-line, Header from deep inside the area by Steven
Gerrard goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
38:16 Albert Riera has an effort at goal. Vukasin Poleksic makes a save.
37:24 Dirk Kuyt takes a shot. Blocked by Norbert Meszaros.
37:13 Albert Riera takes a shot. Save by Vukasin Poleksic.
36:24 Albert Riera is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Vukasin Poleksic.
35:53 Effort on goal by Peter Czvitkovics from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
35:13 The offside flag is raised against Adamo Coulibaly. Jamie Carragher restarts play with the free kick.
34:40 Luis Ramos produces a right-footed shot from long range which goes wide right of the target.
33:57 Foul by Leiva Lucas on Almeida Leandro, free kick awarded. Marcell Fodor restarts play with the free kick.
33:17 Albert Riera produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.
31:49 Leiva Lucas challenges Almeida Leandro unfairly and gives away a free kick. Laszlo Bodnar has an effort direct from the free
kick, save made by Jose Reina.
30:06 Peter Czvitkovics decides to take a short corner.
29:51 Shot from 25 yards from Peter Czvitkovics. Save by Jose Reina.
28:57 Peter Czvitkovics decides to take a short corner.
27:07 Corner taken short by Yossi Benayoun, A cross is delivered by Steven Gerrard, Marcell Fodor manages to make a clearance.
25:52 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Comfortable save by Vukasin Poleksic.
25:05 Booking The referee cautions Steven Gerrard for unsporting behaviour.
24:43 Adamo Coulibaly challenges Dirk Kuyt unfairly and gives away a free kick. Steven Gerrard takes the free kick.
23:11 Short corner taken by Leiva Lucas.
22:29 Laszlo Bodnar produces a right-footed shot from outside the box and misses left.
21:59 Inswinging corner taken by Peter Czvitkovics from the left by-line played to the near post, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
21:51 Shot by Adamo Coulibaly. Blocked by Jamie Carragher.
21:10 Steven Gerrard produces a right-footed shot from long distance which goes wide right of the goal.
20:27 Steven Gerrard restarts play with the free kick.
20:27 Booking The referee shows Marcell Fodor a yellow card.
20:23 Marcell Fodor challenges Yossi Benayoun unfairly and gives away a free kick.
19:20 Steven Gerrard takes a short corner.
18:19 Albert Riera has shot on goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
16:25 Glen Johnson sends in a cross, Effort on goal by Fernando Torres from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of
16:01 Centre by Yossi Benayoun, clearance by Adam Komlosi.
15:23 Martin Skrtel concedes a free kick for a foul on Adamo Coulibaly. Luis Ramos restarts play with the free kick.
15:13 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Luis Ramos by Emiliano Insua. Luis Ramos takes the free kick.
14:08 Unfair challenge on Luis Ramos by Glen Johnson results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Vukasin Poleksic.
12:51 Dirk Kuyt has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide left of the goal.
12:35 Foul by Luis Ramos on Albert Riera, free kick awarded. Albert Riera takes the free kick.
12:20 The official flags Fernando Torres offside. Indirect free kick taken by Laszlo Bodnar.
11:10 Almeida Leandro handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Yossi Benayoun takes the direct free kick.
10:41 Yossi Benayoun is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Vukasin Poleksic.
8:42 Emiliano Insua crosses the ball, clearance made by Zoltan Kiss.
7:29 Unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas by Almeida Leandro results in a free kick. Steven Gerrard takes the free kick.
5:12 Unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas by Luis Ramos results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Steven Gerrard, clearance
by Laszlo Bodnar.
3:42 Effort from outside the penalty box by Fernando Torres goes wide right of the target.
2:53 The offside flag is raised against Fernando Torres. Vukasin Poleksic takes the free kick.
1:16 Free kick awarded for a foul by Luis Ramos on Dirk Kuyt. Yossi Benayoun restarts play with the free kick.
0:00 The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
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