Andriy Voronin’s impressive strike just before half time proved the only goal of the game as Liverpool defeated Toulouse 1-0 in the Champions League qualifier.
The Ukranian international started alongside Peter Crouch as Rafa Benitez made a host of changes from the opening day win over Aston Villa, and on 43 minutes he chested down a Crouch knock on to turn and hit on the half volley from 25 yards into the top corner of the goal.
Liverpool took on French side Toulouse in the 1st leg of their 3rd round Champions League qualifier. What was a very professional performance from Rafas’ men, in very humid conditions, but was a very lack lustre match with very few clear cut chances. Liverpool’s new Ukranian forward Andriy Voronin scored the only goal of the game after 43 minutes, when he took down the ball well, turned with it and shot from 20 yards for it to nestle into the top right hand corner.
The first half was a very slow paced affair, with not a lot to get excited about apart from the goal, with Liverpool having most of the possession for a lot of the half. A few bursting runs down the flanks especially from Babel, who started on the right, and a burst of energy from man of the match Javier Mascherano to nearly get a shooting chance, after beating the Toulouse defender only to run it out of play, and a couple of half efforts from Steven Gerrard, were the only other stand out moments of the half.
Voronin scored after 43 minutes when he took the ball down well, after making space for himself, with his body facing away form goal. Turned on the ball and struck it excellently for it to fly into the top right hand corner to Leave Douchez in the Toulouse goal no chance.
HT: Toulouse 0-1 Liverpool
With the sweltering heat in France and after 45 minutes of play, the boys would obviously be feeling it through the second half. Liverpool let the French side get into the game more, and looked settled to sit back and defend their 1-0 lead. Peter Crouch had Liverpool’s only real decent chance of the half when he broke away from the Toulouse defense and tried to round the keeper only for the goalkeeper to get down low to intercept the ball. Toulouse had more clear cut chances in the second half and nearly surprised Liverpool when just after the hour mark Elmander (the man tipped to be their main threat) got rid of his marker to get on the end of a ball in from the right only for Pepe Reina to save well. Captain Steven Gerrard was substituted with 25 minutes to go for Momo Sissoko, presumably with Chelsea in mind, and hopefully hadn’t picked up a knock. Liverpool saw out the game, and are now a game away from the group stages of the Champions league.
Well done to the boys today. A professional performance, all be it not the most entertaining of games, but the result is what counts and they now go into the big match on Saturday full of confidence.
FT: Toulouse 0-1 Liverpool
Man of the Match: Javier Mascherano
Toulouse: Douchez, Ebondo, Fofana, Cetto, Mathieu, Dieuze (captain), Sirieix, Emana, Cesar, Elmander, Bergougnoux
Subs – Riou, Jonsson, , Sissoko, Gignac, Mansare, Batlles
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Hyypia, Carragher, Finnan, Babel, Gerrard (captain), Mascherano, Benayoun, Crouch, Voronin
Subs – Agger, Riise, Torres, Kuyt, Itandje, Alonso, Sissoko
Goal: Voronin (43 mins)
Report by Matthew Watson