Liverpool 1-0 Debrecen – What the papers say

So a win’s a win and Liverpool have got maximum points after the first game of their Champions League campaign.

It wasn’t a pretty performance, but it was a win nonetheless. Let’s see what the national papers have been saying after Liverpool 1-0 Debrecen.

Henry Winter of The Telegraph found enough merit in Dirk Kuyt’s performance to warrant this report:

Kuyt shone, buzzing around intelligently, taking his first-half goal well and departing to a standing ovation.

Oliver Kay summarieses Debrecen’s performance on their first game in the Champions League, and first ever visit to Anfield in The Times:

Debrecen could be said to have given it a go — they had 14 attempts on goal, three of them on target — but those figures are slightly misleading. They were less adventurous than Havant & Waterlooville were in threatening an FA Cup upset at Anfield last year.

Later in his article, Kay notices an all-too-familiar sight of Liverpool play in the opening part of the game:

For the first half-hour, Liverpool had been in that strange mode that sometimes afflicts them, where, at the same time, they look too casual and too rushed.

Andy Hunter of The Guardian also reflects on a not so memorable night of European football at Anfield:

This victory will not reside long in the annals beyond its statistical value, with Liverpool again making a gruelling night’s work of a game they should have won with greater comfort than Dirk Kuyt’s scrappy first-half goal.

However, a win is a win and the important thing to remember is that Liverpool took all three points last night – and are winning when they’re not playing to their best ability. Hunter adds:

To the pragmatic Benítez, however, the mission is not a romantic journey home to Spain but getting the job done. His players, though scared by two chances for Adamo Coulibaly late on, fulfilled their obligations on that score.

Sam Wallace of The Independent was critical of the Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard partnership:

They should have bulldozed the Hungarian champions but, come the last few minutes, Benitez was still an anxious observer on the edge of his technical area. Fernando Torres of all people looked a touch indecisive in front of goal, electing to pass rather than shoot. Steven Gerrard was not his usual destructive presence.

Wallace goes on to suggest that the news that Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett may be looking to sell 25% of the club to a Middle Eastern investor should rather be the focus of the night’s news at Anfield:

Preoccupations off the pitch dominated for Liverpool last night. There are strong suggestions that the club’s owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett – who own 50 per cent of the club each – are trying to sell 25 per cent of the total shareholding. The £100m they hope to raise will go towards building the new stadium, with the pair keeping control of the club.

Read what the fans thought of the game, and join in the post-match discussions here.