Oh what a goal, and what a game. More on the sensational goal, but aside from the first fifteen minutes, where Liverpool went up two goals to none, this matchup of Galatasary and Liverpool at Anfield was a real open end-to-end affair.
In press conferences leading up to Gala’s visit to Merseyside, coach Erik Gerets expressed his delight in watching his team in action on what he called the "holy ground" of Anfield. While the Belgian claimed he’d be content with a draw, he stressed: "If we have the feeling that we have a little bit of a chance to win this game, we will do everything that we can." Perhaps a draw may have been a bit pessimistic for Gerets, but he probably didn’t see his side being two down within fifteen minutes.
The Turkish leaders were seemingly on the back foot the entire first half, but were able to create a few chances in front of
Gala walked into halftime with nearly 50% of possession, but they did little with the ball when they had it, and
And that incredible goal, coming in the 52nd minute from Crouch. The lanky forward tossed his hat in the ring for best
Gala’s first chance of the second half came in the 53rd, on a free kick in front of
In the 54th, Umit Karan did what he came on for, taking a nice ball in from Arda on the left, and found himself between two defenders, slotting it home with his head for his 5th CL career goal. The pace picked up and the game fell into a wonderfully open game, with both teams trading possession and an ample amount of counter-attacking.
It became a game just ten minutes later, when a lovely cross from Sabri on the right to find Umit Karan splitting the defenders again to powerfully head the ball home. From there,
You really got a sense that Galatasary did well to make this a match, and were it not for defensive lapses early in the game, the Turkish side pulled two back with stunning balls in, and give
But will Rafa face any knocks for his tactics? Already criticized for his rotational policy, playing Gerrard out of position, his team failed to really close down the game, and Gala's attacks from the right consistently harassed the Liverpool defense. You can be sure we'll hear about the need for Sissoko in midfield to bolster the back line, as Gerrard wasn't able to do so. In the end, much needed goals for Rafa's men, and a heartbreaker for Galatasary.
Reds fired by Crouch double [UEFA.com]