Rafa hails Kuyt as Liverpool's Euro hero

April 3, 2008

Rafael Benitez hailed goal hero Dirk Kuyt in Liverpool's 1-1 draw in Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Arsenal.

Kuyt got on the end of a stunning surge and cross from captain Steven Gerrard to equalise, just minutes after Emmanuel Adebayor had headed Arsenal ahead in the opening period.

Bur Benitez was equally impressed with Kuyt's all-round display, the Dutchman making it six goals in European competition for him this season - out of 10 overall for the campaign.

Benitez said: 'Kuyt was our man of the match - he ran and ran and ran.

'If we played another game straight afterwards he would still be running. He was always working and supporting.'

Liverpool staged a sterling defensive display to protect their draw, with the second leg at Anfield next Tuesday.

Benitez said: 'In the second half we were forced back, because Arsenal were attacking and attacking.

'They are such a good team, so we had to defend anyway we could. We had to play deep.

'It was important for us to hit back straight after they scored. If you do not do that you end up being 2-0 down very soon - and it is over.

'Always it is important to score away in the Champions League, always. Now we have the advantage of playing at Anfield in front of our own fans.

'Then if we score it will always be hard for them. It is a good situation for us, but still difficult.

'(Arsenal manager) Arsene (Wenger) may say they are still favourites, but he knows it will be as difficult for them as it will be for us.'