PSV coach Koeman surprised by Benitez's tinkering
AMSTERDAM, Sept 13 (Reuters) - PSV Eindhoven coach Ronald Koeman said he was surprised by Liverpool's starting line-up for their Champions League Group C opener on Tuesday.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez made drastic changes to the side that was beaten 3-0 by Everton in the Mersey derby on Saturday, including leaving England midfielder Steven Gerrard and striker Peter Crouch on the bench.
'We knew that Benitez makes changes but starting without Crouch, (Sami) Hyypia and Gerrard, was an enormous surprise for us,' Koeman told reporters after the 0-0 stalemate.
PSV are still adjusting from the sale of target man Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink to Celtic in the transfer window and Koeman said he was pleased with the performance.
'I had the feeling my team is still improving. We had several changes last week, while you have to play super to beat Liverpool,' he said. 'We played with common sense and didn't take too many risks.'
Hesselink's replacement, Patrick Kluivert, played no part in the game against the 2005 champions despite the former Dutch international warming up for more then 30 minutes.
'This was a match of the highest level and we knew that Patrick (Kluivert) is not completely ready,' added Koeman.
'I would have used him if we fell behind or if one my strikers would be injured, but now he will be used on Sunday.'
As the other match in the group between Girondins Bordeaux and Galatasaray also ended goalless, the group is still wide open. PSV face Bordeaux next when they are likely to start with Phillip Cocu and Kluivert.
'Beforehand we knew that there are no big differences in this group and the results prove that,' said Koeman.
'But if you want to qualify you have to get some points away from home, so now we have to beat Galatasaray or Bordeaux in their own stadium.'