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Next
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 20, 2006

'I wanted Alonso to pass not shoot' - quips Benitez

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez admitted he thought Xabi Alonso should have passed before scoring his stunning goal against Newcastle tonight.

Alonso struck from his own half of the field for the second time in his Liverpool career as the Reds moved into the top half of the Barclays Premiership with a 2-0 win at Anfield.

Alonso's stunning strike came after Dirk Kuyt had given Liverpool the lead with his first goal for the club in the first half.

Benitez said: 'We showed that we can play good football, we can create chances and score some goals.

'Maybe we deserved one or two more goals but at the end of the day we got one very good score and one amazing goal.

'I think he (Alonso) played well but I was thinking of telling him off because I was watching (Steven) Gerrard running forward out wide.

'He could have passed it but in the end it was great vision and congratulations. He practises it all the time and I am always telling him to be careful when shooting from distance.'

Alonso's goal was his first since scoring from his own half in the FA Cup against Luton in January.

On that occasion too, Gerrard had berated him for not passing, only to applaud as the ball bounced into the net.

This time he netted from 65 yards, lobbing Steve Harper as he stumbled trying to get back to his line.

Benitez added: 'I am pleased with the number of chances we created and defensively it was another clean sheet as well.

'It is important to have clean sheets, like last season. Clean sheets are not just for defenders they are for the team.

'We created many chances and I think our supporters enjoyed the game tonight.'

Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder felt his side deserved better than to be trailing 1-0 at half-time but admitted Alonso's strike was a special one.

He said: 'I don't think fans realise the technique or how difficult striking a ball like that is.

'It was a brilliant bit of skill but having said that if Steve hadn't slipped it would have been a great long pass into his arms.'

He added: 'We were disappointed to come in a goal down at half-time.

'For all Liverpool's pressure I thought we defended well but their goal was a shocking one for us tactically.'

Both managers played down suggestions of an incident in the tunnel involving Liverpool's former Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy and Magpies assistant boss Terry McDermott - an ex-Reds player - after the game.

Benitez said: 'I heard some shouting but it was only two or three seconds. It was nothing more than that.'

Roeder said: 'I'm not aware of anything. Terry McDermott is an experienced coach and that would be way below him to get involved in anything like that when he represents a club like ours.'