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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 27, 2006

Benitez relieved after Liverpool hang on for win

Rafael Benitez was relieved his Liverpool side hung on to a crucial Champions League victory against Galatasaray and searched for the positives from a nerve-racking night.

Liverpool were 3-0 up after two goals from Peter Crouch and one from Luis Garcia before the Turkish champions started to put them under pressure and pulled two back through substitute Umit Karan.

That created a worrying last half-hour with a revitalised Galatasaray constantly threatening an equaliser.

'It was a strange game, we started so well with lots of crosses, shots and goals,' said Benitez.

'And we were well on top after just 20 minutes. But maybe we were thinking the job had been done, and then they started to cause us problems.

'The positives were the amazing second goal by Crouch. When you see him score a goal like that, a fantastic hooked volley, then you understand his quality.

'But Galatasaray started to move forward when they were three down with nothing to lose. They attacked with lots of players and we had trouble controlling the game after that.

'But we have taken three points, we are still unbeaten in the group and we are top as well. If we win our final two home games we should qualify.'

He added: 'I am normally calm and trying to analyse the game in the closing minutes, but we were under pressure and it was very difficult.

'But we aim to continue to look forward to the next match and we are grateful for the three points.'

Crouch's goal stole the limelight and the England striker rated his best in a red shirt.

'It was great. It's nice to get a goal like that. It was obviously a special one,' he said.

Asked if it was his best goal for the club, he said: 'Yes I would say so - you don't get too many of those. Most of the time they go over the stand and thankfully that one went in the corner and it's got us the win, so it's great.'

He was quick to praise the supply line that set up his goals, a brilliant Fabio Aurelio cross for the first with Steve Finnan also finding him from the right for his second.

'I think everyone knows I thrive on that,' Crouch said. 'It was a superb cross from Fabio.'

However, Crouch admitted Liverpool were holding on for the final half-hour.

'It shouldn't have been that nervy,' he said. 'It was a confident 3-0 and we just wanted to see the game out.

'They're dangerous sides in the Champions League if you step back and allow teams to come on to you.

'We worked so hard in the first half maybe it caused a lapse in the second half.'

Galatasaray coach Erik Gerets was angry with the mistakes that allowed Liverpool into a three-goal lead.

He said: 'We forgot to play football in that first have, we were too impressed by the surroundings and the team we were facing.

'If you play like that with stars in your eyes, then you end up losing. If we had played in the first half like we did in the second it would have been a different story.

'In that second period the team played so much better and attacked more and caused them many problems.

'We could easily have scored more, we missed some late chances to equalise. Now we are crying and unhappy and I am angry that too many players made too many mistakes at crucial times to give them goals.'

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