Reds win all-important for bullish Benitez
Rafael Benitez brushed aside criticism of Liverpool's downbeat 1-0 Champions League victory over Hungarian champions Debrecen by insisting he was happy because it was a win.
Liverpool's display in this opening Group E clash was way short of their best, and they were made to struggle by a team playing in the group stages for the first time.
Dirk Kuyt grabbed the winner in the final seconds of the first period, but despite dominating throughout and creating a glut of chances, Liverpool were unable to produce a convincing scoreline.
The Liverpool manager said: "We made a lot of chances and just did not take them. So because of that we ended up under pressure at the end of the match when we should have been winning comfortably.
"But Debrecen can take credit for their display, this may be their first game at this level but they have dominated in Hungary for several years and you could see why.
"They were well organised and worked very hard. What we had to do was score the second goal, and then it would have been easier. But we could not manage to do that.''
But this was Liverpool's third win on the trot after a worrying start to the season. Benitez said: "We were in control for most of the match, they had just one shot from a counter-attack. But although we did not score the goals we wanted, we did win and I'm happy with that.
"We are confident now, we are winning games in a row and we have started the Champions League with three points. But hopefully we will be much better next time. We did not know too much about Debrecen, but we knew they had good players and they would have to show their quality on a higher stage. But they certainly did that.''
Debrecen coach Andras Herczeg said: "We were still in with a chance at the end. It says everything that I put on an extra striker and Rafa Benitez responded by putting on a world-class midfielder(Javier Mascherano). That speaks for itself, we were threatening and they wanted to make sure they hung onto the win.
"We were maybe a little overawed at the beginning with everything about Anfield. They are a world-class team and they were always going to create a lot of chances. But it was a shame we conceded the goal so close to the break, we were not concentrating and paid for that. We certainly stood up to the pressure they created and the chances they made.''