Football: Liverpool back to winning ways

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

BRUCE GROBBELAAR yesterday admitted that Liverpool were relieved to escape with a 2-1 second-leg victory over Apollon Limassol in the first round of the Uefa Cup after having Paul Stewart sent off.

Under normal circumstances Tuesday's tie in Cyprus, which Liverpool began with the cushion of a five-goal lead, would not have caused them a moment's unease, but despite the mediocrity of the opposition, any win was welcome after the three previous domestic games in which Liverpool had shipped 11 goals.

'The players arrived back feeling relieved,' Grobbelaar said. 'It is very important we won because if we had lost or drawn everyone would have been on our backs. We were down to 10 men with a silly sending-off and good play-acting by their keeper.

'We deserved to go through, we played good football on a difficult surface. The young ones have shown they can play but in this game the experienced ones did really well.'

Liverpool have not issued a medical bulletin on Mark Wright, who was reported to have a 'dead leg' and a calf injury which stopped him travelling to Cyprus.

Everton are set to recall Paul Rideout in attack to face Oldham at Boundary Park on Sunday in the hope of ending their recent goal famine. Rideout scored his first two goals for the club in a reserve game at Coventry on Tuesday and proved he has recovered from a shoulder injury which has restricted his appearances since his pounds 500,000 move from Rangers.

The Goodison club have failed to score in four of their last six matches. Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, said: 'I am told Paul played very well at Highfield Road. The goals will have given him confidence. He played a big part in the decent start we had, giving us an important extra dimension.

'I accept he hasn't taken the place by storm in terms of what the fans expect to see from a striker - goals. But the two he got last night would have given him an important lift.'

Birmingham City's striker Simon Sturridge will be out of action for up to a month with a rib injury, after colliding with Cambridge United's goalkeeper John Sheffield in Tuesday's Anglo-Italian Cup match at St Andrews.