Kuyt strike gives Liverpool the points

Liverpool 1 Debrecen 0

Dirk Kuyt's 12th goal in 35 Champions League games for Liverpool saw the Anfield men claim an opening Group E victory but there was nothing to suggest a Madrid final in May is on the cards.

The Dutchman is now Liverpool's third-highest scorer in this competition and they were more than thankful for his eventual winner in the final seconds of the first half.

The Hungarian champions did their best, while Liverpool were some way short of their peak.

Rafael Benitez took charge of his 300th Liverpool match as the Reds produced their 100th victory in this competition - their first was 45 years ago - but the Spaniard would have wanted a better display than this to mark a little piece of Liverpool history.

This was Debrecen's debut in the group stages but if they cannot improve on this showing they may well not win a point.

Liverpool kept faith with the side that had produced their best performance on Saturday in beating Burnley 4-0, with Fabio Aurelio on the bench for his first involvement of the season following a knee injury.

But they were sluggish and uninspired and it took them an awfully long time in the first period to get some reward for their total domination.

In fact there were barely a couple of seconds left in the half to restart the match when Kuyt forced the ball home after Vukasin Poleksic had palmed out a Fernando Torres drive.

Before that it had been one-way traffic towards the Hungarian champions' goal.

Such was the general wastefulness, even Steven Gerrard was squandering chances regularly. Three efforts sailed wide, a header dropped over the crossbar and a low drive flashed inches wide.

Albert Riera was equally at fault. Three times he was put away, and on each occasion Poleksic got a hand on the efforts.

Gerrard even found himself booked for taking a free-kick too quickly by Portuguese official Pedro Proenca, who had clearly pointed to his whistle telling the Liverpool skipper to wait.

It was unnecessary, and could come back to haunt the England star as the competition progresses and suspensions become damaging.

And so it went on. The nearest Liverpool came before Kuyt's strike was after 30 minutes when Norbert Meszaros kicked off the line from the Dutchman after another Poleksic save from Riera.

The only time Jose Reina was called into action was to touch over a 20-yard effort from Meszaros.

Liverpool improved after the break, which was not difficult, and Gerrard smashed a swerving 25-yarder against the crossbar before Yossi Benayoun went on a brilliant run past a string of defenders before forcing Poleksic into a fumbling save at the foot of the near post.

Lucas, having another fine game in midfield, saw a powerful header flash wide but Liverpool were seemingly playing with a belief that one goal was enough.

But that is a dangerous policy, and Debrecen caused some worrying moments towards the end as they almost took advantage of a succession of set-plays.

Ryan Babel came on with 10 minutes left for Riera, his first appearance since yet another outburst over his lack of matches, and he produced one clever juggling act to fire just wide.

But Adamo Coulibaly, Debrecen's French frontman, almost punished Liverpool by forcing his way through and stabbing a shot wide after 82 minutes.

That Liverpool sent on the defensive Javier Mascherano for the inventive Benayoun with three minutes left, and then Aurelio for Kuyt in injury time, said everything about Benitez's concerns and frustrations about what he was watching.

He certainly could not afford to see a couple of points thrown away by a piece of sloppy defending and there were certainly a few of those.

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence