Andras Herczeg: 'Liverpool were scared of losing'

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The Independent Football

Champions League new boys Debrecen almost made fools of five-times winners Liverpool last night at Anfield and the coach of Hungarian champions Debrecen, Andras Herczeg, suggested Rafael Benitez's side were scared of throwing away a victory at the end.

Liverpool eventually won this group E clash 1-0, with Dirk Kuyt grabbing his 12th Champions League goal for the club.

But in the final stages, Debrecen were close to embarrassing Liverpool.

Herczeg said: "It says everything that in those final minutes I sent on an extra striker, and Rafael Benitez sent on a world-class midfielder, Javier Mascherano, to make sure that they did not throw away a victory."

Manager Benitez brushed aside criticism of Liverpool's down-beat victory insisting: "We won, so I'm happy."

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."

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."

Herczeg added: "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."