Gerrard inspires Liverpool coup

Dynamo Kiev 1 Liverpool 2
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The Independent Football

Liverpool's stand-in manager Phil Thompson enjoyed a winning start to his first full match in charge of the Anfield club. Steven Gerrard, the England midfielder, made one goal and scored another as the Reds snatched a victory in Ukraine that keeps them on course for the second group stage of the Champions' League.

Thompson is deputising for Gérard Houllier, who is still in intensive care after his major heart surgery on Saturday. He sent out a team that had just Emile Heskey up front, with Vladimir Smicer preferred to Jari Litmanen as the deep-lying forward.

Kiev went for Liverpool from the start, with Valentin Belkevich prominent in his raids from midfield and Alexander Melashchenko, with 11 goals in 13 domestic games this season, causing worry every time he got near the ball.

The Polish goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek made a wonderful save after 14 minutes to stop Kiev going ahead. Stéphane Henchoz's foul on Florin Cernat presented a free-kick chance on the edge of the box. The ball was touched to Tiberi Ghioane, who smashed the ball through Liverpool's wall only for Dudek to turn the effort over the top.

Dudek then made three more saves inside a couple of minutes of frantic pressure. First Melashchenko's shot was deflected and the Polish keeper blocked the effort with his legs. Then Belkevich fired in a low drive that Dudek blocked, and the same player forced Dudek into a point-blank block from a fierce drive.

Despite all the pressure, Liverpool broke away and took the lead after 42 minutes. Gerrard's superb deep ball dropped into the Kiev box, and Danny Murphy was there to coolly shoot home with his first touch from six yards, with the goalkeeper Vitaly Reva helpless and the fervent Ukrainian crowd stunned.

After the break it took Kiev 14 minutes to equalise. Heskey conceded a free-kick out on the left, and when the ball was hoisted into the box it got beyond the far post for the Romanian Ghioane to fire home past a startled Dudek.

Liverpool brought on Patrik Berger for Nick Barmby on 61 minutes and the Czech midfielder played his part in his side's second goal.

After 67 minutes Berger's ball in from the left was knocked back from beyond the far post by Smicer. Gerrard took possession, shifted the ball onto his left foot and fired in a shot that clipped off Goran Gavrancic and into the far corner of the net.

Dynamo Kiev: Reva; Khatskevich, Holovko, Vashchuk, Melashchenko (Idahor, 79), Belkevich, Ghioane, Cernat, Bodnar (Husin, 55), Nesmachny, Gavrancic. Substitutes not used: Filimonov (gk), Peyev, Fedorov, Venglinski, Serebrennikov.

Liverpool: Dudek; Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Riise, McAllister, Smicer (Redknapp, 80), Gerrard, Murphy, Barmby (Berger, 61), Heskey. Substitutes not used: Kirkland (gk), Fowler, Partridge, Wright, Litmanen.

Referee: C Colombo (France).

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