EINDHOVEN - Liverpool cruised to a 3-1 win at PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday that earned them top place in Group D of the Champions League. The English league leaders went into the match second to Atletico Madrid in the group although equal on points but the Spanish side could only manage a 0-0 draw away to Olympique Marseille in their final match. PSV, who finished fourth in the group, are out of Europe before the end of the year for the first time in six seasons. Danko Lazovic put PSV ahead nine minutes before the interval when he hit the net from close range after the Liverpool defence failed to clear a Balazs Dzsudzsak corner. Liverpool replied before the break with Ryan Babel heading home a free kick from Lucas after David N'Gog had wasted a clear header seconds earlier. Albert Riera handed the visitors the lead with a spectacular long drive 22 minutes from time (pictured) and N'Gog sealed the victory after 77 minutes with his first goal for Liverpool. Rafael Benitez left several of his big guns in England, while Steven Gerrard and Xavi Alonso were kept on the bench for the full 90 minutes, but the youngsters rewarded their manager for his faith in them with a convincing fourth win in the group. "I'm really pleased finishing top of the group but also to see how a lot of young players performed on this stage," Benitez said. "I was disappointed about the goal we conceded because it wasn't a corner," he told reporters. "I saw a lot of positive things tonight with Lucas and N'Gog as examples who did well, while Diego Cavalieri was good in goal," he added. The Dutch champions, who are also struggling with their domestic form, never really showed belief in a good result despite opening the scoring. "We made a hesitant start to this match but fought back and took a deserved lead," PSV coach Huub Stevens said. "But when we expected to reach the break with a lead something happened that shouldn't and that continued after the break and then you lose on details against a team like Liverpool."
9 December 2008
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