x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Keane has Reds in cruise control

Robbie Keane scores his first goal for Liverpool as Rafael Benitez's men completed a comfortable 3-1 win over PSV Eindhoven at Anfield.

Robbie Keane scores his first goal for Liverpool since his transfer from Tottenham in the summer.
Robbie Keane scores his first goal for Liverpool since his transfer from Tottenham in the summer.

LIVERPOOL // On the verge of the Champions League knock-out stage and joint top of the Premier League, it all looks rather rosy for Liverpool. And there is a steely determination to keep it that way as things begin to fit into place for the manager Rafa Benitez. A perfect night - a 10th European goal for Dirk Kuyt, a first for summer signing Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard's 100th for the club - ended the brittle resistance of a poor PSV Eindhoven side.

The 3-1 win was made comfortable by the Dutch side's disappointing display and the biggest test will come in the next two games against Group D joint-leaders Atletico Madrid, who beat Marseille 2-1 to also register two wins from two. But unbeaten so far this season, and with Keane and Gerrard having claimed key landmark goals against PSV, the mood in theAnfield camp is highly optimistic. An instinctive right-foot finish from Keane saw the celebration somersaults on show for the first time in front of the Liverpool fans as he ended his 11-game wait for a goal.

The £20million (Dh139m) man said: "I didn't worry about it. I knew it would come and I would score goals. I didn't get myself down about it; I felt confident every game and didn't change anything. "When I was a kid, I dreamed of scoring for Liverpool and doing the celebration. I do it [the somersaults] on special occasions, but it will go back into the box now. "It was a great moment to get a standing ovation from the fans when I came off. Everyone at the club has been supportive from the start and it's nice to pay the fans back a little bit. Hopefully there are more goals to come. Me and Stevie [Gerrard] had a chat afterwards and we were saying that it's always nice to get these things out of the way because people speak about them a lot more than us. "But it's not about me, it's about the team. We can't count our chickens too much, but at Liverpool football club, you aim to win things and we are looking to win trophies. "We can't get too cocky. There's still four games to go, but this sets us up nicely and gives us a lot of confidence. We've now got Manchester City on Sunday and we're looking forward to that, hopefully we can continue winning." Gerrard concurs, buoyant after a rasping 25-yard drive made him the latest centurion for the Reds - and the first midfielder in their history."Just to be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of [Kenny] Dalglish, [Ian] Rush and [Robbie] Fowler makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck." he said. "I don't think I will be challenging any of their scoring records though so I don't think they've got anything to worry about on that front. For me now, the important thing is to challenge for trophies and medals because personal achievements are always nice, but it's the team that counts. Confidence is really high at the moment." akhan@thenational.ae

"The financial gap between the Dutch clubs and the rest of Europe is too big now," he added "When you see the players in Italy, Spain and England, there is a difference. We are just happy to be in the Champions League whereas they must win. It is a problem for the Netherlands." Liverpool's next opponents Atletico Madrid top Group D on goal difference after a 2-1 home win over Olympique Marseille and Benitez refused to get carried away before the two sides meet next in Madrid on Oct 22. "We have to play four more games and we know from experience from last season how important it is to keep going to the end. We have to win until we get ten points," he said. *Reuters

Bordeaux 1 Roma 3 CFR Cluj 0 Chelsea 0 Anorthosis Famagusta 3 Panathinaikos 1 Inter Milan 1 Werder Bremen 1 Shakhtar Donetsk 1 Barcelona 2 Sporting Lisbon 2 Basel 0 Atletico Madrid 2 Marseille 1 Liverpool 3 PSV Eindhoven 1