Baltic breeze

Liverpool came from behind to beat Kaunas in the Champions League second round qualifier first leg.

Giedrius Barevicius' close range finish put the Lithuanians ahead on 21 minutes, but soon Liverpool led.

Debutant Peter Crouch's header set up Djibril Cisse for the equaliser, with Jamie Carragher's header putting Liverpool 2-1 ahead.

Early in the second half Steven Gerrard won and converted a penalty to claim his sixth goal in Europe this season.

Soon after his goal Gerrard was withdrawn to be replaced by Mohamed Sissoko, as the former Valencia midfielder made his Liverpool debut.

Crouch had a promising debut, with his height causing Kaunas problems, while the big striker also held up the ball well, in the process helping to bring other players into the game.

Liverpool's defence looked altogether more rusty.

On a couple of occasions in the opening stage Kaunas almost sprung Liverpool's offside trap, but Barevicius' goal gave the European Champions a real jolt.

The Kaunas midfielder got in front of a clutch of Liverpool defenders at the near post to prod home Arturas Rimkevicius' cross.

Kaunas' goal galvanised Liverpool into a more offensive approach, with Zenden starting to see more of the ball.

On 27 minutes one of the Dutch winger's crosses was headed down by Crouch, a header pounced on by Cisse, whose instinctive half volley surprised Eduardas Kurskis.

Liverpool's second came from a more unlikely source considering Carragher last scored six years ago, in an 7-1 home win over Southampton in January 1999.

The Liverpool defender ran to the near post to meet Gerrard's corner and his glancing header crossed the line after taking a slight deflection off Irmantas Zelmikas.

Just before the interval the Kaunas defender enjoyed better fortune when he raced back to his goal to clear a Cisse shot off the line.

Gerrard, who had scored five goals in the previous round, made the game safe early in the second half.

After exchanging passes with Crouch, Gerrard strode into the Kaunas penalty area where he was upended by Mindaugas Baguzis.

The Liverpool captain made no mistake with a fiercely struck penalty.

Late on Cisse should have added a fourth, but he scooped the ball over the bar, after he had released by Luis Garcia.

Liverpool might have won the game easily in the end, but Kaunas provided the match's most skillful moment - Eimantas Poderis outrageous flick when the ball was behind him almost sneaking past Reina.

Copyright - BBC

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