Benitez: We've paid a heavy price for win

November 22, 2006

Rafael Benitez revealed that Liverpool have paid a heavy price for winning Champions League group C with a 2-0 home win over PSV Eindhoven.

Chile winger Mark Gonzalez has a torn hamstring and could be out for at least three weeks, while Jermaine Pennant has a strained hamstring and is very doubtful for Saturday's home league game with Manchester City.

Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso was also taken off in the Anfield match with a leg muscle injury.

Benitez said: 'We are very pleased with the victory, it was good for the players, the fans and the whole club.

'But to lose three players with injuries is a high price. It made it a very hard match to manage, when you see players being taken off like that - two in the first half - it does limit what you can do as a manager.

'We found ourselves having to use Luis Garcia, who was not 100% after being out for three weeks with a calf injury, while Bolo Zenden too, was forced into the game without any warm-up because the injuries happened so quickly.'

But boss Benitez was delighted with the performance of Steven Gerrard, who scored the first goal and led the side with drive and passion throughout.

He said: 'We played very professionally, and Steven had a fine game. He scored another goal and it was good to see him playing with such confidence, the whole team were happy to see that.'

PSV boss Ronald Koeman maintained that the difference between the sides was the performance of Gerrard.

Said Koeman: 'The quality of Gerrard was outstanding, it was an excellent midfield performance and was something we could not match.'

Koeman was critical of his own side's overall play, and said: 'We did not do too badly, we did not give away possession but our build up play from the back let us down.

'We have dangerous players up front but if we do not get the ball to them properly, we will not score goals.

'A lot of our play was really sloppy, if you do that you do not create much up front.'

Koeman, who confirmed that he lost Phillip Cocu with a fever just before the match, added: 'We were not prepared to risk him because of the important games we have coming up.

'It would have been good to have won at Anfield, but playing away to Liverpool is very different to playing Galatasaray and Bordeaux on their own grounds.

'We know we have qualified, but we still want to end the group with a victory against Bordeaux in our last match, that would send us into the winter in good spirits.'