Rafa hails Voronin after wonder strike

August 15, 2007

Rafael Benitez hailed the 'wonderful goal' by Andriy Voronin that put Liverpool within touching distance of the Champions League group stages.

The Liverpool manager watched as his free signing from Bayer Leverkusen netted the only goal in the away leg of their qualifying tie against Toulouse.

Benitez said: 'Andriy scored a wonderful goal, it summed up his qualities as a very fine striker.

'He is clever, has great game awareness and gives us so many more options in attack.

'He can play behind a main striker, lead the line himself, or come into the attack from the flanks.

'And of course he can score truly great goals like that. But we must not think this tie is over.

'We did a very professional job in a match played in difficult conditions. It was so hot for the players and we were having to give them water continually.

'But the referee stopped us throwing the bottles onto the pitch. The players had to come to the sidelines to drink, which was a little strange considering the conditions.'

Liverpool will now be expected to secure their passage through to the last 16 at Anfield in a fortnight - even if Benitez was predictably cagey about the second leg.

The Spaniard added: 'We must not think we are already through. This tie is not yet over, it is just one goal. We know they are a very good side who like to hit teams on the counter-attack, which is what they will try to do at Anfield.'

The only worry for Benitez could be skipper Steven Gerrard's reaction to a heavy second-half tackle that saw him limp away with an ankle problem.

Benitez said: 'We shall have to wait and see about that, I do not know yet whether it is a problem.'

Toulouse coach Elie Baup conceded that his team found the searing heat and the quality of the opposition a problem.

He said: 'In those conditions it is hard to keep running and trying to create things when you are playing against a side with such experience and quality.

'Our players lack the experience of playing in this competition and they found Liverpool's ability and technical quality hard to cope with out there.'