Sandwiched by a pair of FC Utrecht defenders, ALJE SCHUT (17) and TIM CORNELISSE (2), Liverpool’s England World Cup winger JOE COLE (10) attempts to settle the ball with a high boot at the Stadion Galgenwaard in the Netherlands. (Reuters photo)
UEFA Europa League
0 – FC Utrecht (HOL)
0 – FC Liverpool (ENG)
In what turned out to be a battle of back-up World Cup goalkeepers, visiting English Premier League club LIVERPOOL and Dutch Eredivisie side FC UTRECHT produced a 0-0 draw in Group K of the UEFA Europa League.
Holland World Cup forward DIRK KUYT of Liverpool, who made 160 league appearances (51 goals) over five seasons for FC Utrecht before transferring to Feyenoord Rotterdam in the summer of 2003, was given a warm welcome by the faithful at the Stadion Galgenwaard before the match.
Meanwhile, Spain’s PEPE REINA made several sharp plays between the sticks for Liverpool while Dutchman MICHEL VORM proved himself unbeatable at the other end for FC Utrecht.
Spain World Cup champion striker FERNANDO TORRES, who scored 18 goals in 22 league games to lead the Reds last term, made his first appearance for Liverpool in Europe this season. However, the 26-year-old attacker, who has found the back of the net just once in six Premier League games to start the new campaign, continued his struggles to score. Torres did have one quality shot on target that was turned aside by the quick reflexes of Vorm in the 57th minute.
FC Utrecht striker RICKY VAN WOLFSWINKEL, who had scored six goals in six UEFA Europa League matches and another seven goals in seven Dutch league games so far this season coming into the contest versus Liverpool, was effectively restrained by the Reds’ defense for the evening.
Zambia international striker JACOB MULENGA, FC Utrecht’s leading goal-scorer in the Eredivisie, had a late opportunity for the game-winner in a one-on-one situation with Reina but sent his shot wide of the post.
Watched by Liverpool’s England World Cup defender JAMIE CARRAGHER (23), the back-up goalkeeper for Spain’s World Cup championship squad, PEPE REINA, gets down to deal with the ball at the feet of FC Utrecht forward RICKY VAN WOLFSWINKEL, at the Stadion Galgenwaard. (Reuters photo)
FC UTRECHT : Vorm – Cornelisse, Schut, Wuytens, Nesu – Duplan (Maguire 69′), Lensky (Nijholt 82′), Silberbauer, Mertens – van Wolfswinkel, Mulenga
FC LIVERPOOL : Reina – Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson – Poulsen, Lucas – Cole, Kuyt, Meireles (Rodriguez 81′) – Torres
With FC Utrecht’s Zambia international forward JACOB MULENGA (24), who had not played the UEFA Europa League on account of injury since early August, having tracked all the way back into his own penalty area, Spain World Cup champion striker FERNANDO TORRES (9) of Liverpool lets loose a volley at the Stadion Galgenwaard in Holland. (Reuters photo)