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OPENER THE KEY

Posted on 11 May 2008  - 12:00

Juande Ramos felt the first goal was all-important as we slipped to defeat against Liverpool in the season's finale at the Lane.

Juande Ramos felt the first goal was all-important as we slipped to defeat against Liverpool in the season's finale at the Lane.

It was pretty much nip and tuck in the first half with both sides comfortable in possession and happy to ping the ball around but that possession led to few chances. Dimitar Berbatov came closest for us with a header that Pepe Reina turned around the post at full stretch while Radek Cerny flew through the air to deny Andriy Voronin's hooked volley.

We managed to get into some promosing positions in the second half without capitalising and were hit with 69 minutes on the clock when Voronin collected Fernando Torres' flick, steadied himself and finished from eight yards.

Reina produced the save of the game to deny an almost instant equaliser as Berbatov angled a volley towards the top corner but Torres made it 2-0 soon after and the Reds dominated after that.

Head Coach Juande reflected: "You would like to end the season with a victory but when you face a team like Liverpool it's tough, they are in the top four for a reason and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and then you have someone like Fernando Torres in such fine form, he was great for them.

"The game was evenly balanced up until the opening goal but Liverpool got that goal and that gave them the platform to go on and win the game. That was probably how it was going to be.

"Otherwise, I thought it was a typical end-of-season game, pretty relaxed with not too much riding on it."

Meanwhile, Juande reported that Jermaine Jenas was substitued at half-time because of injury - one of two changes with Tom Huddlestone and Teemu Tainio replacing JJ and Jamie O'Hara. "Jermaine had a slight injury but the second change was a normal, tactical change."

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