Ngog leads Liverpool past Steaua
David Ngog scored twice as Liverpool opened its Europa League campaign with a 4-1 victory over Steaua Bucharest on Thursday.
Joe Cole put Liverpool in front after just 27 seconds, but Cristian Tanase leveled in the 13th minute by chipping goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
The Romanian side frustrated the five-time European Cup winners until Ngog scored from the penalty spot in the 56th after Pantelis Kapetanos had fouled Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
It was a comfortable end to the match at Anfield as Lucas Leiva dispatched a third goal from distance in the 81st and Ngog rounded off the win in stoppage time.
Liverpool next faces FC Utrecht in two weeks. The Dutch side was held 0-0 by Napoli in the other Group K match on Thursday.
Cole's goal was his first since joining Liverpool from Chelsea in the offseason on a free transfer.
Octavian Abduran, under pressure from Cole, left his back pass short and the England midfielder nipped in to sidefoot the ball past goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu and in off the far post.
"I've been a month without playing. It's been a bit stop-start but I was really happy to get going," said Cole, who was suspended for three matches after being sent off on his Premier League debut for Liverpool against Arsenal.
A defensive lapse allowed Steaua to equalize. Defenders Martin Kelly and Kyrgiakos allowed Tanase to nip in between them to collect Bogdan Stancu's throughball and neatly float the ball over Reina.
"They tried to stop us playing in the first half, but after the break it opened up a bit," Cole said. "It was a tough game, but a good result."