Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Reds Looking for a Miracle; Liverpool's Hopes Hanging by a Thread after Leveller

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Reds Looking for a Miracle; Liverpool's Hopes Hanging by a Thread after Leveller

Article excerpt

Lyon 1 Liverpool 1 LIVERPOOL'S hearts were broken by a cruel last-minute equaliser that may have ended their Champions League dreams for a traumatic season.

The much-maligned Ryan Babel had scored a wonderful goal with just seven minutes left and if Liverpool could have hung on to that lead they would still have had a realistic chance of reaching the last 16.

But Liverpool's season has been littered with shattering luck and bitter body blows, as well as beach-ball goals. And when Lisandro struck an equaliser in the final seconds for Lyon - sending them into the last 16 - Liverpool knew their own hopes were left hanging by a thread.

Fiorentina's expected win over Debrecen keeps them firmly in second spot and Liverpool will need more than a miracle now after this devastating blow.

Daniel Agger passed a late fitness test on his back injury to play in this crunch Group E clash in the Stade Gerland. Fernando Torres was also in the starting line-up, while Alberto Aquilani was on the bench, Andriy Voronin partnering Torres up front.

Liverpool defended deep and in numbers, desperate not to concede early while Lyon had plenty of possession. They moved the ball around crisply and Michel Bastos tested Jose Reina from 20 yards while the giant Bafetimbi Gomis had Liverpool's keeper stretching again with a 25-yarder. The French side then lost Anthony Reveillere and Miralem Pjanic to leg injuries with Lamine Gassama and Ederson taking their places.

Liverpool's third decent chance of the half came after a foul on Fernando Torres deep in his own half.

Javier Mascherano's quick free-kick cleared Lyon's back line and allowed Voronin a clear run at goal.

His shot was low, but Hugo Lloris was up to the task, blocking the effort with his legs.

Agger was booked after 33 minutes for blocking Gomis' run on the halfway line, with Lisandro cautioned for a foul on Dirk Kuyt a minute later. Lyon started the second period with a quicker tempo, and Lisandro hooked over an Aly Cissokho cross. The full-back's next cross saw Bastos head over the far angle.

The match was now unbelievably tense, one mistake could ruin a creditable performance by Liverpool. …

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