Tag: Steven Gerrard

Premiership: Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was sent off 38 seconds after coming on as a half-time substitute as Manchester United retained their grip on a top-four place with a vital win at Anfield.

Gerrard was introduced for Adam Lallana at the start of the second half with United deservedly leading through Juan Mata’s early goal – but was gone almost as quickly after following up a thunderous tackle on the goalscorer with a reckless reaction to a challenge with a clear stamp on Ander Herrera.

It was inexcusable behaviour from a player of Gerrard’s experience, having just been handed the responsibility by manager Brendan Rodgers of getting an underperforming Liverpool side back into the game.

Mata emphasised the folly of Gerrard’s red card when he added a second with a sensational volley just before the hour to confirm United’s superiority in a game that confirmed the impression that manager Louis van Gaal is now getting the sort of performances and results he demands.

Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back to give Liverpool hope of an unlikely comeback but the visitors were never seriously threatened again and could even afford the luxury of Wayne Rooney seeing an injury-time penalty saved by Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet.

United built on last Sunday’s impressive 3-0 win against Tottenham to extend their lead to five points over Liverpool, who are a place behind in fifth.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Liverpool 3-2 Spurs

Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli picked the perfect time to score his first Premier League goal for the club as he stole the headlines from the battle between England strikers present and, potentially, future.

All the talk prematch was about Daniel Sturridge and his free-scoring Tottenham counterpart Harry Kane.

No-one had mentioned Balotelli, back in the squad for the first time in four matches after a substitute appearance in the Capital One Cup semifinal at Chelsea.

No-one had given him a second thought and when he replaced Sturridge after 74 minutes there were probably not many inside Anfield who gave him a hope of scoring.

But he displayed a predatory instinct not previously seen since his 16 million piund summer move from AC Milan to convert fellow substitute Adam Lallana’s cross from close range seven minutes from time.

If he does little else in his time at the club, which remains in doubt despite him surviving the January transfer window, his goal against the Reds’ top-four rivals could still prove pivotal.

It lifted his side to within two points of third-placed Southampton, who have a match in hand, and also fourth-placed Arsenal.

Without his late intervention the debate would have centred around Kane and Sturridge.

The Spurs striker scored his 23rd of the season, equalising Lazar Markovic’s opener, while the closest his opposite number came was a clever backheel against the post.

Sturridge did win the penalty from which Steven Gerrard scored his 10th of the campaign but that was soon cancelled out by Mousa Dembele’s close-range effort.

In truth there could not be a truly fair comparison between the two strikes on show as Sturridge was starting his first match since August 31 – coincidentally the 3-0 victory at White Hart Lane – after two substitute appearances while Kane has been on a hot streak since the end of September.

Sturridge, still feeling his way back into Premier League action after the thigh injury which sidelined him for five months, still looked half a yard short of his very best blistering pace but his reactions in front of goal seemed to be up to speed.

Twice Hugo Lloris denied him, once after Ryan Mason had given the ball away, but the France goalkeeper will question himself over Liverpool’s 15th-minute opener.

Simon Mignolet’s punt downfield dropped straight at Sturridge’s feet, Spurs did not clear and Markovic took full advantage to plant a shot past Lloris, who should have done better given his class.

Tottenham were losing the battle in midfield as Liverpool’s pace of passing and movement had them chasing shadows – which may explain why Nabil Bentaleb gave the ball straight to Sturridge and had to be rescued by Eric Dier’s saving tackle.

Momentum was with the hosts but Kane’s equaliser soon put the brakes on that.

The 21-year-old’s first sniff of a chance had been dealt with by Martin Skrtel but he made no mistake with his second, turning Mamadou Sakho and leaving the France defender on the floor as he collected Erik Lamela’s pass and fired under Mignolet.

It was the first goal Liverpool had conceded in 416 minutes and the first from open play since New Year’s Day.

The game opened up even more, which benefited youngster Jordon Ibe who drove one shot into Lloris after a good run and then crossed for Sturridge to backheel against a post as Tottenham’s defence panicked.

Sturridge maintained his threat after the break and it was his weaving run which was halted by Danny Rose inside the penalty area, although it took a linesman’s flag to convince Dowd to award the spot-kick.

Gerrard slotted home to make it 10 for the season, becoming his side’s leading goalscorer, but any control they had had over the game had long gone.

Mignolet tipped over a rasping Lamela drive and did well to keep out a Christian Eriksen free-kick but Dembele was on hand to turn the ball home from close range.

Balotelli replaced Sturridge after 74 minutes and entered the pitch to words of encouragement from four sides of the ground.

It was more in hope than expectation, although there is still a groundswell of feeling among fans for the Italy international to succeed despite his underwhelming performances so far.

But he delivered when his side needed it most, nipping in behind his marker in the six-yard box to divert Lallana’s cross into the net.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: LA Galaxy confirm Steven Gerrard signing

MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy have confirmed Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will join the club in July.

In an interview with the LA Times, Galaxy manager Bruce Arena revealed the news, which was later confirmed via the club’s official website.

“Steven Gerrard arrives in July and by then we will certainly have a plan available,” Arena, who has led the club to three Major League Soccer titles in four years, told the newspaper.

“He’s a player of quality. I’m not concerned about how he’s going to fit in with our team.

“We have a club now with a proven history of success. All those things go hand in hand in making LA Galaxy a very attractive team for players such as Steven Gerrard.”

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Galaxy president Chris Klein described the Reds captain as “the perfect fit”.

“We just started thinking in the universe of players that are out there, we want to make a decision on what signifies a Galaxy-designated player.

“When we look at that, Steven Gerrard is the perfect fit with what he brings to us on the field and the character that he has off it.”

Read more at Yahoo Sport

FA Cup: Wimbledon 1-2 Liverpool

Steven Gerrard scored twice as Liverpool avoided an FA Cup third-round scare against League Two AFC Wimbledon.

Gerrard, playing his first game since announcing he would leave in the summer to play in the United States, illustrated the hole he will leave behind.

Liverpool’s captain, who will celebrate his 35th birthday on FA Cup final day on 30 May, headed them in front, then came to their aid, as he has done so often, when they slumped into trouble.

Adebayo Akinfenwa’s equaliser revived memories of the original Wimbledon’s FA Cup final win against Liverpool at Wembley in 1988 – until Gerrard stepped in to restore order with a superb trademark free-kick just after the hour.

It helped to steady Liverpool, whose defence had looked horribly vulnerable under pressure from Neal Ardley’s side, who are currently 12th in League Two.

Irrespective of the outcome, this FA Cup night was a credit to the rebirth of AFC Wimbledon, who started life in the Combined Counties League in 2002 and went through five promotions before returning to the Football League in 2011.

But AFC Wimbledon – like so many teams before them since Gerrard made his Liverpool debut in 1998 – discovered that this is the player who can be relied upon to help the Reds through moments of adversity.

This was another example as he took his Liverpool tally to 182 goals in 696 appearances for the club.

Gerrard took the applause of the visiting fans, waiting to acclaim him followings news of his impending departure, before the game and was able to calm their early nerves with a goal after Sean Rigg had almost given AFC Wimbledon a shock lead with a shot across the face of goal.

Gerrard timed his arrival in the area perfectly in the 12th minute to meet Javier Manquillo’s cross and direct a low header beyond keeper James Shea into the bottom corner.

Liverpool then enjoyed a period of relatively control but, as has happened so often this season, they were undone by the vulnerability of their defence and the uncertainty of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

The Belgian keeper did well to turn over from 10 yards as Rigg threatened again but the weakness in Liverpool’s rearguard was exposed when a long kick from Shea found its way through to the feet of Matt Tubbs, who pulled a poor finish across the face of goal.

AFC Wimbledon’s confidence and threat was growing and it resulted in an equaliser nine minutes before the break.

Mignolet missed George Francomb’s corner, Mamadou Sakho bundled the ball on to his own bar and Akinfenwa was the first to react to poke in from six yards.

Gerrard came to Liverpool’s rescue in the opening moments of the second half when he cleared off the line from Adam Barrett as AFC Wimbledon picked up where they had left off.

And when Liverpool needed inspiration at the other end, Gerrard provided it with a superb free-kick that was in from the moment it left his foot curled beyond the reach of the despairing Shea.

Gerrard was denied a hat-trick by a stoppage-time goalline clearance from Callum Kennedy as Liverpool secured a home tie against Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Liverpool confirm Gerrard exit

Liverpool have confirmed that Steven Gerrard is to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Gerrard, 34, has spent his entire career at Anfield, making his first-team debut in 1998, and has won trophies including the Champions League, UEFA Cup and two FA Cups.

However, the midfielder, who retired from England duty following this summer’s World Cup, has now decided to move on and is expected to seal a transfer to Major League Soccer.

Gerrard did not confirm his destination but said he would not play for a team that could compete against Liverpool. A source has confirmed to ESPN that the midfielder is among MLS champions LA Galaxy’s potential targets.

In a statement, Gerrard said: “This has been the toughest decision of my life and one which both me and my family have agonised over for a good deal of time.

“I am making the announcement now so that the manager and the team are not distracted by stories or speculation about my future.

“Liverpool Football Club has been such a huge part of all our lives for so long and saying goodbye is going to be difficult, but I feel it’s something that’s in the best interests of all involved, including my family and the club itself.

“I’m going to carry on playing and although I can’t confirm at this stage where that will be, I can say it will be somewhere that means I won’t be playing for a competing club and will not therefore be lining up against Liverpool – that is something I could never contemplate.

“My decision is completely based on my wish to experience something different in my career and life and I also want to make sure that I have no regrets when my playing career is eventually over.

“I can’t thank Brendan [Rodgers], the owners and everyone at the club enough for how they’ve handled this and I am leaving on great terms. Also, I would like to thank my teammates and all the staff for their help and continued support.

“It is a very special place to be part of. It is my sincere hope and wish that one day I can return to serve Liverpool again, in whatever capacity best helps the club.

“One point that is important to make is that from now until the last kick of the last game of the season, I will be as fully committed to the team as I ever have been and giving everything I have to help Liverpool win games.

“My final message is for the people who make Liverpool Football Club the greatest in the world – the supporters.

“It has been a privilege to represent you, as a player and as captain. I have cherished every second of it and it is my sincere wish to finish this season and my Liverpool career on a high.”

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Liverpool 2-2 Leicester

Liverpool throw two-goal lead away to draw with Leicester City

Liverpool squandered a somewhat fortuitous lead as a battling Leicester stunned their hosts with two goals in as many second-half minutes to draw 2-2.

After back-to-back wins the new year was supposed usher in the beginning of the Reds’ drive towards the top four but the same old defensive frailties were exposed by the league’s bottom team.

Leicester will argue a point was the least they deserved after the home side were gifted the first of two Steven Gerrard penalties when referee Mike Jones ruled the ball had hit Wes Morgan’s hand when it was in fact his head.

Danny Simpson definitely handballed for the second spot-kick, which saw Liverpool become the first team to score 100 Premier League penalties, but Leicester hit back after the break through substitute David Nugent and Jeffrey Schlupp.

Two points dropped against a side which only just ended a run of 13 matches without a win is not the sort of thing required to mount a challenge for the Champions League places and Liverpool – missing Mario Balotelli after an injury in training on Wednesday – ended the day further off the top four than when they started it.

Leicester had created the majority of the chances as their hosts struggled to regain the fluidity they displayed in Monday’s victory over Swansea.

Riyad Mahrez had three of his own in the first half-hour, two free-kicks from identical positions – one of which hit the post with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet beaten after just 66 seconds – and another from Schlupp’s low left-wing cross.

The Foxes knew from their encounter at home a month ago, when they took the lead but ended up losing 3-1, they could not afford to squander opportunities.

One player who was excelling among the Reds mediocrity was Philippe Coutinho, who had a hand in both penalties.

Having struggled for form the Brazil international has flourished in an inside-forward role alongside Adam Lallana and behind central striker Raheem Sterling in recent weeks.

One early diagonal ball over the top to Jordan Henderson was played to perfection and ruined only by the midfielder starting his run too early and being flagged offside.

It was Coutinho’s pass to Sterling which produced the first, controversial, penalty as when the England international tried to cut the ball back it hit Morgan.

Jones ruled it was hand but television replays showed it was face. Gerrard did not waste too much time worrying about it as he tucked away the spot-kick.

Lifted from their slumber Liverpool raised their game in the final third of the pitch with Lallana directing a header wide and firing past the far post after shifting Alberto Moreno’s cross from right foot to left on the edge of the area.

The second penalty was all Coutinho’s doing as his weaving run saw the ball bounce up and hit Simpson’s hand.

There were no arguments this time and Gerrard went the other side to goalkeeper Ben Hamer’s right.

An indicator of confidence came when Henderson almost scored a goal of the season contender with a brilliant volley direct from Gerrard’s corner.

Leicester, understandably aggrieved with the officials’ performance, upped the tempo after the break and only a perfectly-timed tackle from the ever-improving Mamadou Sakho prevented Jamie Vardy taking advantage of Kolo Toure’s slip.

But after Dean Hammond had missed a free-header from Matty James’ flick-on at a corner there was a significant momentum change within less than two minutes.

In the 58th minute substitute Nugent volleyed home brilliantly from Vardy’s knockdown and with Liverpool still reeling from that Schlupp beat Mignolet from the edge of the area just 100 seconds later.

Late in the game Rodgers made a number of formation switches as Lazar Markovic and Fabio Borini – and later Rickie Lambert – were sent on in an attempt to salvage two dropped points.

Borini had a couple of attempts, one blocked by Markovic, and then proceeded to get in the way of a thunderbolt from Coutinho before a clumsy challenge on him by Morgan could have resulted in a third penalty but the referee was not in that generous a mood.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Liverpool 1-1 Basel

Liverpool out of Champions League after 10-man Reds fail to beat Basel

Ten-man Liverpool were masters of their own downfall as they exited the Champions League after coming up short in their must-win encounter at home to Basel.

Steven Gerrard, 10 years and one day exactly since he rammed home that famous goal against Olympiacos which set them on the path to their fifth European Cup, did his best to change their fate — again — with a late free-kick but he needed others to contribute more and they failed.

Trailing to Fabian Frei’s 25th-minute goal, the hosts had Lazar Markovic sent off 16 minutes after coming on at half-time for an flick of the arm. And although a late trademark set-piece goal from the captain raised hopes, they had left themselves too much to do and a 1-1 draw saw them knocked out.

The omens were not good from the off after Liverpool were denied the calming influence of Kolo Toure, itself an indicator of their defensive frailties, because of a groin injury.

Dejan Lovren came in for his first start in five matches but it was centre-back partner Martin Skrtel who seemed to suffer most as his slip let in Shkelzen Gashi who drilled high into the Kop.

The troublesome Basel winger also had the ball in the net just before half-time but his strike was ruled out for offside.

Marco Streller, who scored the goal in Switzerland which partly accounted for the Reds being in this mess, had a shot blocked by Glen Johnson six yards out and also turned an awkward volley wide.

But it was Frei’s strike from 20 yards, after a one-two with Luca Zuffi, which whistled past goalkeeper Simon Mignolet who could only stand and watch midway through the first half.

By contrast Liverpool’s attacking was sporadic and disjointed even with Gerrard restored to his attacking role behind the central striker.

 

Manager Brendan Rodgers had called for players other than him to write their name into the club’s folklore but those he selected appeared not to have heard that message.

Raheem Sterling was one of the chief culprits as, having been presented with a shooting opportunity by Behrang Safari’s mis-control, he tried to cut back to his captain instead.

The criticism of Rodgers’ squad is that, since the departure of Luis Suarez, Gerrard is their only world-class player.

There was certainly no-one on the same wavelength as him when he received the ball in the hole and spun a pass out to the right wing which neither Sterling nor Johnson had anticipated.

The rain which began to fall just before half-time seemed somewhat symbolic.

Rodgers made a bold decision at the interval and sent on Markovic, possibly the most disappointing of his £20million summer signings, and Alberto Moreno for striker Rickie Lambert and Jose Enrique.

Sterling was pushed into an unfamiliar central role in an attempt to utilise his blistering pace but before he could get into his stride Liverpool’s job was made even more difficult by the dismissal of Markovic.

As the Serbia international broke on the halfway line he flicked out a hand to keep Safari at bay, and if he was surprised by the defender’s collapse to the floor he was astounded to see Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers brandish a red card.

On the touchline Rodgers turned away with his head in his hands.

With his side at a numerical disadvantage the onus appeared to fall even more on Gerrard, but when he charged onto Sterling’s pass he could not muster enough speed in a race with goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, who got the vital first touch to prevent the concession of a penalty as the Reds captain went sprawling.

But Gerrard was not finished and, 3,653 days since scoring at the same Kop end to write his name large in the club’s history book as they beat Greek opponents by the two clear goals necessary, his free-kick into the top corner off the post cranked the atmosphere up to ‘famous European night’ level but unfortunately for the home side this was no to be St Etienne or Olympiacos.

The Europa League now beckons for Rodgers’ team, which considering their inconsistent domestic form is probably the last thing they need.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Leicester 1-3 Liverpool

Liverpool may want to re-think the contract offer made to Steven Gerrard after their captain bailed them out in a 3-1 comeback victory over Leicester like he has done so many times in the past.

The former England midfielder’s current deal expires in the summer and, despite the offer of an extension, he has yet to commit to stay at the club he has been with since he was nine.

But while Gerrard may be deliberating his next move, reportedly wanting double the one-year contract on offer, he showed no hesitation on the pitch with a coolly-placed goal to set his side on the way to victory and provide a reminder of glory days gone by.

Restored to the starting line-up after being rested against Stoke on the 16th anniversary of his debut at the weekend – and now relieved from defensive duties in a more advanced role – the midfielder responded with his first goal in open play since the Merseyside derby at Anfield in January.

That completed the comeback after Adam Lallana had equalised goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s unfortunate own goal in the first half and, when Wes Morgan was shown a red card, Jordan Henderson secured back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since October.

A week can be a long time in football and in the space of seven days Gerrard and Mignolet have both experienced highs and lows.

Having been at fault for Ludogorets’ opener in their Champions League draw in Bulgaria last Wednesday the Belgium goalkeeper looked to have turned a corner with a clean sheet at the weekend.

However, the jitters which have become more frequent with every passing game and gradually infused his team, resulting in a side which resembles the consistency of jelly when put under pressure, returned quicker than you could say “goalkeeping howler”.

His inexplicable pass straight into the path of Esteban Cambiasso, who rolled a 25-yard shot just wide of an open goal, set the nerves jangling and within two minutes Leicester were in front thanks to more weak defending.

It was unlucky in some ways as Mignolet made a good save when Jamie Vardy raced on to Riyad Mahrez’s through-ball. But from the rebound Martin Skrtel could only weakly head out Ulloa’s follow-up and the striker was given enough time to collect the ball and smash a shot against the near post which cannoned off Mignolet’s head and into the net.

Liverpool’s response was almost instantaneous; Gerrard’s free-kick was half-cleared to Lucas Leiva whose cross dropped at the feet of Lallana off Morgan and he smashed home the 50th league goal of his career.

The former Southampton midfielder, returning to the starting line-up, had looked neat and tidy with the ball at his feet but his wild lunge at Vardy, for which he was booked, a few minutes later was anything but.

In the first half Gerrard struggled to have much influence in a pin-ball midfield and it was Leicester’s own veteran midfielder Cambiasso, also 34, who exuded an air of calmness and control.

At the break Reds manager Brendan Rodgers made a tactical switch taking off Javier Manquillo, switching Glen Johnson back to right-back and bringing Alberto Moreno in on the left but it was a change he made last week which was more pivotal.

Against Ludogorets the captain was restored to an advanced role he previously occupied with great success in an attempt to allow Lucas to come in and provide more solidity.

And it was the Gerrard of old who strode into the penalty area in the 54th minute, having been involved in the build-up, to caress a shot past Kasper Schmeichel after Morgan could only dangle a foot at Raheem Sterling’s cross.

It got worse for the Leicester captain when he was red-carded just past the hour for hauling down Rickie Lambert as the Liverpool striker managed to get beyond him.

However, from the resulting free-kick the hosts launched a swift counter-attack and Gerrard showed he still had some life left in those ageing legs by charging back and using his experience to commit a cynical foul on Matty James before he could do too much damage.

Leicester were lucky not to be down to nine when Schmeichel collided with Gerrard inside the penalty area after he sprang the offside trap to race through – but referee Lee Mason waved play on.

Equally, the Foxes were unlucky when Cambiasso’s deflected shot was diverted wide by team-mate Vardy but by now Gerrard was relishing the open spaces and his cross to Sterling produced the cut-back for Henderson to score the third.

And no prizes for guessing who headed clear a corner in added time. As messages go it appeared to say “I’m not finished yet”.

Premiership: Steven Gerrard offered new Liverpool deal

Steven Gerrard is mulling over a new contract offer from Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers has confirmed.

Gerrard’s current deal expires at the end of this season, and the club opened talks to extend it with his representative Struan Marshall in mid-November.

The 34-year-old’s Anfield future has looked uncertain in recent months, with Gerrard admitting in October that he would move elsewhere to continue his playing career if Liverpool did not offer him a new contract.

However, Gerrard dismissed reports he has fallen out with Rodgers while the Liverpool manager has described rumours of a rift as “150%” untrue.

“Steven’s been offered a contract here, and that’s where it’s at,” Rodgers said at his press conference before Liverpool’s game against Leicester on Tuesday.

Rodgers acknowledged, though, that it was not guaranteed at this stage that his captain would sign it.

“After everything he’s done here, Steven deserves that respect, and should be given that time to consider that,” Rodgers added.

“It’s a big move, not just in his life, in terms of committing to where his next contract’s going to be. He needs to be given that time and respect to look at that.

“There are probably many things Steven has to look at in a decision like that, but it certainly won’t be about money.

“I’ve spoken to him enough times, and at length, and that certainly won’t be the case, so I think that between now and the end of the season, he deserves that opportunity to have a think as to where he’s at.”

Rodgers dropped Gerrard to the bench for Saturday’s 1-0 home win over Stoke – the first time the captain had not started a league game for Liverpool since January 1, when he missed a 2-0 victory over Hull because of injury.

Gerrard played the final 15 minutes against Stoke, with Rodgers denying he had snubbed his captain on what was the 16th anniversary of his first-team debut for the club, and he feels the midfielder still has plenty to offer at Anfield.

He said: “I love working with Steven Gerrard. He’s arguably the best player who has ever played in the Premier League. I’ve enjoyed every single minute of working with him here, and I hope that continues.

“But I need to give him the opportunity to think for as long as it takes in order to decide what he wants to do next.

“I’ve seen some unfortunate reports yesterday about a rift between him and me. If there are two words that describe our relationship, they would be honesty and respect. He’s been an outstanding player over his time and my time here. He’s been absolutely brilliant.

“He’s at the stage of his career where it’s not so much about the number of games that he plays now, it’s about the level of the games. That’s something we’ll work with and look at.”

Asked directly if there had been any fall-out with Gerrard, Rodgers said: “No – 150%, no. I was very surprised to see that. I think Steven made the same point on social media. He and I have a fantastic relationship. I have huge respect for him, not just as a player, but as a person.”

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Liverpool 2-1 Ludogorets

It was almost just like the old days as Steven Gerrard scored an added-time winner to get Liverpool’s Champions League return off to a winning start.

The Reds captain, so influential on European nights of the past, stroked home a very late spot-kick to give his team a 2-1 win over spirited Ludogorets.

It usually takes something special to upstage Mario Balotelli, who scored the first goal for the club since his £16million summer transfer from AC Milan, but the Bulgarian minnows almost achieved it when substitute Dani Abalo rolled in a 90th-minute equaliser.

However, when Javier Manquillo was brought down by goalkeeper Milan Borjan, only signed at the weekend because of suspension and injury to Ludogorets’ first two choices, Gerrard assumed the role for which he has become synonymous.

The five-time winners of Europe’s elite club competition had waited five years to be back in the big time but it seemed the fanfare which greeted its arrival at Anfield would be silenced by the visitors.

It seemed, with impeccable timing, Balotelli had chosen the perfect moment to open his account eight minutes from time but there was greater drama to follow.

And while it was not the most convincing of wins it got the Reds off and running, particularly important considering Real Madrid’s comfortable win over Basle in the other game in Group B.

Read more on ITV Sport