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By Caroline Cheese
2200: Over and out on a disappointing night for British teams in Europe. The mercurial Chris Bevan takes the hotseat this weekend as the Premier League returns, with Liverpool v Arsenal the possible highlight on Sunday. Bye.
2158: And apparently Uefa has said Liverpool will not be seeded for the Europa League draw. "We can't change that," says Benitez. "We have to just play."
Rafa Benitez on Liverpool's Champions League campaign: "The first half against Fiorentina was key, and three late goals made the difference - especially against Lyon. Without these two goals, I think we'd be in a different position today."
2154: My apologies. Millwall beat Staines 4-0, not 3-0, Danny Schofield sneaking a late goal while I wasn't looking.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "We had a positive attitude - they tried to catch us on the break but it was down to a lack of experience not quality. I am happy with the performance."
2151: The draw for the last 16 of the Champions League and the last 32 of the Europa League is on Friday 18 December. I believe I may have mentioned this.
2148: AND SO IN SUMMARY: Champions League group winners: Bordeaux, Man Utd, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Fiorentina, Barcelona, Sevilla, Arsenal. Runners-up: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, AC Milan, FC Porto, Lyon, Inter Milan, Stuttgart, Olympiakos.
2146: In the Championship, Newcastle are now seven points clear after a 2-0 win over Coventry, Nile Ranger sealing the win eight minutes from time. That is an impressive seven wins out of seven for the Magpies. Barnsley draw 1-1 with Scunthorpe as both teams edge further away from the drop zone. And finally in the FA Cup, Millwall will face Derby in the third round after a 4-0 replay win over Staines Town, Alan Dunne and Danny Schofield getting the late goals there.
2143: And in Group G, Sevilla claim top spot with that win over Rangers, with Stuttgart joining them in the last 16 after a 3-1 win over Unirea Urziceni, who are Europa League-bound.
2140: Rubin Kazan will have to make do with Europa League, where they will be joined by Standard Liege whose last-gasp equaliser against AZ means they pip the Dutch side to third in Group H. Arsenal win that group ahead of Olympiakos.
2137: Right. Leo Messi's 25-yard free-kick goes in off the crossbar to give Barcelona a 2-1 win over Dynamo Kiev. The Argentine then has to be helped off the pitch at full-time after being given a rough ride by the Kiev defence. That means Barcelona go through as group winners, with Inter Milan - 2-0 winners at home to Rubin Kazan - taking second spot.
2136: FULL-TIME Olympiakos 1-0 Arsenal
2135: FULL-TIME Sevilla 1-0 Rangers
2134: FULL-TIME Liverpool 1-2 Fiorentina
Fiorentina goal: Young Liverpool defender Stephen Darby is caught in possession by Juan Vargas who crosses for Alberto Gilardino to seal victory for the Italians - and top spot in Group E. That is Liverpool's worst points tally in Champions League group stage history.
2133: GOAL Liverpool 1-2 Fiorentina
2132: It's absolutely tipping down at Anfield, where Rafa Benitez is having to give his glasses a wipe to see the rest of this game, which is into injury time.
2130: Sevilla keeper Andreas Palop makes his first save of note at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium from Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch's fiercely-struck shot. 89 minutes gone.
2125: Meandering towards the finish at Olympiakos, who only need a draw to go through and lead group winners Arsenal 1-0. Aaron Ramsey has put in another decent shift for the Gunners.
From anon via text: "Pacheco has done more with three touches than Aquilani did in 75 minutes. Don't get the hype about him really."
2123: What's up, Euro Stevo? "Good old Lyon, refusing to just see out the group stages - they've gone 4-0 up over Hungarians Debrecen thanks to Aly Cissokho. Is there some late drama to come anywhere, or do we have our last 16 in the Champions League?"
2121: Former Spurs midfielder Didier Zokora smacks the bottom of the post with a curling shot for Sevilla against Rangers. The Press Association have just filed a piece about Tom Cruise making his debut for Arsenal, while actor Tom Cruise watches the Sevilla-Rangers game. The headline? "Rain-gers man"
2117: Blimey. This Pacheco fella isn't short on confidence. He picks up the ball on the edge of the box and, with no backlift, tries to squeeze a shot in at the near post. Sebastien Frey pushes it round the post.
2116: Fernando Torres tries to take the entire Fiorentina defence on - well, three of them anyway. But he eventually takes one touch too many and the ball runs out of play. Alberto Aquilani lasts 76 minutes on his first start for Liverpool. Not bad, not great. Spanish 18-year-old Daniel Pacheco replaces him and makes his debut.
2111: Arsenal pushing forward and Welshman Aaron Ramsey plays a delicious ball through to Theo Walcott and with the trigger pulled back, defender Raul Bravo steams in and deflects the ball over the bar. Second half more lively than the first-half by about 845%. Official.
2110: And here Euro-Champo-FA Cup Stevo tries a pun. Or maybe it's just a rhyme? See what you think... "It was shaping up to be a tough day at the coalface for Scunthorpe when Hugo Colace put Barnsley 1-0 up in the Championship, before Paul Hayes levelled for the visitors and the dream has died for Staines in the FA Cup as Jack Smith puts Millwall 2-0 ahead at the New Den."
2109: A welcome update from Euro Stevo: "Lyon are all over Group E's top spot like a rash as the outrageously talented Miralem Pjanic puts them 3-0 up over poor Debrecen. Unless Fiorentina beat Liverpool, they'll finish first. Inter Milan take a 2-0 lead over Rubin Kazan thanks to Mario Balotelli, so the Italians are easing through to the last 16."
2105: A sight for sore Liverpool eyes as Fernando Torres comes on to replace Dirk Kuyt. This is his first appearance since 4 November when Liverpool drew 1-1 at Lyon.
Fiorentina goal: Devastating break by the Italians. The ball comes in from the right, with Alberto Gilardino setting up Martin Jorgensen for his first Champions League goal. That means Lyon must beat Debrecen by two goals to finish top - and they are 3-0 ahead.
2103: GOAL Liverpool 1-1 Fiorentina
2101: Relief for Rangers... Sevilla striker Fredi Kanoute goes off to a standing ovation at the Sanchez Pizjuan. Meanwhile, Daniel Agger just fails to make contact with Steven Gerrard's fizzing free-kick as Liverpool threaten a second.
2058: What's Euro Stevo got to say? "Maybe the Scots FA will be impressed by Super Dan's half-time team-talks (see 2001)? Unirea pull one goal back straight after the interval thanks to Antonio Semedo as they reduce the deficit to 3-1 at Stuttgart. No goals anywhere else."
2055: "Who is Jimmy Tarbuck?" asks a youngster over on
BBC Sport's Julian Taylor at the Sanchez Pizjuan: "Can a hesitant, shot-shy Rangers trouble the stats sheet in the second half?"
2053: And in answer to the sighing Liverpool fan just before that Olympiakos goal, the Europa League draw is on 18 December at 1400 GMT.
2052: While the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium has Tom Cruise (the actor, not the Arsenal defender), Anfield is graced by the presence of Jimmy Tarbuck, taking a break from the golf course.
Olympiakos goal: Leonardo picks up the scraps after a challenge just beyond the halfway line and drives at a hesitant Arsenal defence, slotting past Lukasz Fabianski.
2041: And the all-important draw is on Friday 18 December at 1300 GMT.
2038: If you're reading this on the web, you'll know from the as-it-stands tables on the right of the page that as it stands, Lyon, Barcelona, Sevilla and Arsenal are going through as group winners, with Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Stuttgart and Olympiakos joining them in the last 16.
2034: Ho ho ho. It's Euro-Champo-FA Cup Stevo: "Lyon will top Group E as it stands and Michel Bastos has just doubled their advantage at home to Debrecen. Meanwhile back in Blighty there's an absolute hammer blow for Cupset fans as Steve Morison puts Millwall 1-0 up over Staines Town in their FA Cup second round replay. In the Champo, Shola Ameobi smashes runaway leaders Newcastle ahead at Coventry."
From Chris, Liverpool fan, via text: "This is worse than the Blackburn game. By the way I dressed up as Santa for that and Match of the Day didn't notice! Typical."
2031: HALF-TIME Olympiakos 0-0 Arsenal
2031: HALF-TIME Sevilla 1-0 Rangers
2030: HALF-TIME Liverpool 1-0 Fiorentina
2030: A Euro Stevo missive... "Standard Liege have to win and hope Olympiakos lose at home to Arsenal to qualify for the last 16, but the Belgians have fallen behind at home to AZ thanks to Jeremain Lens. That means the Dutch will get into the Europa League at this rate."
Liverpool goal: Steven Gerrard wins the free-kick on the right and he takes it, Yossi Benayoun glancing in the header after the Fiorentina defence fail to track his near-post run.
2027: GOAL Liverpool 1-0 Fiorentina
2023: Huge applause at Anfield as they spot Fernando Torres warming up. That's about as good as it has got for the home fans. Not much spark up front for Liverpool.
2022: It's been a quiet first half at Anfield so far but Fiorentina have just had two decent efforts in quick succession. Lorenzo De Silvestri met a corner at the near post with a bullet header that flew straight at Diego Cavalieri, who tipped the ball over. The resulting corner found Riccardo Montolivo lurking unmarked on the edge of the box and Cavalieri had to push away his bouncing volley.
2020: Sometimes it feels like I am merely a conduit between you and Euro Stevo: "Jubilation for Jose Mourinho as Inter Milan take the lead at home to Rubin Kazan thanks to Samuel Eto'o's opener. That means Barca and Inter go through from Group F as things stand - a stat underlined by Barcelona's equaliser in Kiev as Xavi turns home an Eric Abidal cross to level matters."
2018: A relatively quiet half an hour in Athens. Olympiakos are slowly waking up though with a long-range effort from Dudu over the bar and a bouncing Luciano Galletti volley going just wide. Steady stuff from the Gunners.
2016: Referee Bertrand Layec risks the wrath of the home fans at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium as he waves away what looks like a strong appeal for a penalty after Madjid Bougherra's challenge on Fredi Kanoute.
2014: Hey, leave my maths alone (see 2007). Before today Aquilani had played a total of 22 minutes (over three games). He has now doubled that. The longest he had managed in a single game before tonight was 14 minutes. I wish I hadn't bothered...
2012: Here's Euro Stevo: "The goals may have dried up, but Bafetimbi Gomis has done his best to keep us going by getting Lyon in front at home against Debrecen in Liverpool's group. They will be eyeing top spot, but they need the Reds to do them a favour at Anfield."
From Elliot in Northampton, via text: "Re 2006: Here's another good stat, Liverpool have won the European Cup five times. Michael Owen has won it 0 times."
From Phoebe, Manchester, via text: "Penny for Mr Mourinho's thoughts. He won't be a popular man if Inter fail to qualify, having already lost the big game at Juve last weekend."
2007: And here's another thing: Alberto Aquilani has completed 22 minutes at Anfield, thereby doubling his total minutes on the pitch for Liverpool. His previous best in a single game was the 14 minutes he managed against Arsenal in the League Cup.
2006: Here's a good stat: Michael Owen has scored four goals in the Champions League group stage. So have Liverpool.
From bwvilla, via text: "Does the little fella Tom Cruise have an executive box to stand on at Sevilla?"
2003: Christian Gross - remember him? - is the new manager of Stuttgart, replacing Markus Babbel, and it looks like his side are responding to his rather curious rallying call before this game. "We have to appeal to the players' consciences. Why are they professionals? Why did they choose this profession? We have to instil them with the knowledge that it is only fun if you win."
2001: If it's goals you want, Euro Stevo is your man... "If Unirea coach Dan Petrescu really does want the Scotland job, he might want to leave tonight's events off his CV. They are now 3-0 down at Stuttgart, with Pavel Pogrebniak bagging a third in the 11th minute. Oh dear. That's the fastest 3-0 lead in Champions League history."
1959: Arsenal have dominated possession in the first 10 minutes and Theo Walcott bursts through in acres of space to blast straight at the keeper. Great start from Wenger's young guns.
1956: Big let-off for Liverpool defender Daniel Agger as his short back-pass only just reaches keeper Diego Cavalieri before Mario Santana closes in. Quiet start at Anfield, where Alberto Aquilani has shown a couple of neat touches but hasn't seen much of the ball.
1956: Whoop, whoop. It's Euro Stevo again: "This is shaping up to be a glorious night in the Champo League. Group G gets in on the act as Stuttgart take a 1-0 lead over Unirea thanks to Ciprian Marica's fifth-minute goal. That means the Germans, as things stand, are into the last 16. Strike me down, it's now 2-0 - Christian Trasch has already doubled their lead. What a week for Deutschland so far."
Sevilla goal: Steven Whittaker upends Fernando Navarro in the box and Fredi Kanoute sends the keeper the wrong way. There goes Rangers' hopes of keeping a clean sheet in the competition.
1953: GOAL Sevilla 1-0 Rangers
1952: PENALTY TO SEVILLA
1950: Sasa Papac rescues Rangers in only the third minute when he clears off the line from Fredi Kanoute and then there's a hint of handball in a congested penalty box but the visitors somehow escape.
1949: So I think that means that as it stands, Dynamo Kiev and Barcelona will qualify for the last 16, and Inter Milan would have to settle for the Europa League. An intriguing start to the night...
1948: Speak of the devil (that's Euro Stevo in this instance): "Group F - it just keeps on giving. With less than 80 seconds on the clock, Dynamo take the lead against holders Barcelona as Victor Valdes fails to hang on to a free-kick from the left from Artem Milevskiy and the ball bobbles into the Barca net. Unbelievable scenes."
1946: Despite that kebab news, these games are still going ahead. And Euro Stevo has an early goal to tell you about...
1944: Fast approaching kick-off and I haven't finished my kebab yet. PANIC!
Cruise and Cruise
1940: Hot on the heels of Martina Navratilova appearing in the crowd at Craven Cottage on Sunday, I have more bombshell news (especially so given who's making their debut in Arsenal's defence tonight): Tom Cruise is in the crowd at Sevilla's Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium along with his wife Katie. He's filming Knight and Day with Cameron Diaz.
1936: Some people on
seem a little confused, so here we go: it doesn't matter how much Liverpool beat Fiorentina by, and how much Lyon lose to Debrecen by, the Reds still cannot go through. Teams are split by the head-to-head record not by goal difference.
1935: TEAM NEWS Sevilla v Rangers Rangers' leading scorer Kris Boyd is left out with a slight thigh strain and American winger DaMarcus Beasley replaces Nacho Novo wide on the right. Manager Walter Smith reverts to a 4-1-4-1 formation, with left midfielder Stevie Smith taking the place of Boyd. Sevilla are without top scorer Luis Fabiano as the Brazilian picked up an injury at the weekend, so Fredi Kanoute gets the nod up front and he will be supported by an attack-minded five-man midfield, including wingers Jesus Navas and Diego Capel.
1932: Arsenal's line-up is the youngest in the history of the Champions League. Their starting XI has an average age of 21 years and 215 days, beating Ajax's record of 21 years and 355 days, set against Club Brugge exactly six years ago.
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez on Fernando Torres: "We will try to give him some minutes. He's not ready to start a game but he has been training really well."
1926: And here's Stevo again, clearing up my muddle as usual. "Cheesy, fans of Barnsley and Scunthorpe will be outraged if we don't mention that their boys are in Championship action too tonight. It's 16th v 18th and it's happening at Oakwell. Er, that's it for now."
1925: How about a word from Euro Stevo: "Group F is the team news they all want and Jose Mourinho is going all-out attack against Rubin Kazan tonight, picking a three-pronged strikeforce for Inter as Samuel Eto'o, Diego Milito and Mario Balotelli all start. "We don't fear them, we're better than them," were the Potuguese's defiant words on Tuesday. Barcelona have picked a strong side to play away at Dynamo too, with Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Zlatan Ibrahimovic their front trio."
1920: TEAM NEWS Olympiakos v Arsenal Teenager Tom Cruise makes his Arsenal debut at left-back against Olympiakos in Group H. With loads of senior players rested, fit-again Theo Walcott starts, along with Cameroon midfielder Alex Song. Mikael Silvestre is in defence alongside reserve-team captain Kyle Bartley. Olympiakos need only a point to join Arsenal in the last 16 and have former Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg in their starting XI.
1916: Anyone else read that last message as the 'Championship Cheese'? Just me again? But yes, Newcastle are going for a seventh straight win against struggling Coventry. That was the longest winning streak last season, set by Wolves, who also went up. And Millwall host Staines Town in an FA Cup replay for the right to face Derby in the third round.
From umaronline on Twitter:
"Not forgetting the Championship Cheese where Newcastle can go seven points clear with a win at the Ricoh Arena against Coventry."
1914: TEAMS Sevilla v Rangers Sevilla: Palop, Fernando Navarro, Dragutinovic, Cala, Konko, Diego Capel, Romaric, Zokora, Jesus Navas, Renato, Kanoute. Subs: Javi Varas, Duscher, Kone, Negredo, Lolo, Perotti, Jose Carlos. Rangers: McGregor, Papac, Bougherra, Weir, Whittaker, McCulloch, Thomson, Smith, Davis, Beasley, Miller. Subs: Alexander, Novo, Lafferty, Fleck, Loy, Little, Wilson.
1912: TEAM NEWS Liverpool v Fiorentina Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez makes five changes from the team that drew with Blackburn on Saturday for his side's dead rubber. Alberto Aquilani is handed his first start following his £20m move from Roma in August and 21-year-old Stephen Darby makes his first senior start at right-back. Goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri, Martin Skrtel and Andrea Dossena also come in but Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano both start. Key striker Fernando Torres, out for over a month with a groin injury, is on the bench. Fiorentina have a lengthy injury list and forward Stefan Jovetic, who scored both goals to help his side beat the Reds in September, failed to recover from an ankle injury in time to play.
From nicolfc on Twitter:
"It's a pretty risky business putting all these kids in the Arsenal team. They should have a cocktail of youth and experience."
1905: And finally, Arsenal are through as Group H winners. If they win at Olympiakos, Standard Liege will join them in the last 16 if they beat AZ. Otherwise, the Greeks are through. AZ can snatch the Europa League spot from Standard if they win.
1902: Let's crash on to Group G where top spot will be Sevilla's if they gain a point against Rangers, who can't finish any higher than fourth. Stuttgart, under new coach Christian Gross, must beat Unirea to qualify, otherwise Dan Petrescu's debutants from Romania will be through to the last 16.
1859: Looks like Islington-bred 18-year-old Thomas Cruise will start in Arsenal's defence tonight, so just a point of order: I welcome puns, but those including Top Gun or Mission Impossible are hereby banned.
1857: Even Carol Vorderman would have struggle to figure out Group F. And I'm a very long way from being Carol Vorderman. All four teams could yet qualify, and Barcelona know they will qualify if they don't lose by more than one goal against Dynamo Kiev. Inter Milan must beat Rubin Kazan to make sure of qualifying - and Rubin must win that match to have any chance of finishing in the top two. Making sense? Thought not
1852: Let's begin with Group E - which is refreshingly easy. Fiorentina and Lyon have qualified. The Italians will take top spot if they beat Liverpool, who are assured of (if not all that pleased about) finishing third. Lyon need to beat Debrecen to have any hope of finishing top, and would need to win by two clear goals if Fiorentina take a point.
1847: Team news and group permutations to follow, but don't forget to get in touch. You can text on 81111 (UK) or the ever-so-handy +44 7786200666 (international) or get involved on
or ye olde
1845: So then, reasons to be excited about this evening's action: (1) We might get to see Alberto Aquilani in a Liverpool shirt for more than 14 minutes. (2) There is a chance that another big gun might go out (I'm looking at you, Barcelona, and don't go thinking I've forgotten about you, Inter Milan). (3) Tom Cruise is reported to be in Arsenal's starting line-up (I know... TOM CRUISE... ha ha ha ha ha). And finally (4) What else are you going to do? It's not like it's the festive season or anything.
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