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By Sam Lyon
2015: Right then, job done for Liverpool, and Roy Hodgson can sleep well on the back of a professional performance... right? That's it from me this evening, as I said before check out
our latest scores page
if you want to stay across the night's other Europa League action. I'll see you all again on Saturday and Sunday for what promises to be a cracking weekend of Premier and Football League action. See ya.
STEAUA 1-1 LIVERPOOL Mandeep Sanghera's
reports: "As usual it was an under-strength Liverpool side in the Europa League but, away from home, they did a professional job to get the point they needed. The last 32 awaits."
2005: Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina: "We are happy to go through. It's my mistake (for the goal). I have to handle it and move on. I should have reacted much better than I did. We have to give them (the younger players) some credit. There were players with not much experience and they showed character."
Europa League round-up: "So the Utrecht 3-3 Napoli result ensures Liverpool top Group K, while a draw will be enough for Steaua to join them in the last matchday in a fortnight. In the other 1800 GMT kick-offs, Borussia Dortmund ran out 3-0 winners over Lviv, CSKA Moscow routed FC Lausenne 5-1, Besiktas came from behind to beat CSKA Sofia 2-1, while FC Porto overcame Rapid Vienna 3-1 away from home. The match of the night so far, though, saw Paris St Germain beat Sevilla 4-2 - a cracker. We've got five more Europa League matches to come, stay across
our latest scores page
for all the latest on those won't you? Lovely."
John the milkman on 606:
"Moaning about how Liverpool play with a lot of youngsters in a hostile environment away in Europe is one thing, but we play like this in every game..."
1957: By the way, apologies, Liverpool definitely qualify for the last 32 as group winners courtesy of their better head-to-head record against Steaua. Which will mean a nice dead rubber in which to rest some more first-teamers against Utrecht at Anfield in a fortnight's time. Happy days.
Gary, Market Harborough via text: "Hodgson is the Audley Harrison of football management - soooo defensive. Get off the ropes and throw some punches man."
1953: So Liverpool remain unbeaten in this season's Europa League and earn their qualification into the last 32 - most likely as group winners. It might not have been all that pretty, but very much a case of job done then.
1952: FULL-TIME Steaua 1-1 Liverpool
1951: Stuttering to a conclusion a touch this match now.
1949: We'll have three minutes of added time.
1948: Bit of tactical time-wasting from Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson now as he replaces Daniel Pacheco with Lucas in the last minute of normal time.
1947: Erm, not yet no, Daniel Pacheco's corner is cleared and the Spaniard is then flagged offside attempting to collect the rebounded clearance.
1946: Oh, hold on, might we have a winner after all? Liverpool substitute David Ngog forces a corner...
1944: The hosts, possibly mindful of the fact that Utrecht-Napoli remains 3-3, are not exactly throwing numbers forward themselves in these closing stages now either. They and Liverpool would finish the night as the top two in Group K as it stands, the Reds on nine points, Steaua six.
1941: Steaua push forward and in that attack I counted eight Liverpool players and Pepe Reina behind the ball. I think it's fair to say Roy Hodgson would take a draw from this one. Less than 10 minutes of normal time left.
1938: Steaua respond in kind, Janos Szekely coming on for Romero Surdu.
EddyGardiner on Twitter:
"Liverpool seem to have developed an annoying habit of playing well in the first half then significantly worse in the second."
1937: Another change for Liverpool, Nathan Eccleston replacing goalscorer Milan Jovanovic.
1936: Another decent bit of Steaua build-up ends with a whipped effort on goal from Bogdan Stancu on the left dipping just over Pepe Reina's bar.
1933: And, unsurprisingly, David Ngog is brought on in place of Joe Cole, who has had a hugely frustrating night.
1932: Around 20 minutes left in this match including stoppage time for Liverpool to hang for the draw they need, then. And it looks like David Ngog will be coming on to play his part late in the match.
1930: In the other game in Group K, Napoli striker Edinson Cavani has completed his hat-trick to level things up at Utrecht 3-3 Napoli.
1929: Liverpool, still through to the knockout stages with a draw of course, continue to hang on a touch in the face of a much-improved Steaua this half. Time for a change Mr Hodgson?
1925: Almost the immediate response from Liverpool, Sotiris Kyrgiakos beating the Steaua keeper to Fabio Aurelio's corner and heading goalwards - only for his effort to ricochet back off the bar. So close.
mrmaginnis on Twitter:
"Well that was definitely coming - shame about the way it happened, though. Poor Reina."
1922: How ironic that on a night when all eyes seemed to be on Liverpool's youngsters, it is one of their seasoned pros that makes the error that gets Steaua back in it huh?
Steaua goal: It's been coming - but it's a quite staggering error from Pepe Reina. Stanislav Angelov's cross is headed tamely at goal by Eder Bonfim but, possibly distracted by Romeo Surdu in front of him, Reina allows the ball to skip between his legs and dribble over the line. Awful error.
1919: GOALFLASH Steaua 1-1 Liverpool (Bonfim)
1917: Ooh, that's actually quite close - Banel Nicolita's attempted cross takes a wicked deflection and it threatens to drop in under Pepe Reina's bar, but the Spaniard recovers to push over. Are Liverpool going to sit this deep all half? They're just inviting pressure at the moment.
1914: It's still all Steaua - and that's almost a wonderful one-touch move by the hosts, ending when Banel Nicolita just fails to find Iasmin Latovlevici running into the Liverpool box from the edge of the area.
1912: Deary me, Joe Cole really does look out of sorts tonight. He's just let the simplest of passes run under his foot, there. He's not enjoyed the greatest season so far has he?
1911: A clumsy challenge from Danny Wilson hands Steaua a free-kick 30 yards from goal... but Iasmin Latovlevici duly steps up and spanks it into row Z. Waste.
1908: And now another fine chance for Steaua, Cristian Tanase's cross finding Geraldo Alves completely unmarked six yards out from goal, but his header saved all too comfortably low down by Pepe Reina. They've missed a few in this game, the hosts, it must be said.
1906: Bit of early Steaua pressure as first Iasmin Latovlevici swings in a free-kick that is well cleared, and then Cristian Tanase fires a tame effort straight at Liverpool captain for the night Pepe Reina. Bit more intent about the hosts than they showed at the back end of the first half so far.
1903: Change for Steaua, Stanislav Angelov - a more attacking midfielder - replacing Eric Bicfalvi. And we're back under way.
1902: The players are back out and about at Steaua Arena. Liverpool cruising into the knockout stages as it stands.
Europa League round-up: "It's gone goal crazy elsewhere in the 1800 GMT kick-offs, folks. In Liverpool's group, Utrecht now lead Napoli 3-2, the same scoreline by which Paris SG lead Sevilla - who fought back from 2-0 down before Nene's strike just before half-time. In the same group, meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund lead Lviv to keep their hopes of qualifying alive. Elsewhere, CSKA Moscow lead FC Lausenne 3-0, CSKA Sofia are being held 0-0 by Besiktas and Rapid Vienna are drawing 1-1 with FC Porto."
LFCfan128 on 606:
"I am glad the first half is over. Liverpool still seems to be in first gear but going in at 1-0 up is not bad at all."
1847: HALF-TIME Steaua Bucharest 0-1 Liverpool Mandeep Sanghera's
HT snap-shot: "Professional by Liverpool so far, soaking up the pressure while leading through a Milan Jovanovic counter-attack goal."
1848: And there's the half-time whistle.
1847: With half-time approaching, and that glaring Bogdan Stancu miss just now aside, I'd say this has been a professional away European performance from Liverpool so far.
1845: What. A. Miss. This time Sotiris Kyrgiakos makes a mess of a Steaua cross and the ball falls to Bogdan Stancu eight yards out with just the keeper to beat - but he inexplicably flails it wide. Massive let-off for Liverpool.
1843: That's great defending from Sotiris Kyrgiakos to maintain Liverpool's lead, though, the centre-half doing brilliantly to cut out Romeo Surdu's cross off the head of Bogdan Stancu, Eric Bicfalvi's long-range follow-up flying wide from range.
SRobinsonTRFC on Twitter:
"Those two goals for Utrecht's Ricky Van Wolfswinkel take his tally to 9 in 10 in the Europa League."
1839: Still a touch scrappy at the Steaua Arena, but Liverpool will be more than happy with proceedings at the moment - not a huge amount of spark from them so far, but a 1-0 lead away from in Europe with a much changed side? Roy Hodgson will be loving this.
1835: A quick update in the other Group K match, by the way, it's Utrecht 2-1 Napoli, the hosts having trailed by a goal early on. Ricky van Wolfswinkel (what a name) has both the goals - and that sees the Dutch side leapfrog Steaua into second in the group as it stands.
1833: ...it comes no nothing, though, as Jonjo Shelvey hits keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu's attempted punched clearance wide of the goal first time from 22 yards out.
1833: And there is the Dutchman earning Liverpool a corner with another break down the right...
1832: Ryan Babel, on the other hand, is looking very much at home in the lone striker role - pulling the Steaua defence left-to-right off the ball and causing them plenty of problems on it too. Roy Hodgson will take note, I'm sure.
1830: It's Liverpool now controlling possession in Romania, but still Joe Cole is struggling to find his feet on his return from injury. Very out-of-sorts, the playmaker.
1826: Oh it should be two. Ryan Babel latches on to Florin Gardos's error and breaks free on the left, his centre finding Joe Cole unmarked, centre of goal, 18 yards out - but the Englishman's touch is poor and he allows Steaua's defence to get back and in the end Daniel Pacheco's shot flies wide. An in-form Cole would've gobbled that up you'd have thought.
1825: Wind taken out of the sails of Steaua for the minute, Liverpool settling nicely.
1822: He's got his tail up now, Ryan Babel, and the Dutchman almost forces another opening after turning on to a throw-in behind the Steaua defence. His attempted cross is cut out and cleared by the back-tracking Eder Bonfim, though.
Liverpool goal: Your classic sucker punch. Liverpool have shown almost zero ambition so far - but Milan Jovanovic starts a neat break and then gets on the end of Ryan Babel's cross to finish it, heading unmarked into the corner from eight yards out. Top work away from home from the Reds.
1819: GOALFLASH Steaua 0-1 Liverpool (Jovanovic)
1817: Liverpool will want to defend better than that if they want to keep a clean sheet, though. Romeo Surdu has all the time in the world on the left by the touchline to pick out his cross and Eric Bicfalvi just fails to get on top of a free header six yards, sending the ball narrowly over. Let-off for the visitors.
1816: This is taking on the appearance of a familiar Roy Hodgson-team-away-in-Europe performance, this. Like Fulham at times last season, Liverpool are happy to sit deep and soak up pressure. The Reds going for the draw?
1812: We'll have a slight break in play as Steaua forward Romeo Surdu receives some treatment after going down heavily near the Liverpool box. He'll be fine, though, I'm sure.
1810: The boss and whistles erupt from the home crowd as Liverpool enjoy their first spot of keep-ball in the midfield area with Christian Poulsen, Joe Cole and Jonjo Shelvey ripping the ball about nicely... until the latter looks to spray a pass long and it's woefully off-target.
1807: Liverpool looking to get their foot on the ball, but Steaua buzzing around the visitors with plenty of effervescence. Home boss Marius Lacatus will be happy with his players so far.
1805: Hhmm... spot of bother for Pepe Reina as the Liverpool keeper finds himself the target of a laser pen from the crowd right into the Spaniard's face. Let's hope the officials sort that out asap.
1803: Bright start early on for Steaua and Reds defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos has to stretch to cut out a fine whipped cross from the left by Iasmin Latovlevici. The corner comes to nothing after a spell of pressure from the hosts.
1801: Right then, we're up and running at the Steaua Arena.
1758: A quick note on Steaua, by the way - as if the task of the Liverpool youngsters wasn't tall enough already, the Romanian outfit have only been beaten once at home this season. Ouch.
Johno_LFC on 606:
"Unfortunately this will be another Northampton. Afterwards we won't see the likes of Pacheco, Wilson, and Shelvey again for several weeks. Such is Roy."
GMoney, Stevenage via text: "Devastated, but I'm Putin on a brave face. C'mon you Reds."
EUROPA LEAGUE PERMUTATIONS Group D: Wins for PAOK AND Dinamo would mean they both qualify, but if Dinamo fail to win in Villarreal, it's all up for grabs. Group E:Bate are through and Kiev join them with a win. Group F:CSKA have qualified and Sparta join them with a draw. Group J:
The two group favourites Sevilla and Paris SG face-off, Dortmund cannot afford defeat to Lviv. Group K:
If Liverpool win in Bucharest they win the group, while a draw will be enough to see them through regardless of other results. If Steaua win, they qualify if Napoli and Utrecht draw. Group L:Porto are in the last 32, Besiktas join them with a win.
Leaver17 on Twitter:
"Interesting to see Babel's impact starting up front. Can he prove he deserves to be in the starting XI?"
1748: STEAUA v LIVERPOOL Mandeep Sanghera
reports: "Liverpool have left most of their big stars at home for the Europa League group game in an icy-cold Romanian capital. Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger are injured, while Fernando Torres, Raul Meireles, Dirk Kuyt and Glen Johnson have been rested. But the Reds beat Steaua 4-1 in the reverse fixture, need just a point to confirm their progress to the next round and, since their defeat at Anfield, Steaua have replaced Ilie Dumitrescu with Marius Lacatus as their manager. Game on?"
HenryWhitfield on Twitter:
"Gutted. But the show must go on and as such, its time for English football to prove the world wrong; starting with the Reds."
1744: A chance for Liverpool's youngsters to impress, indeed, then. But, says Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson, there is no pressure on them. "It would be too much to ask [to judge them too harshly on tonight's performance]," said Big Roy. "I think if you are going to be judged in that way you need to be playing with a large number of the more established players. I don't think it is correct to judge people too much when many of them are playing together and are obviously fairly inexperienced at this level. I wouldn't want to say they are playing for their long-term futures but I think they have a great opportunity to show me that what I am seeing in training they are able to be produce on the field in important matches when push comes to shove. I think they gain an enormous amount because we are playing against a top-quality team."
Darren from Witham, Essex via text: "Time for the fringe players to show what they are worth, this is the chance they have been waiting for."
1740: STEAUA v LIVERPOOL Mandeep Sanghera
reports: "So Joe Cole makes his return from a hamstring injury as the playmaker starts for Liverpool against Steaua. Only keeper Pepe Reina has been retained from Liverpool's 2-1 defeat by Tottenham on Sunday as Ryan Babel and Daniel Pacheco, who both crave more first-team action, are given the chance to impress. Youngster Danny Wilson is expected to partner Sotiris Kyrgiakos in central defence with Jame Carragher injured and Martin Skrtel on the bench."
VuckicNUFC on Twitter:
"I don't normally want rival clubs to win but tonight I would like to see Liverpool win for England."
WhatAHit on 606:
"The Liverpool line-up really not filling me with confidence. Hopefully the desire to fall over the finish line will be enough for the young 'uns. Glad to see Pacheco get a run-out too."
1735: Don't forget you can Tweet me
@sampatricklyon, get chatting over on
or text me via 81111. I say we try to keep this a World Cup chat-free zone, but hey - this is your rodeo people.
1728: Listen, let's not worry about that. I find the best thing in times like this, apart from a nice cuppa or a stiff drink, is to concentrate on matters on the field - and that's where I step in. Well, that's where Liverpool step in more to the point. The Reds can secure
qualification to the last 32 of the Europa League
tonight, and after what was a rather sticky start to the season for Roy Hodgson's boys wouldn't that be a rather nice fillip as we enter the festive season?
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