A last-minute winner from Mark Gonzalez rescued Liverpool's blushes against Maccabi Haifa in the first leg of their Champions League third round qualifier.
Gonzalez was one of two Reds debutants to score
The Reds went behind when Gustavo Boccoli scythed through their defence and shot low into the corner.
Craig Bellamy equalised four minutes later when he slotted in after Mohamed Sissoko's strike was only parried.
The stuttering Reds picked up the pace late on and substitute Mark Gonzalez sidefooted home after 89 minutes.
The start of the match had been delayed because of crowd congestion outside Anfield and when matters did start England manager Steve McClaren was a keen observer.
He may appoint Reds midfielder Steve Gerrard as his national team captain on Friday and saw him start in an advanced position supporting striker Bellamy.
But, even though the home side had plenty of possession, Maccabi Haifa contained a Liverpool side lacking invention and a cutting edge.
The home side's best early effort saw a Jon Arne Riise strike skid just wide before the Israeli side took the lead by producing the incisive qualities their hosts were sorely missing.
Midfield playmaker Boccoli played a neat one-two with striker Roberto Colautti before finishing with aplomb.
Boccoli gave the visitors a shock lead
The goal finally spurred Liverpool into action and they equalised four minutes later.
Gerrard laid a low Jermaine Pennant cross into the path of Mohamed Sissoko and his shot was only parried by keeper Nir Davidovich.
Bellamy was left to pounce on the loose ball and he shrugged off Gerrard on the way to slotting a shot into the roof of the net.
The urgency in Liverpool's play did not last long and they continued to splutter with their frustration almost being compounded when Colautti headed agonisingly wide for Maccabi.
Peter Crouch's introduction saw Liverpool adopt a more direct style of play as they tried to make use of the striker's height.
A flying Crouch nodded just wide after 75 minutes before keeper Davidovich did well to save Jermaine Pennant's deflected free-kick.
The Reds produced a late rally to net a winner and it came when the Maccabi defence failed to clear a Xabi Alonso cross and Gonzalez took advantage to slot home.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise,Gerrard (Gonzalez 85), Sissoko, Alonso, Zenden (Luis Garcia 55), Pennant, Bellamy (Crouch 65).
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Kromkamp, Paletta, Peltier.
Goals: Bellamy 33, Gonzalez 88.
Maccabi Haifa: Davidovitch, Harazi, Olarra, Keinan, Magralishvili, Boccoli, Anderson, Xavier, Masudi (Meshumar 90), Colautti, Katan (Melicsohn 85).
Subs Not Used: Al Madon, Kanan, Swan, Hemad, Gazal.
Booked: Magralishvili, Colautti.
Goals: Boccoli 29.
Ref: Wolfgang Stark (Germany).