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Liverpool 1-1 Atletico Madrid

By Ian Hughes

Steven Gerrard scores from the spot to equalise for Liverpool
Gerrard scores from the spot to equalise for Liverpool in injury time

Steven Gerrard rescued Liverpool with a 95th-minute penalty after Maxi Rodriguez's opener had looked set to secure victory for Atletico Madrid.

Liverpool were denied a penalty early on despite Luis Perea appearing to foul Daniel Agger, and instead they went behind when Rodriguez volleyed in.

The Reds felt they were again denied a spot-kick when Perea seemed to handle.

They got their chance at the third time of asking and Gerrard smashed home after he was fouled by Mariano Pernia.

A victory for Liverpool or Atletico would have secured them a place in the knockout stages as PSV Eindhoven were beaten by Marseille in Group G's other match.

And it looked as though the Spaniards were going to seal their progress, until Gerrard's late, late intervention.

Rafael Benitez's men will feel that they should have been awarded a penalty long before that and they had strong cases for two spot-kicks.

As it turned out, the one they were given looked very soft indeed, not that Liverpool will feel an injustice was done given the earlier decisions.

And it rescued a point for Liverpool who are now second in the group, behind Atletico on goal difference.

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Atletico enjoyed some good fortune early on when Perea seemed to pull down Agger as he was about to shoot but was not penalised.

But there was nothing fortunate about the move from which they scored their goal.

Johnny Heitinga's driven pass was taken down superbly by Guerrero Antonio Lopez, who then picked out Maxi for an emphatic finish after his first touch took him past Jamie Carragher.

Previously, Liverpool had been warned when Sabrosa Simao volleyed over from 10 yards from Pernia's low cross.

They had responded to that by carving out two quick chances of their own.

Perea took the ball off Steven Gerrard's toes to prevent him getting a shot in and a minute later Robbie Keane latched on to a through ball and tried to round the keeper but was pushed wide.

But then they were stunned by Atletico's strike.

Liverpool stepped up the tempo as they searched for an equaliser, and shortly after the break Keane screamed, unsuccessfully, for a penalty as the ball appeared to hit Perea's hand.

Yet from open play, Liverpool lacked a sense of urgency and penetration, while Atletico maintained their discipline and their counter-attacking threat.

From a set-piece, Agger was unlucky to head just over and later the Dane again nodded off target.

As Liverpool pressed even more, Gerrard went close with a drive, while Dirk Kuyt - not at his best throughout the evening - shot tamely.

With time running out, Carragher saw his shot palmed over by keeper Leo Franco and it looked like being a frustrating night for the hosts.

But then Gerrard went down under a challenge from Pernia and the Liverpol skipper stepped up himself to dispatch the resultant penalty and salvage a draw.


Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Mascherano (Leiva Lucas 77), Alonso, Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera (Babel 61), Keane (Ngog 71).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Benayoun, Degen.

Goals: Gerrard 90 pen.

Atletico Madrid: Franco, Antonio Lopez, Perea, Heitinga, Pernia, Raul Garcia, Paulo Assuncao, Maniche, Maxi, Forlan (Aguero 71), Simao (Luis Garcia 90).
Subs Not Used: Coupet, Sinama Pongolle, Banega, Pablo, Camacho.

Booked: Maniche, Perea, Heitinga, Pernia, Aguero.

Goals: Maxi 37.

Att: 42,010

Ref: Martin Hansson (Sweden).

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see also
Liverpool Player Rater
15 Dec 06 |  Live Text
Champions League photos
04 Nov 08 |  Football
Champions League as it happened
04 Nov 08 |  Europe


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