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Page last updated at 21:55 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Liverpool   3 - 0   Lille (agg 3 - 1)

Steven Gerrard slots in his penalty
Gerrard gets his team off to the perfect start within 10 minutes from the spot

By Mark Ashenden

Fernando Torres scored twice to help Liverpool keep their season alive by reaching the Europa League quarter-finals with a battling win over Lille.

The Reds started perfectly with a Steven Gerrard penalty on eight minutes after Lucas was felled by Adil Rami following a fine run past four players.

Eden Hazard was denied an equaliser by a smart Pepe Reina save, but Torres chipped in the second after the break.

The Spaniard settled the tie by poking home following Gerrard's rasping shot.

It was an impressive result against an in-form French outfit and gave England a second team in the Europa League last eight following Fulham's earlier surprise win over Juventus.

European progression in front of the Anfield faithful was crucial to help salvage the season for a team without a trophy since their FA Cup triumph in 2006.

After an early Champions League exit and an ongoing struggle to secure fourth in the Premier League, boss Rafael Benitez admitted his players knew it was their "last opportunity to win a trophy".

And the mission to overturn their first-leg 1-0 deficit was clouded somewhat with Albert Riera's attack on the club's management 24 hours before kick-off.

606: DEBATE
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The midfielder - suspended until Monday - may have called his team a "sinking ship" but they were riding high after just eight minutes.

A dazzling run by Lucas - in for the ill Alberto Aquilani - caused havoc in the defence and after the Brazilian had danced into the box, Rami's outstretched leg sent the midfielder crashing down.

There were few protestations and up stepped Gerrard to calmly slot home.

Liverpool's three-pronged attack of Ryan Babel, Dirk Kuyt and Torres were moving the ball around crisply and a second goal almost arrived after a Gerrard corner, but keeper Mickael Landreau was alert to Daniel Agger's flicked header.

Lille seemed subdued for half an hour, but they finally showed their attacking prowess as Hazard, the goal-scorer from the home leg, burst into the box to shoot straight at the fortuitous Reina.

It was a warning for Liverpool and they hit back strongly with Agger going close again with his head, while Torres nodded Kuyt's floated cross just wide of the left post.

Despite enduring a number of nervy moments in the closing stages of the first period, the Kop were in full voice again three minutes after the break thanks to the lively feet of Torres.

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A hopeful long ball from Agger found the Spaniard striding through the centre and after shrugging off the close attentions of Aurelian Chedjou, he stayed cool to chip the ball over the advancing Landreau.

The hosts were having plenty of possession but still looked anxious as the visitors pushed for the single goal they required to go through.

With 15 minutes remaining and chances few and far between, Lille came agonisingly close as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poked a Ludovic Obraniak cross just over the bar.

Benitez looked concerned as Lille grew more confident and introduced Yossi Benayoun for the tiring Babel.

Two shots from Kuyt in 60 seconds, both pushed away by Landreau, came close to settling the late wobbles, and the tie was made safe in the final minute when Torres slotted home after Gerrard's shot from the edge of the box was saved.

It was relief all round at the final whistle and the Reds can now look forward to Sunday's visit to Old Trafford in the Premier League in high spirits.

Live text and stats

 

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Europa League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Liverpool 3-0 Lille FT
(HT 1-0)(agg 3-1)
  • Gerrard (pen) 9
  • Torres 49
  • Torres 90

    Liverpool

    Substitutes

    Lille

    • 16 Landreau
    • 15 Emerson
    • 18 Beria
    • 23 Rami
    • 04 Balmont (Aubameyang 71)
    • 07 Cabaye yellow card
    • 10 Obraniak
    • 22 Chedjou
    • 24 Mavuba
    • 26 Hazard (Vandam 86)
    • 17 Frau (Toure 58)

    Substitutes

    • 01 Butelle,
    • 03 Vandam,
    • 32 Souare,
    • 29 Dumont,
    • 35 Souquet,
    • 11 Aubameyang,
    • 20 Toure
    Ref: RizzoliAtt: 38,139
    LIVERPOOL
    LILLE

    Possession

    • Liverpool 48%
    • Lille 52%

    Attempts on target

    • Liverpool 10
    • Lille 2

    Attempts off target

    • Liverpool 8
    • Lille 5

    Corners

    • Liverpool 5
    • Lille 6

    Fouls

    • Liverpool 13
    • Lille 10
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+3:10 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
    • 90:00+1:33 Substitution David Ngog replaces Fernando Torres.
    • 90:00+0:44 Substitution Sotirios Kyrgiakos replaces Daniel Agger.
    • 89:04 The assist for the goal came from Steven Gerrard.
    • 89:04 GOAL - Fernando TorresLiverpool 3 - 0 Lille Fernando Torres gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Liverpool 3 (3)-(1) 0 Lille.
    • 88:55 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Save by Mickael Landreau.
    • 86:40 Corner taken left-footed by Ludovic Obraniak, clearance made by Leiva Lucas.
    • 86:11 Foul by Javier Mascherano on Jerry Vandam, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed left-footed by Ludovic Obraniak, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
    • 85:25 Substitution Eden Hazard leaves the field to be replaced by Jerry Vandam.
    • 82:51 Dirk Kuyt takes a shot. Save by Mickael Landreau. Corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard from the left by-line, save by Mickael Landreau.
    • 82:27 Dirk Kuyt takes a shot. Save by Mickael Landreau.
    • 81:34 Booking Yohan Cabaye is given a yellow card.
    • 81:02 Yohan Cabaye has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses left.
    • 79:35 Emiliano Insua restarts play with the free kick.
    • 79:35 Substitution Yossi Benayoun replaces Ryan Babel.
    • 79:35 Franck Beria challenges Ryan Babel unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 79:24 The ball is sent over by Eden Hazard, save by Jose Reina.
    • 78:22 Emiliano Insua has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide left of the goal.
    • 76:41 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Daniel Agger.
    • 73:41 The ball is delivered by Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard concedes a free kick for a foul on Adil Rami. Mickael Landreau restarts play with the free kick.
    • 72:11 Centre by Ludovic Obraniak, Shot by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from deep inside the six-yard box clear the bar.
    • 72:11 Booking The referee cautions Fernando Torres for dissent.
    • 72:01 Free kick awarded for a foul by Javier Mascherano on Eden Hazard.
    • 70:22 Substitution Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joins the action as a substitute, replacing Florent Balmont.
    • 69:55 Free kick awarded for a foul by Franck Beria on Fernando Torres. Javier Mascherano produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.
    • 68:32 Jamie Carragher concedes a free kick for a foul on Ludovic Obraniak. Free kick crossed right-footed by Eden Hazard from left wing. The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
    • 66:51 Unfair challenge on Ryan Babel by Franck Beria results in a free kick. Daniel Agger takes the direct free kick.
    • 65:42 Ludovic Obraniak handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Glen Johnson.
    • 63:38 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ludovic Obraniak on Javier Mascherano. Steven Gerrard crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, Conceicao Emerson makes a clearance.
    • 62:07 Larsen Toure has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the goal.
    • 60:43 The referee blows for offside. Jamie Carragher takes the free kick.
    • 58:50 Foul by Ludovic Obraniak on Glen Johnson, free kick awarded. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Steven Gerrard from right channel. The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Mickael Landreau.
    • 58:25 Dirk Kuyt delivers the ball, clearance by Franck Beria.
    • 57:45 Substitution Larsen Toure joins the action as a substitute, replacing Pierre-Alain Frau.
    • 57:35 Yohan Cabaye has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide right of the goal.
    • 56:39 Steven Gerrard delivers the ball, Adil Rami makes a clearance. Corner taken by Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres takes a shot. Mickael Landreau makes a comfortable save.
    • 55:40 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ludovic Obraniak on Leiva Lucas. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
    • 54:19 Fernando Torres has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.
    • 53:41 Yohan Cabaye fouled by Leiva Lucas, the ref awards a free kick. Yohan Cabaye takes the free kick.
    • 52:51 Leiva Lucas challenges Eden Hazard unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Florent Balmont.
    • 50:38 Florent Balmont takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.
    • 49:47 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Franck Beria by Fernando Torres. Free kick taken by Mickael Landreau.
    • 48:55 Assist by Ryan Babel.
    • 48:55 GOAL - Fernando TorresLiverpool 2 - 0 Lille Fernando Torres finds the net with a goal from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Liverpool 2 (2)-(1) 0 Lille.
    • 48:17 The official flags Fernando Torres offside. Mickael Landreau takes the indirect free kick.
    • 47:45 Florent Balmont takes a shot from long distance which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
    • 47:39 Conceicao Emerson produces a cross, Emiliano Insua makes a clearance.
    • 46:55 Corner taken by Yohan Cabaye from the left by-line to the near post, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
    • 45:31 Foul by Emiliano Insua on Franck Beria, free kick awarded. Mickael Landreau takes the free kick.
    • 45:01 The second half begins.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+0:06 The referee blows for half time.
    • 44:18 The assistant referee signals for offside against Fernando Torres. Mickael Landreau takes the indirect free kick.
    • 43:03 Eden Hazard is ruled offside. Jamie Carragher takes the free kick.
    • 41:30 Free kick crossed left-footed by Ludovic Obraniak, save made by Jose Reina.
    • 41:30 Booking Emiliano Insua booked for unsporting behaviour.
    • 41:26 Unfair challenge on Ludovic Obraniak by Emiliano Insua results in a free kick.
    • 39:33 Dirk Kuyt crosses the ball, Close range header by Fernando Torres misses to the right of the goal.
    • 39:12 Foul by Pierre-Alain Frau on Glen Johnson, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Glen Johnson.
    • 37:45 Outswinging corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line, Daniel Agger has a header from close in and clears the crossbar.
    • 36:34 The assistant referee flags for offside against Pierre-Alain Frau. Jose Reina takes the indirect free kick.
    • 35:20 The assistant referee signals for offside against Pierre-Alain Frau. Jamie Carragher takes the free kick.
    • 35:12 Florent Balmont delivers the ball, clearance made by Jamie Carragher.
    • 34:44 Corner taken by Ludovic Obraniak, Dirk Kuyt manages to make a clearance.
    • 32:51 Eden Hazard takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina. Corner taken by Ludovic Obraniak played to the near post, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
    • 31:49 Leiva Lucas takes a shot. Mickael Landreau makes a comfortable save.
    • 30:36 Florent Balmont fouled by Glen Johnson, the ref awards a free kick. Aurelien Chedjou takes the free kick.
    • 29:45 Steven Gerrard takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Daniel Agger takes a shot. Save by Mickael Landreau.
    • 28:18 Unfair challenge on Fernando Torres by Adil Rami results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Steven Gerrard. The official flags Dirk Kuyt offside. Mickael Landreau takes the free kick.
    • 26:41 Franck Beria fouled by Emiliano Insua, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Ludovic Obraniak, Jamie Carragher manages to make a clearance.
    • 23:01 Dirk Kuyt crosses the ball, clearance by Franck Beria. Glen Johnson takes a shot. Mickael Landreau makes a save.
    • 22:38 Centre by Franck Beria, clearance made by Jamie Carragher.
    • 16:35 Ryan Babel challenges Ludovic Obraniak unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Franck Beria.
    • 12:28 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas by Antonio Mavuba. Direct free kick taken by Javier Mascherano. Shot from close in by Fernando Torres misses to the left of the target.
    • 9:50 Fernando Torres takes a shot. Adil Rami gets a block in. Corner taken by Steven Gerrard. Shot from just outside the penalty box by Emiliano Insua misses to the left of the target.
    • 9:00 The ball is sent over by Franck Beria, save by Jose Reina.
    • 8:14 The assist for the goal came from Leiva Lucas.
    • 8:14 GOAL - Steven GerrardLiverpool 1 - 0 Lille Power penalty scored by Steven Gerrard. Liverpool 1 (1)-(1) 0 Lille.
    • 7:25 Penalty awarded for an unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas by Adil Rami.
    • 5:02 Corner taken short by Yohan Cabaye. Inswinging corner taken by Yohan Cabaye, clearance made by Emiliano Insua.
    • 4:19 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Florent Balmont by Javier Mascherano. Free kick crossed by Ludovic Obraniak, Leiva Lucas makes a clearance.
    • 2:57 Ryan Babel produces a right-footed shot from outside the box and misses left.
    • 2:24 Emiliano Insua crosses the ball, Aurelien Chedjou makes a clearance.
    • 0:00 The referee gets the game started.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Europa League results

    18 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

    • Anderlecht4-3Hamburg
      FT (agg 5-6)
    • Fulham4-1JuventusFT (agg 5-4)
    • Liverpool3-0LilleFT (agg 3-1)
    • Marseille1-2Benfica
      FT (agg 2-3)
    • Sporting2-2Atletico Madrid
      FT (agg 2-2) Atletico Madrid win on Away Goals Rule
    • Standard Liege1-0Panathinaikos
      FT (agg 4-1)
    • Werder Bremen4-4Valencia
      FT (agg 5-5)
    • Wolfsburg2-1Rubin Kazan
      FT (agg 3-2) After Extra Time

    see also
    Benitez relieved to see off Lille
    18 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
    Europa League as it happened
    18 Mar 10 |  Football
    Arsenal draw favourites Barcelona
    19 Mar 10 |  Europe
    Liverpool keen to offload Riera
    26 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
    Lille 1-0 Liverpool
    11 Mar 10 |  Europe
    Reds can build on victory - Kelly
    16 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
    Liverpool 4-1 Portsmouth
    15 Mar 10 |  Premier League
    US group 'to make Liverpool bid'
    14 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
    Benitez predicts Anfield comeback
    11 Mar 10 |  Europe


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