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Thursday, 23 November, 2000, 23:48 GMT
Liverpool suffer late setback
Olympiakos 2-2 Liverpool
Liverpool were denied a victory due to an injury-time equaliser by Olympiakos after spurning a host of late chances at the Athens Olympic Stadium.
Alexious Alexandris scored in the third minute of time added to level matters as Liverpool's failure to hold on to a lead away from home again proved their downfall.
Nick Barmby gave the visitors the lead before Alexandris equalised.
Steven Gerrard scored a second Liverpool goal as it seemed the visitors were on their way to a comfortable victory against a Greek side appearing to lack motivation.
The home side gifted Liverpool a host of late chances to put themselves beyond reach but Gerard Houllier's team could not take advantage.
Liverpool were then punished with the Greeks' late goal but they do have two valuable away goals to their credit.
The opening period began with Olympiakos comfortably keeping possession and showing their ability on the ball.
They seemed ominous signs considering the Greek side's impressive home record in European competition.
Olympiakos have not lost in their 14 Champions Legaue outings during the past four seasons and had won all three of their games in the same competition this season.
Emile Heskey had to receive treatment briefly after eight minutes and from the resultant long-range free-kick Dietmar Hamann struck the Olympiakos wall.
But the first noteworthy threat on goal came for the home side when Alexandris found space on the right of Liverpool's area where the Greeks seemed to be trying to exploit left-back Djimi Traore.
Frenchman Traore was playing due to Liverpool's German international Christian Ziege being absent with an Achilles injury.
Alexandris did not get hold of his attempted left-foot curler and Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld gathered safely.
With the Greeks failing to create any clear cut chances and Liverpool defending comfortably, the first-half became a subdued affair before Barmby gave Liverpool the lead.
Jamie Carragher delivered a long throw in to the Olympiakos area which the powerful Heskey headed onto the near post.
Barmby had stolen in front of the Greek defence with a well-timed run and he clinically finished the move after 38 minutes.
The visitors almost extended their advantage two minutes later when Greek goalkeeper Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos could only parry Danny Murphy's 20-yard free-kick.
Barmby followed up but failed to get what could have been a crucial touch.
Liverpool looked buoyed by their advantage and Heskey was narrwoly wide with a near post header from Steve Staunton's 50th minute corner.
The marauding Heskey then turned provider when he crossed for Barmby but the Liverpool midfielder's effort came off the underside of the crossbar.
The ball did not cross the line and Steven Gerrard's follow-up went wide.
The home side made Liverpool pay for that miss after Christos Patsatzoglu headed wide in Olympiakos' efforts to equalise.
They duly did so against a Liverpool side who have struggled to hold on to a lead away from home this season and their weakness struck again.
Giovanni crossed to the Liverpool six yard line where Alexandris provided a spectacular finish with an overhead kick.
Vladimir Smicer then replaced Michael Owen. Soon after Heskey won a corner from which Gerrard scored with a glancing header to restore Liverpool's lead.
The crossbar again came to the rescue of the home side when Staunton, on for Traore, struck a free-kick onto the woodwork after 75 minutes.
Smicer then found himself clean through on goal after 83 minutes but his shot came back off the Olympiakos post.
Olympiakos: Eleftheropoulos, Anatolakis, Kontis, Amanatidis, Mavrogenidis, Patsatzoglou, Poursanidis, Djordjevic, Zetterberg, Alexandris, Giovanni. Subs: Georgiou, Karataidis, Georgatos, Passalis, De Souza, Kostoulas, Giannacopoulos.
Liverpool: Westerveld, Carragher, Hyypia, Babbel, Traore, Barmby, Hamann, Gerrard, Murphy, Heskey, Owen. Subs: Arphexad, Henchoz, Song, Staunton, Smicer, McAllister, Partridge.
Referee: Rene Temmink (Holland)
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Other top Uefa Cup stories:
Links to top Uefa Cup stories are at the foot of the page.
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