Monday, 26 November 2012

Liverpool v Young Boys

After a well deserved win against Wigan, Liverpool resumed their Europa League campaign at home to Young Boys.

Changes to the previous game included a new three-pronged front line of Shelvey, Cole and Assaidi and the night saw Pepe Reina set a new record for European appearances by making his 81st which broke Ray Clemence's long club record.

Liverpool kicked off knowing a win would seal qualification for the next round after Anzhi's earlier 2-0 win over Udinese but it was the visitors who started the brightest with Zarate hooking over the bar after just nine seconds.

Young Boys pressed further as Nuzzolo tested Reina from the edge of the area which inspired Liverpool to force their own pressure and in the 17th minute, Shelvey put Cole through towards the  goal on the right but his strike flew past the far post.

Wolfli in the away goal made a fine save in the 26th minute from Henderson after being setup by a nice flick by Shelvey.

On the half hour, Gerrard came on to replace Wisdom who departed with a slight injury and the reshuffle saw Henderson move to right-back. The change paid dividends as Liverpool took the lead after Suso and Cole exchanged passes on the edge of the area with the Spaniard lifting the ball above Wolfli to allow Shelvey to head in from a yard out.

Liverpool could have hit two in mere minutes as Skrtel latched on to a goalward punt by Cole only to be denied by a goal line clearance by Nuzzolo. Liverpool were dominating possession and came close to a second just before the interval but Suso shot wide with only the keeper to beat.

Young Boys came out in the second half with optimism that they could equalise quickly and had two good chances, first Farnerud drilled over from close range and Zverotic's shot from distance crept past the post.

Liverpool pushed back with Suso dissecting the defence to pick out Joe Cole but when one-on-one, Cole failed to hit the back of the net. The miss proved to be expensive for Liverpool as within seconds the equaliser came for Young Boys as Farnerud hit a hopeful pass, he picked out Bobadilla just inside the box who then blasted a shot into the far corner past the ailing Reina.

On came Luis Suarez in place of Suso who had given a majestic performance surely making him a candidate for man of the match. Liverpool pushed for a winner and with 18 minutes left, they hit the front, Suarez and Gerrard exchanged passes with Gerrard picking out Cole's run with a pinpoint pass and Cole with his back to goal spun expertly to then release an excellent shot past Wolfli and set of in celebration.

Time went on and again Young Boys pushed for an equaliser and to stop Liverpool from qualifying with a game to spare, their luck came in the 88th minute as Zverotic blasted home from the edge of the area and meant the game ended level at 2-2.

With Udinese away in a fortnight's time, Liverpool know a win is essential to qualify for the last 32 but can got through via a draw if Young Boys fail to get a result against already qualified Anzhi Makhachkala.