Reds roar back to go through
Liverpool booked their place in the group stages of the Europa League after beating Trabzonspor.
By Mike Barton
Last Updated: 26/08/10 9:25pm
Liverpool booked their place in the group stages of the Europa League after coming from behind to beat Trabzonspor 2-1 in Turkey.
The Reds had never beaten Turkish opposition on their patch and struggled to build for large parts of the game without star men Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.
They could not have got off to a worse start when Teofilo Gutierrez put the hosts in front to level the tie on aggregate at 1-1 after three minutes.
From there on in, the game failed to take any real rhythm, with pressure from Trabzonspor sporadic and Liverpool's threat almost non-existent in the first half.
However, the Reds came back strongly in the second period, creating much of the better chances and looking far more dangerous.
They got their reward late into the game to kill the tie off with an away goal thanks to an own-goal from Remzi Kacar, before Dirk Kuyt settled the game with three minutes remaining.
Liverpool had the chance to put the tie to bed in the first leg but taking a 1-0 lead to Turkey was never going to ensure a comfortable night.
And despite finding themselves under huge pressure in the opening 45 minutes they should have wrapped things up a lot sooner than they eventually did.
David Ngog missed two second-half chances which Torres, the man he was standing in for with the Spaniard resting back on Merseyside, would probably have buried.
Prior to that Sotirios Kyrgiakos - one of five changes from Monday's Manchester City defeat - could have scored in only the second minute but he directed a weak downward header from Fabio Aurelio's corner straight at Onur Kivrak.
Trabzonspor made no such mistake two minutes later when Kuyt gave the ball away and Gustavo Colman's intended shot sliced open the heart of Liverpool's defence and Gutierrez side-footed past Jose Reina.
The enthusiastic Trabzonspor support did not need encouragement to ratchet up the volume as Liverpool's task suddenly looked a whole lot more difficult.
A quick counter-attack from an Aurelio corner almost brought a second for Trabzonspor, with Jamie Carragher deflecting Ibrahima Yattara's shot behind and then Colman drilling in a low effort which Reina turned around his left-hand post.
The Liverpool goalkeeper was receiving some unwanted attention from a fan with a laser pen and Croatian referee Ivan Bebek instructed the Uefa delegate to put out a warning that the game could be stopped as a result.
Hodgson's side struggled to gain a foothold in the game and spent the remainder of the first half under pressure.
That continued after the break as Burak Yilmaz burst through on goal three minutes after the restart but was flagged offside.
In the 52nd minute Ngog should have given Liverpool some much-needed breathing space when Joe Cole stood up a cross to the far post but the Frenchman headed wide from close range when it seemed easier to score.
Ngog then turned his marker inside-out on the edge of the penalty area but, faced with a clear shot at goal, rolled his effort wide.
Liverpool were, however, growing in confidence as Trabzonspor began to drop deeper and deeper.
But the longer it went without a goal, the more pressure they put on themselves.
Roy Hodgson made his first change with 13 minutes to go when he sent on Dani Pacheco for Aurelio.
But the breakthrough eventually came eight minutes from time when pressure by Ngog forced an own goal.
Johnson's run and cross down the right was turned in by Kacar via the near post.
And things were wrapped up late on as Kuyt tapped in after Kivrak could only parry out Cole's shot.
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