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UEFA Europa League

  • August 30, 2012
  • • 3:05 PM
  • • Anfield, Liverpool
  • Referee: V. Bezborodov
  • • Attendance: 44361

Liverpool win Aggregate 2 - 1

Liverpool 1-1 Hearts (Agg 2-1): Late Suarez strike saves Reds after Reina howler

After beating the Scottish side 1-0 in the first leg, the Reds survived a late scare at Anfield to secure their progression to the group stages of the Europa League

Liverpool secured its qualification for the Europa League group stage after a late goal from Luis Suarez spared Pepe Reina's blushes in a 1-1 draw with Hearts.

Brendan Rodgers' side was in control but lacked cutting edge and it looked as if it would be made to pay as Reina allowed David Templeton's strike to squirm past him. However Suarez saved the day with a late equalizer from a tight angle.

The first real opportunity of the game went the hosts' way just before the 15 minute mark. Stewart Downing, who started the game very well at full-back, found Morgan with a deep cross, the youngster nodded the delivery back across goal towards Suarez but the forward's close-range header was saved and then hacked away.

The Reds continued to see the better share of the ball, but found breaking down the Hearts' back-line no easy task - Martin Kelly overhitting his cross when the hosts did manage to break free on the right-flank.

The better chances continued to fall to the home side as Morgan's low drive was initially spilled by MacDonald, but he regathered before Steven Gerrard could pounce.

The Liverpool captain then embarked on a brilliant solo run that saw the midfielder get into a good position before attempting to dink the ball past the outrushing keeper with his left, but the effort was matched by an equally impressive save.

The game took a while to get going again in the second-half, as the Reds continued to control the match without creating much in the final third.

After the hour mark the home side should have taken the lead. Suarez beat the offside trap to latch onto Jordan Henderson's through ball, the striker then rounded the keeper but hesitated and eventually saw his shot deflect onto the post. Moments later the forward wasted another good position after lashing wide with his left from inside the box.

Sterling's introduction helped inject some pace into Rodgers' men's play, the tricky winger halted at the last by a super tackle from Danny Grainger after a winding run before Gerrard's follow-up was saved by MacDonald.

With under ten minutes to go Reina, who had very little to do for the majority of the game, made a huge error that gave Hearts hope of extra-time. Templeton fired a tame shot from outside the area straight at the Spaniard, however the keeper failed to hold onto it as the ball found its way across the line and leveled the aggregate scores.

However, Liverpool responded perfectly as it broke down the other end with Suarez, who completed an individual run with a powerful finish past MacDonald from an acute angle, sending the Reds into the group stages of the Europa League.

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