Late Suarez goal breaks Hearts and spares Liverpool's blushes
Published 31/08/2012 | 08:34
Liverpool 1 Hearts 1 (Liverpool win 2-1 on aggregate): Luis Suarez spared goalkeeper Pepe Reina's blushes – and some of his own – with the late goal that fired the Reds into the Europa League group stage at the expense of Hearts.
Brendan Rodgers' side dominated the second leg of their qualifying round play-off at Anfield but were punished for not adding to their 1-0 aggregate lead when Reina let a David Templeton shot squeeze through with only five minutes remaining.
Templeton seized on a clearance and took a couple of touches before firing at Reina. It was well struck but the Spanish keeper should still have dealt with it, only the ball to squirm through his grasp.
With extra time looming, Liverpool rallied and Suarez made amends for missing two earlier gilt-edged chances with a fine finish in the 88th minute.
It was a victory the Reds thoroughly deserved, played out against the backdrop of today's impending transfer deadline with £35m striker Andy Carroll joining West Ham on loan last night.
"We were wasteful tonight but we got through, which was the most important thing," Rodgers said."Hearts worked hard but Jose Reina was never really threatened in goal. But we still needed to respond to their goal and we got that response.
"We didn't lose the game which is important. The boys have been excellent so far this season, I can have no complaints."
Liverpool Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Downing, Henderson, Allen, Shelvey, Gerrard, Morgan, Suarez. Substitutes Jones, Johnson, Jose Enrique, Agger, Coates, Borini, Sterling.
Hearts MacDonald, Ryan McGowan, Webster, Zaliukas, Grainger, Novikovas, Barr, Taouil, Paterson, Templeton, Sutton. Substitutes Hamilton, Robinson, Driver, Holt, Dylan McGowan, McHattie, Carrick.
Referee V Bezborodov (Russia).
Europa League: Draw details
Liverpool and Newcastle United join Tottenham in today's Group Stage draw.
Spurs and Liverpool are seeded in Pot 1, so cannot be drawn with holders Atletico Madrid, Lyons or Bayer Leverkusen, but there are possible match-ups with Athletic Bilbao and Napoli – both in Pot 2.
Newcastle are in Pot 3 so could face Lyons, Bilbao and Academica in the same group.