David N’gog scored twice as Liverpool opened their Europa League campaign with a 4-1 win over Steaua Bucharest on Thursday. Joe Cole put Liverpool in front after just 27 seconds, but Cristian Tanase levelled in the 13th minute by chipping keeper Pepe Reina.
The Romanian side frustrated the five-time European Cup winners until N’gog scored from the penalty spot in the 56th after Pantelis Kapetanos had fouled Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
It was a comfortable end to the match at Anfield as Lucas Leiva dispatched a third goal in the 81st and N’gog rounded off the win in stoppage time.
Juve held at home, holders atletico lose
Berne: Juventus were astonishingly held to a 3-3 home draw by Lech Poznan while holders Atletico Madrid began the defence of their crown with a 1-0 defeat at Aris Salonika.
Manchester City won 2-0 at Salzburg in a clash of two big-spending clubs who had been aiming for the Champions League but had to settle for the second-tier competition.
None of Italy's four representatives won a game between them while three of the four Spanish teams were beaten.
Juve's Felipe Melo gave away an early penalty as the Italians fell two goals behind with Artjoms Rudnevs grabbing a hattrick for the visitors including a stoppage-time equaliser in their Group A match.
Aris's Spanish forward Javito scored just before the hour against Atletico in Group B, running onto a flicked pass by Carlos Ruiz and firing a powerful shot into the corner, as they preserved an unbeaten home record in European competition.
Spain forward David Silva and Brazilian striker Jo scored in each half to give Man City a 2-0 win at Austrian champions Salzburg in Group A.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov hit a first-half hattrick as 2008 UEFA Cup winners Zenit St Petersburg won 3-1 at Anderlecht in Group G.
Patrick Helmes also scored a treble to help Bayer Leverkusen, missing injured captain Michael Ballack, to a 4-0 win over Rosenborg in Group B while Stefan Reinartz scored the other. The other two German teams also won.
VfB Stuttgart beat Young Boys 3-0 in Group H and Borussia Dortmund scored twice in the last five minutes as they came from behind to beat Ukraine's Karpaty Lviv 4-3.
Italian troubles continued as Palermo lost 3-2 at Sparta Prague in Group F and Napoli were held 0-0 at home by Utrecht in Group K while Sampdoria were denied a win.
Getafe restored Spanish pride by beating Odense 2-1 in Group H but Villarreal lost 2-0 at Dinamo Zagreb in Group D and Sevilla were beaten 1-0 at home by Paris St Germain.