Liverpool tread a thin red line | sports | Hindustan Times
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Liverpool tread a thin red line

English Premier League giants Liverpool are on the brink of going out of the Champions League after drawing 1-1 with Lyon on Wednesday. The draw put Lyon through to the knockout stages and they were joined by Sevilla, who were held 1-1 by VfB Stuttgart.

sports Updated: Nov 05, 2009 22:35 IST

English Premier League giants Liverpool are on the brink of going out of the Champions League after drawing 1-1 with Lyon on Wednesday.

The draw put Lyon through to the knockout stages and they were joined by Sevilla, who were held 1-1 by VfB Stuttgart but assured of a top-two finish in their group when Rangers drew with Unirea Urziceni.

Barcelona's hold on the trophy, which they won in such style last season, loosened ever so slightly when they were held 0-0 by Russian champions Rubin Kazan.

Indeed Inter Milan's late comeback to gain a 2-1 victory over Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine sees the Italian side go top of the tightest group. Should Barcelona and Kazan finish tied for second place on points it would be the Russian outfit who progress by virtue of their head-to-head record.

Liverpool had bossed the first half against the seven-time French champions with Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Andriy Voronin all going close.

They looked set to come away with all three points when Ryan Babel struck a stunning opener late on but Lyon broke their hearts when Lisandro Lopez struck with minutes remaining.

Fiorentina's 5-2 romp at home to Debrecen — begun by Adrian Mutu's early goal — has really turned the heat up on Liverpool.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, who has come under increasing pressure and who has now seen his side win just one of their last eight games, believed that things had not gone fairly for his injury-racked team.

"We deserved to win and to concede a goal in the last minute is really unlucky," said the Spaniard.

"But the team showed character given our problems and they were really positive. "Can we pull off a great escape? Yes, we will."

Inter's charismatic coach Jose Mourinho was immensely proud of his runaway Serie A leaders, who have failed to translate their domestic form onto the Champions League stage over the past few seasons.

"It was a fantastic performance, with heart, emotion, desire and unity," he said.

"I've done some quick calculations and I think that nine points will be enough (to qualify for the last 16). We have six, we need three more."

Arsenal are all but through after a 4-1 victory over Dutch champions AZ Alkmaar.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger was full of praise for his side and singled out Russia playmaker Andrey Arshavin.