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Liverpool crave cutting edge

Published: Sunday 5 March 2006, 21.50CET
A shortage of goals is in danger of undermining Liverpool FC's season as the UEFA Champions League holders welcome in-form SL Benfica to Anfield.

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Published: Sunday 5 March 2006, 21.50CET

Liverpool crave cutting edge

A shortage of goals is in danger of undermining Liverpool FC's season as the UEFA Champions League holders welcome in-form SL Benfica to Anfield.

A shortage of goals is in danger of undermining Liverpool FC's season as the UEFA Champions League holders welcome to Anfield an SL Benfica side who have been in fine domestic form.

Liverpool FC 0-0 Charlton Athletic FC
Liverpool dropped more points in their attempt to secure second place in the Premiership on Saturday as they played out a stalemate against Charlton. A disallowed goal from Robbie Fowler late in the game was the closest either side came to claiming all three points as Liverpool largely dominated but struggled to turn their possession into clear chances. Their frustrated manager Rafael Benítez said: "It is a pity in the last few games that we are not scoring goals. We are doing everything to score and are creating a lot of chances. The goalkeeper of the other side is always man of the match but we just have to keep going."

The draw with Charlton followed a 1-0 home victory on 26 February against Manchester City FC in which Harry Kewell scored the only goal in the first half. A hamstring injury forced Sami Hyypiä to be withdrawn at half-time against Charlton, but the centre-back could return against Benfica after a scan revealed no serious damage. Meanwhile, midfielder Mohamed Sissoko could make a comeback before the end of the season as he will not now require an operation on his eye injury. "This has all come at such a bad time for me," Sissoko said. "But I've promised myself I will play again before the end of May. Maybe the FA Cup or Champions League final will be the game when I return."

CF Estrela da Amadora 1-2 SL Benfica
Benfica won their second successive Portuguese Liga game on Saturday, recovering from a goal down to overcome Amadora. Trailing 1-0 at the interval, Frenchman Laurent Robert equalised for Benfica just six minutes into the second period and increasing pressure from the visitors was finally rewarded in added time as Fabrizio Miccoli scored the winning goal. "It was a deserved outcome because we were the better team in the second half," said Benfica coach Ronald Koeman. "We created more pressure than Amadora and, although we didn't create many chances, we managed to score with two of our best opportunities."

On 26 February, Benfica gained a vital 1-0 victory against rivals and league leaders FC Porto with Robert getting the only goal of the game. The two victories have allowed Benfica to close the gap on Porto and this weekend's win was achieved without the club's charismatic captain Simão because of suspension, while Georgios Karagounis was substituted midway through the second half with an ankle sprain. However, the Greek international should recover for Wednesday. Coach Koeman did have some good news, however, as strikers Geovanni and Miccoli both recovered from thigh injuries to feature. The Brazilian earned a start on Saturday while Italian Miccoli came on as a substitute.

Last updated: 06/03/06 15.07CET

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