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Liverpool brought down to earth

Published: Saturday 16 April 2005, 1.09CET
Liverpool FC were the only semi-finalists in action on Saturday and were held by Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Published: Saturday 16 April 2005, 1.09CET

Liverpool brought down to earth

Liverpool FC were the only semi-finalists in action on Saturday and were held by Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Liverpool FC were the only UEFA Champions League semi-finalists in action on Saturday and their manager, Rafael Benítez, was once again left frustrated after they were held to a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield.

Early blow
Three days after reaching the semi-finals, Liverpool were brought down to earth by Erik Edman's stunning 12th-minute opener for Tottenham. Liverpool hit back a minute before half-time, Luis García scoring with another terrific curling effort, but Robbie Keane restored Tottenham's advantage soon after the restart.

Gerrard returns
In a thrilling match, Steven Gerrard, who missed Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Juventus FC because of a groin strain, might have drawn Liverpool level from the penalty spot after he was brought down in the area. But the Liverpool captain fired wide, and was grateful to Sami Hyypiä who earned a point with a 63rd-minute strike.

'Very tired'
"I was pleased with the performance but disappointed with the result," Benítez said. "We played a very good game. For the last 15 minutes of the second half we played good high-tempo football. The players worked very hard and we had shots, got crosses in, missed a penalty. Some of the lads were very tired after the Champions League game but worked very hard."

Four changes
Benítez made four changes to the side that drew in Turin. As well as Gerrard, Mauricio Pellegrino and Fernando Morientes, both of whom are ineligible for the Champions League, returned and there was also a place for Stephen Warnock, as John Arne Riise, Djimi Traore and Igor Bišcan dropped to the substitutes' bench. Milan Baroš was suspended. Xabi Alonso lasted 84 minutes in his second match back from injury and striker Djibril Cissé, sporting dyed red hair, came on for the final 13 minutes as he continues his recovery from a broken leg.

'Very frustrating'
The result saw Liverpool drop to sixth in the Premiership, three points behind Everton FC, who also have a game in hand, in the race for fourth place and the Champions League third qualifying round spot. "I want to be positive but it's harder now Bolton [Wanderers FC] have gone above us," said Benítez, whose side were defeated by Manchester City FC last week. "We have to start winning, quickly."

Chelsea test
Liverpool's semi-final opponents, Chelsea FC, are at home to Arsenal FC on Wednesday. AC Milan are away to AC Siena on Sunday when their semi-final opponents, PSV Eindhoven, travel to Willem II.

Last updated: 17/04/05 22.09CET

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