Liverpool FC goalkeeper Pepe Reina kept R. Standard de Liège at bay as a string of saves, including one from Dante Bonfim's penalty, kept their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie level after the first leg at a sold-out Maurice Dufrasne Stadium.
Standard were without suspended defender Oguchi Onyewu and injured striker Milan Jovanović, but still took the game to the five-time European champions. Reina was called into action within six minutes and whatever was thrown at the Spaniard he proved able to keep out, meaning Standard still have plenty to do to earn a group stage debut at Anfield in a fortnight.
Home coach László Bölöni had said before the game that Liverpool "will have to play below their usual level, while we will have to play above ours" to have a chance. Standard certainly kept up the latter end of the bargain, and within seven minutes had gone mighty close when Marouane Fellaini got his head to a Steven Defour free-kick but the ball hit the inside of the post and Reina scooped it out before it crossed the line.
Liverpool had captain Steven Gerrard on the bench after his recent thigh strain and things nearly got worse for the Reds in the 12th minute when debutant Andrea Dossena handled just inside the box but Bonfim's weak effort was kept out by Reina. The only threat from the visitors was a Xabi Alonso free-kick that went over the bar.
Little changed after the break and Igor De Camargo was sent through only to slip as he attempted to beat Reina. The goalkeeper stopped a deflected Defour shot and was then relieved as De Camargo headed just wide from close range. Another Liverpool newcomer, Robbie Keane, was replaced by Gerrard midway through the second half and the England midfielder came close with a long-range free-kick but Reina's work was not yet done as he was called upon again late on, using his elbow to keep out another De Camargo header.
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