Dirk Kuyt marked his 100th appearance for Liverpool FC with a late extra-time goal that took his side past R. Standard de Liège and into the UEFA Champions League group stage
The aggregate score was goalless when the game began and 118 minutes at Anfield did not change that fact. But Liverpool have won both their Premier League games this season with late strikes and Kuyt stole in to apply a finishing touch to substitute Ryan Babel's cross, meaning that for the fifth consecutive campaign Rafael Benítez has led the Reds through qualifying in this competition.
Standard had the better of the first leg, with Pepe Reina making a string of saves including from Dante Bonfim's penalty, but it was Liverpool who began the brighter tonight. Fernando Torres was denied by a last-ditch tackle as early as the third minute. However, Reina was called into action to turn away Dieudonné Mbokani's shot from distance, and the goalkeeper was also equal to a header from the Congolese forward. Late in the half Kuyt nodded a corner just off target, although Liverpool's possession was failing to produce clear chances.
Just past the hour mark Torres seemed to be through on goal yet Marcos Camozzato made a fine sliding tackle. Liverpool were still having most of the ball but Standard's defence was in determined mood. Xabi Alonso tried his luck from distance only for Rorys Espinoza to make a comfortable save. Robbie Keane was just unable to connect with a cross that rolled in front of the Standard goal, while Steven Defour's header did not trouble Reina. Kuyt and Alonso tried their luck late on but an additional half-hour was required.
The stalemate continued in extra time, and although Álvaro Arbeloa tested Espinoza with a stinging drive, it seemed penalties would be needed. Kuyt had other ideas however, and instead of making a group stage debut, the Belgian champions will enter the UEFA Cup first round.
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