Liverpool FC 2-1 Juventus FC Fabio Cannavaro heads an away goal to leave the quarter-final delicately poised.
By Greg Demetriou at Anfield
Liverpool FC will take a slender lead to Turin for the second leg of this UEFA Champions League quarter-final after a Fabio Cannavaro header gave Juventus FC a potentially crucial away goal.
Excellent first-half efforts from Sami Hyypiä and Luis García on an emotional but thrilling night had put the English side comfortably ahead. However, Italy captain Cannavaro's effort just after the hour put the tie back in the balance.
The match was the first competitive meeting of the clubs since the loss of 39 lives at the 1985 final of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in Brussels. A minute's silence was held before kick-off as a mark of respect for those victims, as well as for Pope John Paul II who died on Saturday.
Juventus got the match under way but were instantly under pressure after Emerson slipped in midfield, allowing Czech Republic striker Milan Baroš to race through for an early chance on goal. Although that unexpected opportunity amounted to nothing, it was the shape of things to come.
Baroš, in particular, was finding plenty of room and his persistent play earned his side a corner in the tenth minute. The Czech Republic striker's hard work was rewarded with a Liverpool goal as García flicked on Steven Gerrard's set-piece for centre-back Hyypiä to crash a left-foot volley beyond Gianluigi Buffon, beaten just twice in the competition before tonight. Hyypiä had only been recalled because Mauricio Pellegrino was cup-tied.
Things were clearly not going Juve's way, although their fans did their utmost to rival the deafening chorus echoing around Anfield. Lifted by the home support, García executed an excellent 17th-minute tackle on Gianluca Zambrotta that set the tone for an even more committed period of play from Rafael Benítez's men.
García was proving a thorn in the visitors' side and nearly set up Baroš for the second a minute later. The goal was coming though, and it finally arrived in spectacular style on 25 minutes when García lofted a superb left-foot volley from 25 metres out over the stranded Buffon. Juventus almost had an instant response but Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the post with a shot on the turn.
Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero then went close on the half-hour mark after an excellent one-two with Pavel Nedved, who was fit again after a six-week absence. However, 19-year-old Scott Carson, making only his third start for Liverpool in place of the injured Jerzy Dudek, denied Del Piero with a wonderful stop and was to remain unbeaten in the first half.
For all Liverpool's dominance, Juventus knew an away goal would be crucial with at least another 90 minutes to come at the Delle Alpi next Wednesday. To boost their chances, Juventus coach Fabio Capello took off the ineffective Manuele Blasi at half-time and replaced him with the experienced Gianluca Pessotto to spark an upturn in the vistors' fortunes.
The attacking spirit of Juventus, with David Trezeguet on for Del Piero, paid off in the 63rd minute when Cannavaro's header from Zambrotta's cross eluded the diving Carson. Mauro Camoranesi then went close to finding an equaliser with a swerving shot that just went wide.
As Juve pressed, Benítez scaled back his forward line, with Antonio Núñez and Vladimír Šmicer coming on for Baroš and Anthony Le Tallec. For the visitors, substitute Paolo Montero added extra steel to their rearguard in the final minutes, but neither side seemed willing or able to match the urgency that had come before.