Liverpool through as Benteke overhauls Bordeaux
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Liverpool 2-1 Bordeaux
Christian Benteke clinched the points as Liverpool came from behind to beat the French visitors and qualify for the next phase from Group B.
Article top media content
- Liverpool secure qualification with narrow victory
- James Milner, a penalty, and Christian Benteke get goals for Reds
- Henri Saivet earlier puts visitors in front from indirect free-kick
- Winless Bordeaux eliminated with match to spare
- Final Group B games: Bordeaux v Rubin, Sion v Liverpool (10 December)
Liverpool wrapped up their place in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League by coming from behind to defeat Bordeaux.
Christian Benteke got the winning goal with a fine individual strike after James Milner's penalty had cancelled out Henri Saivet's 33rd-minute effort for the Ligue 1 side. As a consequence Liverpool moved to the top of Group B, a point above Sion, while Bordeaux remain bottom.
Bordeaux had the first opportunity of the night when Simon Mignolet's weak defensive header just outside his box fell to Clément Chantôme but happily for Liverpool, Kolo Touré got in the way of the Frenchman's attempted lob.
Mignolet had no reprieve, however, when he was guilty of holding onto the ball for too long just after the half-hour. Jaroslav Plašil touched the ball to Saivet and the Bordeaux No10 curled a lovely shot into the right corner of the net.
At that stage, Liverpool's best moment had come from Benteke with a strike flashed wide on the half-volley, and it was the Belgian who brought them back into the match. After he had had a goal annulled for offside, he went to ground under a Ludovic Sané challenge in the box and James Milner tucked away the ensuing spot-kick.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, Benteke turned onto Nathaniel Clyne's ball into the area and buried it beyond Cédric Carrasso.
Benteke was a central figure in the second half too when he had another goal disallowed for an apparent push on Sané and missed an easier chance than his goal. Jordon Ibe might have scored too but was foiled by Carrasso before Mignolet denied Bordeaux a point by beating away Saivet's late free-kick.
Benteke on the up
Benteke's sole previous 90-minute appearance under Jürgen Klopp had come in the home defeat by Crystal Palace. If this was an opportunity to stake a claim for more starts, he showed his very best side with a terrific winning goal, his first in Europe for the Reds, though he is unlikely to want to dwell on his second-half miss from Roberto Firmino's pull-back.
Bordeaux's English hoodoo
Bordeaux's players began the night with a lovely gesture, parading a banner with the British and French flags and the words 'Thank You' to express their gratitude for the expressions of cross-Channel solidarity since the Paris terror attacks. Yet although Saivet registered their first goal on English soil this was ultimately a familiar tale – their sixth defeat in six matches here.
Liverpool's home improvements
Under Klopp, Liverpool have had brilliant away victories at Chelsea and Manchester City but some mixed performances at home. In his programme notes, Klopp said "we need to make sure it is a place where we play our best football" and though this was not quite Liverpool at their best, it was certainly an improvement on their two previous home draws in the competition.