Liverpool came from behind to beat Bordeaux 2-1 at Anfield this evening and seal their place in the knockout phase of the Europa League with a game to spare.
Roberto Firmino wriggled free of the Bordeaux back four early on, but scuffed his volley as it bobbled harmlessly into the hands of Cedric Carrasso. Clement Chantome then almost caught Simon Mignolet off his goal line, but Kolo Toure made a crucial block. Christian Benteke sent half-volley hurtling past the near post before finding the back of the net in the 29th minute, but his coolly-taken finish was ruled out for offside.
Bordeaux went ahead after 33 minutes when Mignolet was penalised for holding onto the ball for too long and Henri Saivet dispatched the resultant free kick into the top corner. Captain James Milner levelled from the spot for Liverpool five minutes later though after Benteke was hauled down by Lamine Sane and the Belgian striker then put the Reds ahead with the last kick of the first half as he span away from his marker before firing a powerful shot beyond Carrasso.
Jurgen Klopp’s side emerged in the second half with a much better tempo and Benteke should have extended Liverpool’s lead, but he lent back and fired his shot over the bar after being found by Firmino’s cut back from the byline. Benteke continued to be involved in the thick of the action as he slammed Milner’s cross into the roof of the net, but play was pulled back for a foul on Sane in the build-up. It was then the turn of Jordon Ibe to be wasteful, as the youngster blasted a one-on-one chance at the legs of Carrasso.
The game entered a lull as the second half wore on, although Milner rattled a shot into the side netting after being found by Emre Can. Bordeaux had three late chances to level, but Nicolas Maurice-Belay and Diego Contento both fired over the bar from inside the area before Saivet’s injury-time free kick was parried to safety by Mignolet.