Reds complete Italian job

Liverpool ensure English clean sweep

Liverpool ensured they became the fourth English club to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League as they defeated 10-man Internazionale 1-0 at the Giuseppe Meazza.

Rafa Benitez's side enjoyed the luxury of a two-goal lead from the first-leg at Anfield and a second half strike from star forward Fernando Torres in Italy ensured the Reds will be joining Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in the quarter-finals of Europe's premier cup competition.

Inter - who spent the weekend celebrating their centenary - were eager for another blast from the past as they looked to recreate their 1965 European Cup semi-final win over the Reds, but this season the Serie A leaders could not repeat their heroics as Nicolas Burdisso was sent off early in the second half to leave them facing an uphill task.

Julio Cruz was guilty of wasting Inter's best chance of the first half when the Argentine forward opted to shoot when through on goal rather then squaring to the unmarked Dejan Stankovic.

Cruz was also denied by two fine first half blocks from Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina, but five minutes after the interval Burdisso - who had felled Dirk Kuyt in the first half - was handed his marching orders for a clumsy challenge on Lucas Leiva.

Torres then increased the home side's misery on 63 minutes as the Spaniard deftly controlled a cross from Fabio Aurelio on the edge of the box before swivelling and rifling past Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar to seal a 3-0 aggregate victory.


Inter were desperate for an early breakthrough and it almost came after eight minutes when Reina made a fine save at full-stretch from Cruz's drive from just outside the penalty area.

Javier Zanetti was a constant threat down the left while Esteban Cambiasso followed Gerrard everywhere and still had time to keep Inter's play moving relentlessly forward.

Liverpool had their moments, though. One outstanding ball from deep by Aurelio sent Ryan Babel away behind Inter's defence and keeper Cesar needed to rush out of his box to intervene.

Then a mistake by Cambiasso in his own box let in Torres, who side-stepped one defender and forced Cesar into a crucial block at his near post.

But Cruz should have scored after 30 minutes, racing on to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic pass only to fire an angled shot just wide of the far post.

Maicon's error from a poor crossfield ball let in Kuyt but his low drive bounced back to him off Nelson Rivas and ricocheted behind.

It was left to Reina to end the first half with another fine save, diving backwards to hold a Cruz flick from Maicon's cross.

Second booking

Gerrard was booked for a foul on Cambiasso but after 50 minutes Inter were reduced to 10 men when Burdisso received a second booking for a high tackle on Lucas.

Inter, who had Marco Materazzi dismissed at Anfield, had to move Cristian Chivu into a central defensive role and push Zanetti back.

The tension was racked up and Aurelio was next into the book as Inter urged referee Tom Henning Ovrebo to produce cards for seemingly every Liverpool tackle.

Ibrahimovic should have scored after an Aurelio error before Rivas was cautioned for body-checking Babel, who was soon to be replaced by Yossi Benayoun.

Inter were being stretched and after 63 minutes Liverpool scored the goal that put the result beyond doubt.

Aurelio won possession on the left and surged forward, feeding Torres on the edge of the box. The Spaniard turned to fire a stunning shot inches inside Cesar's right-hand post to send the Red hordes behind the goal wild.

Dejan Stankovic and then Benayoun found themselves in the referee's book with former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira taken off after 76 minutes and replaced by Pele, the Portuguese 20-year-old.

John Arne Riise and Jermaine Pennant took over from Kuyt and Mascherano as Liverpool saw out time with ease to claim the 12th European Cup quarter-final place in their history.

Internazionale Team Statistics Liverpool
0 Goals 1
0 1st Half Goals 0
2 Shots on Target 4
9 Shots off Target 4
2 Blocked Shots 3
2 Corners 4
18 Fouls 17
2 Offsides 2
3 Yellow Cards 4
1 Red Cards 0
78 Passing Success 81
23 Tackles 26
78.3 Tackles Success 61.5
49.5 Possession 50.5
51.2 Territorial Advantage 48.8