|Christian Benteke’s excellent strike spared Belgian counterpart Simon Mignolet’s blushes as Liverpool recovered from a goal down against Bordeaux to reach the knockout stages of the Europa League.|
Mignolet bizarrely gifted the French side an opener just after the half-hour mark, holding onto the ball illegally for 20 seconds and allowing Henri Saivet to curl home the resultant indirect free kick.
James Milner sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the penalty spot to equaliser minutes later after Benteke had been fouled.
And the Belgian striker’s crisp turn and finish just before half time earned the win that booked the Reds’ place in the last 32 with a game to spare.
With the Reds rocked by the news of a latest setback for injury-plagued striker Daniel Sturridge – this time a foot problem – prior to kickoff, Benteke was reinstated as a recognised striker after Klopp opted to go without in the win at Manchester City on Saturday.
And initially Liverpool seemed bereft of the same fluidity on show in the Etihad mauling, and Kolo Toure had to make a crucial early block after Mignolet had inexplicably headed it straight to a Bordeaux attacker.
And Mignolet was at fault again soon after. After long surpassing the six-second rule for holding onto the ball, the referee penalised the goalkeeper by awarding the Ligue 1 side an indirect free kick inside the penalty area.
Bordeaux duly capitalised on Mignolet’s misjudgement as Saivet emphatically placed into the top corner.
Liverpool were behind for just five minutes though and their equaliser came through Milner’s confident penalty after Benteke had been hauled down by Bordeaux captain Ludovic Sane.
And the Reds went in front on the stroke of half time, Benteke controlling Nathaniel Clyne’s low cross and dispatching a stinging first-time effort past goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso’s reach before he could react.
Liverpool sprung out of the blocks quickly after the break and Benteke again was heavily involved, first blazing over from 12 yards and then having a goal disallowed for a foul on Sane.
Jordon Ibe then burst past his marker but could only fire straight at the feet of Carrasso before the game became increasingly scrappy in the latter stages.
Mignolet went some way to appeasing the Anfield faithful after his first-half error with a stoppage time save as Bordeaux pushed for a late equaliser in vain.
Elsewhere in Group B, Rubin Kazan kept their faint qualification hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Swiss side and Liverpool’s next opponents FC Sion.
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