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Liverpool brush aside Levski

Liverpool safely negotiated their way into the Uefa Cup fourth round.

Gerard Houllier's side scored early on, Steven Gerrard firing home from an acute angle and Michael Owen evading Levski's offside trap soon after.

Levksi regrouped and Georgi Ivanov's left-footed shot and Sasha Simonovic's curling effort reduced the deficit.

Just before the break Dietmar Hamann headed home Steven Gerrard's corner and Sami Hyypia scored a carbon copy goal midway through the second half.

Liverpool had taken over an hour to break down Levski in the first-leg at Anfield a week ago, but within seven minutes Gerrard had grabbed an important away goal.

Pouncing on a mistake by Ilian Stoyanov, Gerrard rounded keeper Dimitar Ivankov before sliding the ball home from a difficult angle.

KEY MOMENTS
7 mins: Gerrard strikes to put Liverpool ahead
11 mins: Owen gets back to goalscoring ways
27 mins: Ivanov's shot gives Levski hope lead
40 mins: Simonovic powerful shot further reduces the aggregate deficit
44 mins: Hamman's header calms Liverpool's nerves
67 mins: Hyypia further extends Liverpool's lead

Four minutes later as the Levski defence pushed up, Owen delayed his run, before collecting Harry Kewell's pass and calmly curling the ball past Ivankov's right-hand.

Breaking quickly on the counterattack, Liverpool continued to probe Levski's suspect defence and Danny Murphy was unlucky to be flagged for offside.

Owen was also unfortunate not to reach Bruno Cheyrou's dangerous cross from the right.

With Liverpool in complete control, Levski gained a foothold in the match through goals from Ivanov and Simonovic.

First Ivanov latched on to a deflection off Steve Finnan to screw the ball low and hard past Chris Kirkland.

Simonovic then weaved his way into a central position and curled his shot superbly into Kirkland's top left-hand corner.

Having gained a toehold into the game, Levski undid all their hard work with more lax defending allowing Hamann to escape unmarked and head home a Gerrard corner a a minute before the interval.

On 67 minutes another Gerrard corner, also from the right, was met by Hyypia, who headed past Ivankov.

Liverpool defended with more conviction in the second half and Kirkland made an impressive save to tip over the bar Stanislav Angelov's rising shot.

Copyright - BBC

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