Liverpool enjoy a Greek cruise
Liverpool embarked on a relaxing Greek cruise as they eased past Olympiakos to reach the fourth round of the Uefa Cup.
Goals from Emile Heskey and Nick Barmby would have impressed watching England scout Tord Grip but, more importantly, they sealed Liverpool a 4-2 aggregate win.
Heskey eased a few early nerves by maintaining his rich vein of goalscoring form to put Liverpool in front by half time.
Barmby claimed an assist in the opener then scored the second himself to cap a hugely impressive display from the lively midfielder.
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier was clearly not intent on pushing everything forward in search of victory and it was a cagey line-up, with Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler both left on the bench as Vladimir Smicer played an advanced role off Heskey.
It was hardly surprising then that Liverpool made a cagey opening too.
Houllier's men looked just a little on edge and the Greeks began brightly, their confidence a long way removed from the collective shambles of the first leg.
Even so, it was Liverpool who had the better of the early openings.
Steven Gerrard was desperately unlucky not to open the scoring on five minutes when he controlled the ball on his chest and saw a dipping left-foot volley acrobatically turned over by goalkeeper Dimitri Eleftheropoulos.
Heskey sidefooted wide after good work by Barmby and Smicer, but the Liverpool defence offered its usual bout of self-inflicted jitters.
First, Jamie Carragher was panicked into spectacularly hacking behind under apparently little pressure.
Then goalkeeper Sander Westerveld stayed rooted to the spot as Olympiakos' two-goal first-leg hero Alexios Alexandris threatened, forcing Sammi Hyypia into a last-ditch defensive tackle.
So, it was as crucial to the Liverpool nerves as to the scoreline when Heskey put Liverpool in the driving seat on 28 minutes.
Barmby rode a tackle from Georgios Anatolakis and played a precise through ball which split the Greek defence, allowing Heskey to run clear and drill a low shot past the advancing keeper.
The crucial goal left Liverpool in complete control and forced the Greeks to open up more after half time.
That in turn meant Olympiakos were more vulnerable than ever at the back and they had a lucky escape when Hyypia's header from a Barmby corner was headed off the line by the perfectly-positioned Predrag Djordjevic.
But there was no escape route for the Greeks five minutes later as Barmby brilliantly put Liverpool two goals clear.
Floodgates remain locked
The England midfielder exchanged passes with Danny Murphy and touched the ball past Eleftheropoulos before clipping a precise left-foot shot which bounced in off a post from a tight angle.
The goal should have opened the floodgates at a rain-soaked Anfield but, to their credit, the visitors refused to buckle under increasing pressure.
They should have been granted a lifeline with 20 minutes still to play when Djordjevic sped past Westerveld, only to be flattened by the advancing Dutchman.
Incredibly, Olympiakos' claims for a penalty were waved away and, with them, any hopes of an unlikely comeback were dismissed too.
But there was still time for a remarkable injury-time miss from Smicer, who sidefooted over an empty goal from Barmby's cross as he failed woefully to put the icing on Liverpool's cake.
All the action from Anfield, where Liverpool defeat Olympiakos in the Uefa Cup 2-0 to advance into the fourth round 4-2 on aggregate.
Full-time: Liverpool 2-0 Olympiakos
93 mins An attempted clearance rebounds off Ziege from 35m out and only just clears the Olympiakos bar.
92 mins Barmby slides the ball square to Smicer and from five yards out the Czech international blasts over with the goal begging.
89 mins Djordjevic lashes a low left-footed drive from outside the box, but despite Westerveld bobbling the ball he has time to recover.
86 mins Ziege and Niniadis scuffle after a challenge and both are booked. Liverpool win the free-kick.
84 mins Luciano wins a corner but it is easily cleared by Babbel.
79 mins Georgatos' cross becomes a shot to have Westerveld desperately back-pedalling to tip the ball over the bar.
76 mins Murphy leaves the field clutching his throat after being caught high in a challenge and is replaced by Ziege.
74 mins Georgatos' brilliant ball is reached by Djordjevic who nudges it past it Westerveld. The Liverpool goalkeeper appears to bring down the midfielder, but despite the protestations from Olympiakos players the referee awards a goal-kick.
72 mins Tricky footwork by Djordjevic gets him into the box but Henchoz makes a telling tackle to stop him in his tracks.
70 mins Heskey muscles his way into the box but under pressure his right-footed shot slices wide.
67 mins Gerrard surges through from the midfield after winning the ball, but is forced wide and the move breaks down.
66 mins Hamann's low drive is comfortably dealt with by Eleftheropoulos.
63 mins Olympiakos make two substitutions, bringing on Niniadis and Ofori Quaye.
59 mins Liverpool's counter-attack catches Olympiakos and Barmby is on the end of Murphy's well-weighted ball. The England international rounds the goalkeeper and his left-foot shot from an acute angle cannons in off the left-hand post. Liverpool 2-0 Olympiakos
54 mins Hyypia has free header at the far post from Barmby's corner but his goal-bound effort is cleared off the line by Georgatos.
53 mins Mavrogenidis is replaced by De Souza.
51 mins Smicer battles well down the left and makes progress into the box to force a corner. Gerrard's shot blazes well over the bar.
46 mins Heksey stays down after a challenge from Poursaitidis, but returns after treatment.
Half-time: Liverpool 1-0 Olympiakos
45 mins Henchoz makes a necessary challenge as Georgatos surges into the box.
43 mins Gerrard brings down Poursaitidis and the free-kick from 30m out comes off Murphy for a corner. Anatolakis rises well but heads wide at the far post
41 mins Carragher concedes a corner but Giovanni fails make the most of the ball in the box.
40 mins Barmby goes down in the box after pushing the ball past two defenders, but no penalty is awarded.
38 mins Liverpool struggle to clear a free-kick from Georgatos and the ball bounces in the box before being hacked upfield.
36 mins Heskey beats the offside trap to beat Eleftheropoulos to the ball but the goalkeeper somehow managed to clear. Murphy gets a head to Barmby's cross but it is deflected wide for a corner.
32 mins Hamann's free-kick from the right-hand edge of the box rebounds off the wall.
31 mins Eleftheropoulos races out of his box and brings down Barmby with his feet and is shown the yellow card.
28 mins Heskey latches onto Barmby's dink forward to blast the ball under the advancing Eleftheropoulos despite claims for offside. Liverpool 1-0 Olympiakos
26 mins Heskey wins a free-kick, but Murphy's cross from 35m out skids off the surface wide of the far post.
23 mins Smicer is well wide of the mark from the left hand corner of the box.
22 mins Hamann shoots wide from the edge of the box.
20 mins Alexandris almost gets on the end of a through ball from as Hyypia and Westerveld hesitate before the Finnish defender clears.
17 mins Liverpool players exchange passes on the edge of the box before Heskey's weak effort is easily dealt with.
15 mins Barmby forces another corner, but Eleftheropoulos punches clear.
13 mins Murphy attempts a shot from long range but Eleftheropoulos safely gathers the low shot.
10 mins A Murphy cross is headed behind for a corner.
8 mins Carragher is penalised for hand ball, but escapes a booking. The same player then makes an unconvincing clearance from a through ball to concede a corner.
6 mins Heskey shoots over the bar from inside the box after good work by Barmby and Smicer.
4 mins Gerrard brings the ball down on his chest and volleys from 35m out but the Olympiakos goalkeeper Eleftheropoulos makes a fingertip save to tip the ball over the bar. The visitors clear the resulting corner.
2 mins Hyypia pulls down Alexandris on the edge of the box. Zetterberg's free-kick from 25m out comes off the wall for a corner.
Kick-off 2005 (GMT) Liverpool kick-off attacking the Kop end with a greasy surface underfoot and steady rain.
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