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Talk lfc match report

Match Report by Robbie Amins at talklfc

Liverpool must have refused to go a date with Lady Luck because she's deserting us at the moment. The Reds crashed to a 1-0 defeat in France against Monaco with Luis Garcia and Josemi adding their names to the injury list. Already without Baros and Cisse, Liverpool started with 5 men in midfield. Steven Gerrard returned for his first start in months, Igor Biscan getting an opportunity to play and young Neil Mellor was given the task of being the lone striker.

Josemi and Luis Garcia had to be stretchered off with injuries and with Olympiacos beating Deportivo La Coruna in Athens, Liverpool must now beat the Greeks by at least a 1-0 nil win to force their way into the second phase.

As if the side from Merseyside didn't have enough injury problems, after just two minutes Luis Garcia went down clutching the back of his thigh, a clear hamstring injury and he was carried off to be replaced by Josemi.

The Spaniard slotted in at right-back with Steve Finnan moving forward into Garcia's role. The situation has become so extraordinary that even Garcia's replacement had to leave the field on a stretcher with a horrific head wound an hour later.

Djimi Traore and Didi Hamann were both booked near the break, and the German will now miss the final match in the group.

The opening of the second period saw much of the same. Saviola found space on the edge of the box to fire a shot wide with Monaco instantly on the attack. But Liverpool suffered a cruel blow on 56 minutes when Saviola scored after clearly handling the ball. After Shabani Nonda and Saviola had worked the ball into the box, the ball then broke from a Traore tackle and Saviola clearly controlled it with his hand before firing home.

Liverpool's best chance was when Steven Gerrard broke down the right but shot straight at the keeper. It was indeed a difficult chance to take when you consider the angle and the distance. The Reds failed to create any clearcut chances and couldn't score to save their lives. To be fair to Neil Mellor, he tried hard and he didn't have any opportunity to get on the scoresheet.

Liverpool now have to beat Olympiakos at Anfield to stand any chance at all of going through to the next stage of the lucrative Champions League.

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Liverpool's Champions League hopes took turn for the worse inside the Louis II stadium in Monaco on Tuesday night as Rafael Benitez's side were beaten by a solitary second-half goal by Javier Saviola.

by Robbie Amins' for talklfc

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez on the match: "We had prepared to play with one striker and two wingers but in the first minute we lost Luis and that made it difficult for us. We know we didn't play well but we are playing well at home and our aim now is to beat Olympiakos 2-0. It was a bad game and a bad pitch and to lose to a decision like that was very disappointing."

Rafa Benitez on Saviola's 'handball' before the goal: "Everybody around the world could see it was a handball. The linesman could see it, and the referee said to my players that he had seen it - but afterwards he was smiling and I do not know why. What I couldn't understand was why he was smiling at me when he was talking. He said the hand was close to the body but I don't agree. When my staff went to see him afterwards to talk to him he was smiling, I do not understand that."

"When you see a referee in the right place and he still does not give the handball, and the linesman is also in the right spot and it is not given...I don't think we need video evidence but it is important to have a referee with a clear conscience."

'We have four referees now around the pitch, but somebody has to say something.

'When my players tried to talk to him afterwards he was just smiling at them, I just do not understand that.'

Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia on Saviola's 'handball': "I do not know what is happening in football these days. The referee said he saw the handball but did not give the decision. I just do not understand something like that, it is a disgrace.

Monaco manager Didier Deschamps on the match: "This was an important win for us, and it was certainly not easy. Liverpool are a very well disciplined side. But we played well and the victory is very important for us. But we still believe we have to win in Spain in our last match against Deportivo, and that will also not be easy for us. But we are confident we can do it and we have the spirit in our team to achieve our goal. The situation is very complicated now, with three teams still able to qualify. But we must not be frightened of the situation and just go to Spain with the right attitude. But we are more than aware that everything is still possible."

Didier Deschamps on Saviola's 'handball': "I could not see the hand-ball from where I was sitting, but I was very aware that the Liverpool bench were protesting. But the referee did not see it their way which was good fortune for us. I had not seen it on TV beforehand, but now I have seen it, yes it was handball.

Rafa Benitez on Luis Garcia's injury: "We're not having much luck at the moment, are we? We need that to change. Obviously, it's a hamstring injury and he should be out of action for three to four weeks."

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard on the match: "It was a difficult match and we're gutted with the result. I don't think we played well enough."

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