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Liverpool 2 Young Boys 2: Joe Cole strikes – match report

Liverpool 2 Young Boys 2: Joy for Joe but Reds need Italian job to avoid elimination

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UPDATED:

00:54 GMT, 23 November 2012

They can’t do it any other way. Liverpool’s European history is littered with dramatic last gasp wins and, after a haphazard night at Anfield, another is required.

For much of an entertaining contest with BSC Young Boys, it appeared that Brendan Rodgers’ side would secure the victory to guarantee their progress to the round of 32 with a game to spare but, once again, profligacy and carelessness proved to their undoing.

Hammer blow: Young Boys' Elsad Zverotic takes off his shirt in celebration of his late wonder strike

Hammer blow: Young Boys' Elsad Zverotic takes off his shirt in celebration of his late wonder strike

Back in business: Joe Cole struck Liverpool's second and set up the opener

Back in business: Joe Cole struck Liverpool's second and set up the opener

Match facts

Liverpool: Reina, Wisdom (Gerrard 31), Skrtel, Carragher, Downing, Suso (Suarez 60), Sahin, Henderson, Cole (Sterling 76), Shelvey, Assaidi.

Subs not used: Jones, Jose Enrique, Coates, Allen.

Goal: Shelvey 33, Cole 72.

Young Boys: Wolfli, Sutter, Nef, Veskovac (Ojala 23), Lecjaks, Zverotic, Farnerud, Zarate, Schneuwly, Nuzzolo, Bobadilla.

Subs not used: Mvogo, Gonzalez, Vitkieviez, Costanzo, Frey, Doubai.

Booked: Zverotic.

Goal: Bobadilla 52, Zverotic 88.

Att: 37,810

Ref: Alon Yefet (Israel)

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As a result, Liverpool will head to Udine
on December 6 knowing that a win is required to guarantee progress to
the knockout stages. Liverpool have never fallen at the Europa League
group stages before and if that fate befalls them now, they will only
have themselves to blame.

Cruising after goals from Jonjo
Shelvey and Joe Cole either side of half-time, lapses in concentration
enabled Raul Bobadilla and Elsad Zverotic to profit spectacularly and
left Rodgers lamenting the naivety of Liverpool’s play.

‘We led twice in the game and missed a
hatful of chances,’ grumbled Rodgers. ‘To concede goals like we did was
very disappointing. The players gave everything against a very good
side. But when you get 2-1 up with two minutes to go, you have to show
better game management.

‘Now it is simple enough. We have got to get a good result (against Udine). We wanted to qualify here but it wasn’t to be.’

Any sense that this would be a
procession for Liverpool was quickly expunged.

Open sesame: Jonjo Shelvey broke the deadlock with this header

Open sesame: Jonjo Shelvey broke the deadlock with this header

Take that: Raul Bobadilla blasted in a superb strike to level the scores at 1-1

Take that: Raul Bobadilla blasted in a superb strike to level the scores at 1-1

Surprise: Bobadilla's celebrates the strike which upset Liverpool's apple cart (and below)

Surprise: Bobadilla's celebrates the strike which upset Liverpool's apple cart (and below)

Delight: Young Boys celebrate

Three times in the first
five minutes the visitors threatened Pepe Reina’s goal; Gonzalo Zarate
went close with an overhead kick, while Raul Bobadilla and Raphael
Nuzzolo both made Reina work.

Liverpool’s response was impressive. A
neat back flick from Shelvey sent Cole scampering through but he
scuffed his shot wide. Jordan Henderson shot straight at Marco Wolfli
after another good move. The passing and movement was, at times,
excellent.

Central to it all was Cole. It is no
secret he faces a mammoth task to salvage his Liverpool but his attitude
and application here could not be faulted. Always buzzing around the
box, demanding the ball and trying to make Liverpool play, he was
constantly involved and, fittingly, created the opener.

After exchanging passes with Suso on
33 minutes, the former England man darted into the area and his deft
clip into the centre, over goalkeeper Marco Wolfli, was met by Shelvey,
who had the simple task of nodding in from four yards.

This was as good as Cole has played
for Liverpool and he almost created a second on the stroke of half-time
for Suso but came good himself in the 72nd minute when finishing a move
that had involved substitutes Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez. It was his
first in Liverpool Red since April 2011.

‘Joe gave everything,’ Rodgers
acknowledged. ‘He is still not 100 per cent (fit) but he was much better
in offensive part of the game. He was bright and clever.’

If only the same could have been said
of Liverpool’s defending.

Group A

While there was no disputing the quality of
the strikes from Bobadilla and Zverotic in the 52nd and 89th minute
respectively, the way they came about left Rodgers aghast.

The second
equaliser, especially, was greatly lamented.

‘We get the chance to shoot at one end
of the field but then you see us walking back,’ said Rodgers. ‘They
(Young Boys) work their way through unchallenged and score with a shot
from the centre of the goal. It is disappointing. We did not need to
commit at that stage.’

But they will have to commit in Italy. It is, after all, the only way they can be sure to progress.

Driven home: Cole fires in Liverpool's second goal... but it did not earn them a win

Driven home: Cole fires in Liverpool's second goal… but it did not earn them a win

Early swap: Steven Gerrard came on

Brendan Rodgers

Early substitution: Brendan Rodgers (right) sent Steven Gerrard on after half-an-hour to replace the injured Andre Wisdom

Scrap: Juhani Ojala tries to tackle Cole, who played well

Scrap: Juhani Ojala tries to tackle Cole, who played well

Frustration: Jordan Henderson yells after he sees a chance wasted

Frustration: Jordan Henderson yells after he sees a chance wasted

Tribute: Young Boys fans hold up a banner respecting the Hillsborough victims

Tribute: Young Boys fans hold up a banner respecting the Hillsborough victims