Liverpool rallies for a 2-1 win at Barcelona

Liverpool beat FC Barcelona 2-1 on Wednesday in the first leg of the second round of the Champions League.

updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Craig Bellamy scored one goal and set up another for John Arne Riise to help Liverpool beat FC Barcelona 2-1 on Wednesday in the first leg of the second round of the Champions League. Bellamy equalised in the 43rd minute with a header off a cross from Steve Finnan, and Riise put the 2005 champions in front in the 74th. Deco had given defending champion Barcelona the lead in the 14th with a header, but Liverpool's two goals kept the visitors undefeated at the Nou Camp in four games. Bellamy celebrated his goal with an imaginary golf swing. "I haven't seen the celebration," Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said. "I thought it was an excellent goal but I was more worried about coming out for the second half. To win here, I am very happy and pleased with (Bellamy) and the team." The Wales international has reportedly been fined about 80,000 pounds for allegedly attacking Riise with a golf club during a drunken night out in Portugal last week. Liverpool had been at a training camp in the Algarve region to prepare for Wednesday's game, and British newspapers reported that Bellamy was angry that Riise would not take part in a karaoke competition. "The training camp was really helpful to us because we were training really well and the commitment of the players was the same before and after the problems," Benitez said. "The atmosphere was always really good." Winning goal Liverpool got the winning goal when Bellamy collected a rebound and passed to Riise, who slotted the ball into the net. Bellamy, whose future at Liverpool is in jeopardy after the incident in Portugal, scored the equaliser just before halftime with a header that slipped through Victor Valdes' hands. "I take the rough with the smooth. I know what my career's about," Bellamy said. "Because it's me it's an even bigger deal. If there was a big problem I wouldn't be playing here, don't worry about that. "You can't make it up, it's impossible. This can only happen to me." Barcelona took the lead in the 14th minute, moments after Ronaldinho appealed for a penalty after being brought down inside the area. The Brazilian playmaker then set up the goal - Barcelona's first-ever goal against Liverpool at the Nou Camp - with a deft back-chip to a streaking Gianluca Zambrotta. The Italy defender then sent a cross to the far post that was headed in by an unmarked Deco. "It's clear we have a good chance now (of advancing), but as I said before we have to be careful because Barcelona is very good at playing at counterattack and have very dangerous players," Benitez said. Bellamy nearly drew Liverpool level in the 38th but he headed Steven Gerrard's free kick into the net. "It wasn't our night," Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard said. "The rhythm of the game slowed down after we conceded the goal. After that moment, Liverpool had more strength and we couldn't find a way to change this." Missed chances In the second half, Liverpool missed two chances in the 67th after an error by Valdes. The Barcelona goalkeeper picked up a backpass from substitute Ludovic Giuly that gave Liverpool a free kick three meters inside the left side of the area. Valdes saved Gerrard's shot then watched as Dirk Kuyt's header off Xabi Alonso's cross traveled over the bar. In the 72nd, Barcelona striker Javier Saviola dribbled through the area but saw goalkeeper Pepe Reina save his shoulder-level shot before Lionel Messi's chance was tipped over the bar. Deco hit the far post from a free kick in the 86th as Barcelona pushed for an equaliser. Rijkaard said his slumping team, which lost to Valencia on Sunday, will need to forget the recent results. "It's a complicated situation and it will be difficult to make the comeback but that's what (the situation) is," Rijkaard said. "We'll just get ready for the game and be confident and have trust in ourselves as well. We have to get through this suffering together and look forward." Rijkaard hopes striker Samuel Eto'o, who sat out the match while recovering from a knee injury that has sidelined him out since September, will be back in the squad in time for the return leg on March 6.