Liverpool beat Debrecen 1–0 in Hungary on Tuesday night but will not take part in the Champions League knockout stages after Fiorentina defeated Lyon. The Reds really needed a Fiorentina loss.
Liverpool held very slim hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League after being stung by late goals in two games against Lyon. As a result, the Reds dropped four points and left their qualification in serious doubt.
David Ngog got Liverpool on the board very early as he deflected a ball in the six-yard box with the outside of his foot past Debrecen goalkeeper Poleksic.
But in Italy, Juan Vargas scored from a penalty kick and the Viola hung on to the slender lead and achieved knockout stage qualification.
Fiorentina top Group E with 12 points from five games. Lyon, who had already qualified, are second with 10 points followed by Liverpool with seven. Debrecen has lost all five matches by an average score of 3–1.
Arsenal sealed their spot in the knockout stages with a comfortable 2–0 win at home against Standard Liege. The Gunners got goals from Samir Nasri and Denilson while Manuel Almunia got a rare shutout.
Denilson scored with a long swerving blast at the end of the first half to make life easier for the home side.
“We felt more comfortable [up 2–0],” said Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas. “We just tried to be professional.”
Arsenal is the class of Group H with 13 points while Olympiakos from Greece are second with seven points. Standard Liege is third with four points and still has a shot at the knockout stages.
Barca Downs Inter
Barcelona comprehensively beat Inter Milan 2–0 at the Nou Camp without the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi. Thierry Henry started for Barcelona.
Barcelona scored early and Inter put forth a lackluster response. Defender Gerard Pique volleyed in the first goal off a scramble in the Inter six-yard box and Pedro Rodriguez found the back of the net 15 minutes later.
Samuel Eto’o made his return to the Nou Camp and waived to the Barca fans as he left the field emotionally.
As the group now stands, Barcelona leads with eight points, Inter and Rubin Kazan have six, and Kiev has five points. Inter hosts Rubin Kazan in the final group stage match on Dec. 9, while Barcelona travels to Kyiv.
Anything can happen on Dec. 9 as no team has qualified yet for the knockout stages. Barcelona needs at least a draw to guarantee qualification while Inter must win to qualify.