- Europa League qualifying
Borini nets Anfield goal in easy Liverpool win
Fabio Borini opened his Liverpool account as the Reds eased through the third round of Europa League qualifying with a 3-0 victory over Gomel at Anfield on Thursday.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Liverpool completed a 4-0 aggregate triumph, thanks to goals from Borini, Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson. Borini showed fine technique to volley home in the first half before Luis Suarez set up Gerrard for the second, but the goal of the game saw Johnson lash home a 20-yard volley.
Suarez was the inspiration as Liverpool cruised into the final qualifying round, and it seems Joe Allen is about to provide further cheer for the Anfield faithful. After telling Swansea he wants to move north, Allen was present to watch Suarez and co wreak havoc.
It was a positive way for Brendan Rodgers to mark his first home game in charge, particularly with his first signing Borini capping a useful performance by grabbing a precious goal on his home debut, thrashing home a first-time shot from 10 yards.
There are some who wonder whether Rodgers would be happy to pocket the cash for Daniel Agger - linked to a big money move away from Anfield - to fund a squad strengthening exercise but the Liverpool manager was fulsome in his praise on Wednesday and was prepared to put Jamie Carragher on the bench to accommodate the Dane.
Suarez was the most telling presence though. Eight days after his Olympic campaign with Uruguay came to a sorry end in Cardiff and with a lucrative contract signed earlier this week, he approached the tie with a sense of purpose. Suarez raced onto an early return pass from Gerrard before flashing a shot inches over, then could not profit from more impudence as Vladimir Bushma got down to save his angled drive.
Gomel were finding it impossible to subdue Suarez and when he outsmarted them again with a run to the byline, it led directly to Liverpool's opener. Kashevsky stuck out a leg to turn the low cross out of the six-yard area but in doing so sent it straight to Borini, who promptly smashed a first-time shot under Bushma's body.
It was a fine way for Borini to mark his home debut and the former Chelsea man thought he was going to get another shortly afterwards, only for Sergey Matsveychyk to turn away a Suarez cross that was about to leave the Italian with an empty net.
Instead, Gerrard got one four minutes from half-time. Once again Suarez did the spadework, driving into the heart of Gomel's defence and drawing Bushma, leaving the Reds skipper with the simplest of tasks.
With a place in Friday's draw secure, Liverpool went in search of more goals after the break. Gerrard thudded a shot against the base of a post before Suarez went on another mazy run through the Gomel defence. His shot would have squeezed in at the far corner had Bushma not managed to touch it behind with an excellent low save.
Liverpool's third eventually arrived from an unlikely source 19 minutes from time as Johnson charged onto a loose ball, controlled on his chest, then belted home a left-footed shot from the edge of the area.
Suarez's hopes of a goal were dashed when he was denied a clear run by a debatable offside flag and Allen was still in his seat when his prospective new team-mate curled a shot straight at Bushma in the final minute.
Dundee United were dumped out by Dinamo Moscow after a first-half nightmare that saw them lose 5-0 at the Arena Khimki in Russia. The Taysiders, who had it all to do following their 2-2 draw at Tannadice in the first leg last week, failed to recover from a disastrous start when they went behind in the second minute to an Igor Semshov drive from the edge of the box.
Alexsandr Kokorin headed in the second after 22 minutes before midfielder Artur Yusupov ended any hopes the Scottish club had when he raced clear of the visiting defence to slip the ball past United's Polish keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak. The second-half was more even in terms of possession but two late goals by substitute Aleksandr Sapeta made it 7-2 on aggregate for the Russians to complete a miserable night for the Scots.
St Patrick's crashed out after defeat in Hannover. The Dubliners entered the contest at the Hannover Arena already 3-0 down from the first leg at Richmond Park and goals in either half, from defender Karim Haggui and then midfielder Mario Eggimann, finished the tie.