Liverpool advance, Celtic eliminated

London, August 3:

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard scored his seventh goal in Champions League qualifying to help defending champion Liverpool advance to the third round with a 2-0 win over FBK Kaunas and a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Former champion Celtic was eliminated, losing 4-5 on aggregate to Artmedia Bratislava despite a 4-0 win.

Gerrard scored in the 77th minute, two minutes after entering the match. It was his seventh goal in four qualifying matches. Djibril Cisse added Liverpool’s second in the 85th at Anfield. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez rested eight of the starting 11 from last week, when Liverpool beat the Lithuanian team 3-1. Gerrard scored from 25 yards after a corner, and Cisse volleyed home a chip from Luis Garcia.

Liverpool, a five-time European champion, beat AC Milan in the final last season, but needed an special dispensation to participate in this season’s competition. The English club finished in fifth place in the Premier League — one spot below the last Champions League place granted to England.

But after appealing to UEFA, the team was allowed to compete in the first round. Liverpool then beat Total Network Solutions, the Welsh champions, 6-0 on aggregate. The English team will play either KF Tirana of Albania or CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria in the next round.

In Glasgow, Gordon Strachan got his first win as Celtic manager, but it wasn’t enough to reach the third qualifying round. Alan Thompson, John Hartson, Stephen McManus and Craig Beattie all scored the for the 1967 champions at Celtic Park. It still wasn’t enough to overturn a 5-0 loss last week in Slovakia, however.