Liverpool, Arsenal advance

Liverpool, August 28:

Five-time European champions Liverpool struggled to advance past Standard Liege 1-0 here on Wednesday with a goal late into extra time to reach the lucrative Champions League group stage.

Dirk Kuyt scored the only goal of the two legs in the 28th minute of the added time, just two minutes before the game would have headed to penalties.

Meanwhile, Greek champion Olympiakos suffered a shock exit from the third qualifying round, beating Anorthosis Famugusta 1-0 but losing 3-1 on aggregate.

Among the teams also advancing to the group stage were Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Fiorentina and Marseille. Arsenal, already leading 2-0, dispatched FC Twente 4-0, while Marseille beat Brann 2-1 to round off a 3-1 aggregate victory over the Norwegian club. Atletico overcame a 1-0 first-leg deficit to rout Schalke 4-0, and Fiorentina relied on their 2-0 first-leg victory to advance as they were held 0-0 at Slavia Prague.

Arsenal denied former England manager Steve McClaren a successful return to home soil with Dutch side Twente. Samir Nasri put the Gunners ahead in the 27th, while William Gallas, Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner scored in the second half to seal a 6-0 aggregate victory.