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Liverpool off to Europa league after Champions League exit


Liverpool off to Europa league after Champions League exit


Liverpool’s first run in the Champions League after a four-year absence ended at the group stage.

The Reds drew 1-1 with Basel in their final Group B game leaving them in third place and the Europa league.

Steven Gerrard struck on 81 minutes to cancel out Fabian Frei’s 25th minute opener but Brendan Rodgers’ men could not add to the scoreboard in an thrilling final few minutes.

Liverpool played the final half an hour with 10 men after substitute Lazar Markovic was controversially sent off brushing Behrang Safari with a flailing hand.

Swiss champions Basel meanwhile progressed to the last 16 along with group winners Real Madrid who thrashed Ludogorets 4-0.

Alvaro Arbeloa added a second half brace to first half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to seal the deal for the defending champions.

Juventus squeezed through to the knockout stages courtesy of a drab goalless stalemate with group winners Atletico Madrid.

Direct group rivals Olympiakos kept the pressure on the Italians with a thrilling 4-2 win over the Swedes of Malmo but Juventus’ draw proved enough to pip the Greeks to the runners up spot.

Monaco are through to the last 16 and as Group C winners.

Aymen Abdennour and Fabinho both scored to hand the principality club a 2-0 win over Europa league-bound Zenit St Petersburg.

Monaco finish top of the group after Bayer Leverkusen – who were already through ahead of their final fixture – drew 0-0 at Benfica.

Borussia Dortmund sealed top spot in Group D when they secured the point they needed with a 1-1 draw with Anderlecht.

Arsenal, who were also guaranteed a place in the knockout stages, go through as runners up but responded perfectly to recent criticism with a 4-1 away win at Galatasaray.

Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey each scored twice for Arsene Wenger’s side.

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