Liverpool face a sweat on the final day of Europa League group matches after failing to seal their progress to the last 32 with a 2-2 home draw against Young Boys at Anfield.
Liverpool twice led against the Swiss side courtesy of goals from Jonjo Shelvey (33) and Joe Cole (72) but were pegged back by a couple of cracking goals from the visitors with Raul Bobadilla (52) and Elsad Zverotic (88) on target to deny Brendan Rodgers's side the three points that would have carried them through to the knock-out stage with a game to spare.
The result leaves Liverpool needing a win at Udinese in Italy on December 6 to be certain of qualifying. A draw may be enough if Young Boys fail to beat the already qualified Group A winners Anzhi Makhachkala in Switzerland.
Anzhi have 10 points with Liverpool and Young Boys on six. Udinese are bottom of the section with three, but are not yet dead and buried.
Udinese could yet qualify if they overcome Liverpool and Anzhi down Young Boys. Liverpool will rue letting two points slip from this match having done the hard part, but needlessly squandering possession in the closing moments.
Anzhi sealed their place in the last 32 with a 2-0 win over Udinese in Moscow earlier in the night.
Jonjo Shelvey started after his return from injury, but long-term casualties Martin Kelly, Lucas and Fabio Borini remained out. Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez were brought on from the bench while Stewart Downing filled in at left-back.
Lots of the squad were rotated, with Oussama Assaidi, Joe Cole, Nuri Sahin and Jordan Henderson handed starts, although there was no place for Sebastian Coates, with Martin Skrtel retaining his place at centre-back.
Liverpool moved ahead when Shelvey headed home from close range after Suso had played in Cole to lift the ball over Swiss goalkeeper Marco Wolfli as he raced from his goal.
The visiting side equalised in some style when the dangerous Bobadilla dashed onto a probing Alexander Farnerud ball. The Argentine forward still had plenty to do, but turned superbly before sending a rasping volley beyond the helpless Jose Reina.
Liverpool looked to have sealed their passage when Gerrard played in Cole to drill a low shot beyond Wölfli in the visiting goal.
But Young Boys had the final word when substitute Suarez needlessly shed possession enabling Zverotic to scamper up the park. He wasted little time in unleashing a shot from 20 yards that left Reina clasping at fresh air as the ball sailed through his arms.
The visiting fans - who had unfurled a banner which read 'In Memory Of Hillsborough' midway through the first half, drawing an ovation from the Kop - enjoyed the moment as if they had won the Europa League. It keeps their side alive heading into the final round of games.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Joe Cole - Liverpool: Lovely goal and caught the eye with some surges forward. Unfortunate not to be on the winning side.
Liverpool: Reina 6, Wisdom 5, Downing 6, Carragher 6, Skrtel 6, Suso 7, Sahin 6, Henderson 6, Assaidi 6, Cole 7, Shelvey 7; Subs: Gerrard 7 Sterling 7, Suarez 5.
Young Boys: Woelfli 7, Nef 7, Zverotic 7, Veskovac 6, Sutter 6, Lecjaks 6, Farnerud 6, Schnuewly 6, Bobadilla 7, Zarate 7, Nuzzulo 6; Subs: Ojala 6, Frey 6, Vitkieviez 6.
- Sports & Recreation
- Joe Cole
- Jonjo Shelvey