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No alarms for dominant Liverpool
05 Aug 2010 - 21:37:50
Liverpool won through to Friday's draw for the first round of the Europa League with few alarms after goals by Steven Gerrard and David N'Gog helped them beat Rabotnicki 2-0 at Anfield to complete a 4-0 aggregare victory.
The Macedonian side appeared to set themselves up for a damage-limitation exerceise as Reds boss Roy Hodgson fielded a strong starting line-up that included the likes of Gerrard and Joe Cole.
N'Gog, who scored both goals in last week's first-leg win, had an effort disallowed for offside in the opening minutes.
The Frenchman then allowed Rabotnicki goalkeeper Martin Bogatinov to deny him after being set up by Cole and Gerrard before the latter's low 25-yard shot was saved.
From the resulting 21st-minute corner, Liverpool took the lead when Cole curled a cross towards the penalty spot where N'Gog headed home off the underside of the crossbar.
Former West Ham United and Chelsea star Cole then dragged a right-foot shot wide before Liverppol doubled their advantage on the night five minutes before the interval.
Fernando Lopes clearly fouled N'Gog and, from the resulting penalty, Gerrard colly sent Bogatinov the wrong way.
Liverpool failed to add to their goal tally after the break although it was not for the want of trying.
Cole's back-post cross came back off the bar before Milan Jovanovic's left-footed effort forced Bogatinov to make a scrambling save.
Cole then made the Rabotnicki keeper make another smart stop before the quietly impressive Martin Kelly dragged a right-footed effort wide.
In the closing stages Cole and N'Gog almost scored but Hodgson will be pleased that his side advanced to the next stage with ease and with no injury concerns.