After last weeks 2 day trip through Europe which ended in 1-0 defeat away at Atletico, Liverpool had it all to do in front of a packed Anfield.
The stadium began to rock before kick off as the fans hoped another European final would put a silver lining on the cloud that has been this season. Alas, it wasn’t to be.
With injuries beginning to hamper the reds yet again changes were needed in the line up. Dirk Kuyt was moved up front, Benayon and Babel patrolling the wings – meaning that Johnson moved to left back and Mascherano fulfilled the right back slot.
Aquilani, Lucas and Gerrard controlled the midfield triangle.
The Kop roared the players on to the pitch and the first half was solid from the reds. Kicking towards the Kop Liverpool dominated the opening minutes – it being 5 minutes before Atletico got out of their own half.
The reds in fact could have been 1-0 up within 10 seconds but Benayoun’s shot was saved by the legs of the Madrid keeper.
Daniel Agger put the ball in to Atletico’s net with a header from a free kick – but it was offside.
But as the half time whistle approached the reds got a vital goal to level the tie.
From a Yossi Benayoun cross, Aquilani skilfully turned the shot goalbound – creeping in to the bottom left hand corner.
The second half was disappointing. Atletico were allowed far more control of the ball and the reds looked jaded – as if this was a game too far this season. Atletico called Reina in to action once or twice but the half was relatively sparse on chances.
The full time whistle arrived and the managers began their team-talks for extra time. Liverpool responded first.
When a Liverpool move found Benayoun angled down at goal he volleyed the ball home before celebrating wildly with his manager. But the fans and atmosphere had a sense of foreboding. And they were right to.
Before the extra time break Atletico had scored the ever so crucial away goal and Reyes skipped past Glen Johnson before Forlan scored for the Atleti.
Liverpool miss out on the chance of their third European final in 6 years.
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): J M Reina — J Mascherano (sub: P Degen, 109min), J Carragher, D Agger, G Johnson — Lucas Leiva, S Gerrard — Y Benayoun (sub: D Pacheco, 113), A Aquilani (sub: N El Zhar, 90), R Babel — D Kuyt.
Substitutes not used: D Cavalieri, S Kyrgiakos, D Ayala, D Ngog.
Booked: Aquilani, Gerrard, Carragher.
Atlético Madrid (4-2-3-1): D de Gea — J Valera, Alvaro Domínguez, L Perea, Antonio López — Raul García, Paulo Assunção (sub: Jurado, 98) — J A Reyes, D Forlán (sub: I Camacho, 116), Simão — S Agüero (sub: E Salvio, 119).
Substitutes not used: S Asenjo, Juanito, T Ujfalusi, L Cabrera.
Booked: Paulo Assunção, Valera, Forlán, Alvaro Domínguez.
Referee: T Hauge (Norway).