Full-time - 90'
2 - 0
UEFA Champions League
19:45 +00:00, February 19, 2008
Well, what a breathless finale! The game finishes and Liverpool have their 100th European victory at Anfield. they were well worth it too, but they owed much to the early sending off of Marco Materazzi. Liverpool go to Milan in three weeks knowing if they only concede one goal thay are through. Astonishing! Thanks for your company. until next time.
Benitez can feel satisfied with his work tonight too - good changes (Crouch and Pennant) at the right times, and not afraid to push his full backs well forward. He has earnt his reprieve.
Just one minute remaining.
It never looked like it was coming but Liverpool hung in there and now must go down as favourites. If it stays 2-0 of course.
Wow! Gerrard's 50th goal at Anfield has turned this tie on its head. If this ends 2-0 Liverpool will fancy their chances in Milan. He's done it - YET AGAIN. What a player.
GOAL! Captain Gerrard has fired an angled drive from 25 yards and Liverpool are in dreamland! Liverpool 2-0 Internazionale.
Now Maicon is down clutching his leg. Inter are wasting as much time as possible now. They are petrified of conceding another.
Crouch has made a big difference since he came on. There he chests down and tries to volley on the turn but can't get enough power behind it. All hail the beanpole!
Well, what drama! Liverpool have been knocking on the door and of all people, Dirk Kuyt is the one who picks the lock. Quite franklly, I think he is rubbish but he struck that one superbly well.
GOAL! Its Dirk Kuyt! Pennant's cross eluded everyone and the Dutchman's shot is deflected and Liverpool have a vital goal!
This time Torres and Crouch go for the same ball, and shock horror, Torres wins it!
Corner for Liverpool after more work in the box from Torres, but Inter clear and break before Mascherano robs Vieira of the ball.
Crouch flicks on to Torres again but he had his back to goal and no runners to find. Come on Liverpool - get numbers in the box!
Crouch wins another header but Torres is isolated as he tries to win the flick on. Liverpool need more numbers in and around Crouch, who is winning his fair share.
Ooh, Crouch does well to bring down a dropping ball in the area but Chivu blocked his shot, then Finnan's follow-up effort was pitiful.
Inter clear the corner then Cesar claims another cross well. Time running out for Liverpool, but it only takes a second to score a goal eh?
Another shooting opportunity for Gerrard but a deflection sends it behind for a corner.
Cordoba twisted his knee during that last piece of action and he is currently being ferried off on a stretcher. Nicolas Burdisso replaces him.
And it nearly worked there! He won a header, Cordoba's clearance fell to him again and he volleyed an effort just wide. Good effort.
This last quarter of an hour is going to be all about fashioning decent crossing opportunities that Crouch can profit from.
Patrick Vieira accepts the invitation to shoot on goal as Carragher backed off but his effort is wide.
Babel makes way for the winger.
Jermaine Pennant is about to come on.
Yet again, a European ref is baffled by Crouch's size and awards a very soft free kick against the beanpole striker.
Wow. Not only have inter made it out of their half, they have won a corner! Liverpool clear well as Vieira looks to pounce then an offside flag denies Cambiasso.
Crouch wins the first long ball aimed at him but no-one can profit from his knock down. I think that theme is going to be explored over and over in the remaining 22 minutes.
Vieira has looked lost in the pace of this game so far. Miles from the assured Aresnal skipper we used to know and hate.
Poor football from Liverpool there as Finnan's cross is way too short, then Mascherano shanks a volley as he tries to help the ball back into the box.
Crouch is on for Lucas, seconds after a snapshot from Torres just crept wide.
Liverpool have taken my advice (text me at your leisure Rafa) and are stretching Inter with their width now. That is certainly helping their cause.
Good spell of pressure this from Liverpool, as Crouch prepares to come on, but they need a goal to show for it.
Gerrard was claiming that straight away, and he was right. Vieira's hand was up and it denied Gerrard the ball.
Another huge handball shout as Gerrard tries to loop the ball over Vieira in the box. That should have been a penalty, replays show.
Now Hyppia has a great chance! Finnan slips in Kuyt in the area, he stands the ball up for Hyppia who heads wide! Two great chances in less than a minute!
Great save from Cesar! Vieira was caught in possession and the ball broke clear for Torres who was one on one with the keeper and forced him into a fine save. what a chance!
Aurelio's free kick is too deep and poses no problems for the Italians. Liverpool are going to need far better delivery than that if they are to prevail.
Another super break from Finnan who tricked Stankovic with a lovely flick. Free kick near the corner flag for the Reds.
Now, here is a familiar face - Patrick Vieira is coming on for Julio Cruz. A defensive midfielder for a striker. The die is cast.
Decent flick to safety from Maicon again, and then Mascherano's dink it overhit and it runs behind.
Great pressing from Torres forces a slip from Maicon and Aurelio wins a corner.
Oh dear. The occasion got to Sami Hyppia's head there as he tries a 40 yard piledriver. And it went horribly wide.
Gerrard is pushing right on in this half, charging forward with the protection of Lucas and Mascherano behind him.
Internazionale have steeled themselves for a full 45 minutes of defending it looks like. Can they last out?
Decent moves from Finnan down the right and Chivu does well to clear his cross. Better from Liverpool.
The referee has started this half by giving everything to the visitors, in a stark contrast to the opening period, where he was a complete homer.
First opening for Inter and Hyppia's nervy clearance caused it, after a spot of ping pong Cambiasso tries a drive that flashes a few yards wide.
Liverpool will go hard again for the first ten but Inter may not be as easily ruffled as they were at kick off.
Can Liverpool find the precious goal they need? Rafa certainly hopes so.
We are off again...
There we are - half time is up and we still await the first goal. Decent half for the home side though, who will look to press home their man advantage in the second half. Stay tuned.
Now Kuyt tries a volley - which he shins - and Cesar catches comfortably.
Gerrard times his run superbly and hits the byline before pulling the ball right across goal but Torres is a yard off the pace and Inter clear.
Now it is Liverpool's turn to sit deep and soak up pressure as Inter enjoy a breif spell of possession. It ends when Ibrahimovic fouls Hyppia.
Liverpool need to get the ball down on the deck. Punting balls up to Torres is not going to work.
Inter's blunt attacking ambitions are underlined by the fact that Jamie Carragher is regularly strolling to 40 yards from goal before being closed down.
The soccernet office screams, 'HIT IT! HIT IT!' as Ryan Babel lurks on the edge of the box, but when he pulls the trigger it is miles wide and kilometres high.
Inter look spent as an attacking force in this half for now, as they try and keep their shape and see things out till half time.
Its all a bit too congested on the edge of Inter's penalty area at present, with none of Liverpool's flicks coming off. They need width, width, width.
There are little gaps opening up here and there for Liverpool now. They will have to exploit the width of this Anfield pitch, which is far from the biggest in the UK.
We had a slight break in proceedings there as the linesman fell over, broke his flag and had to call for a replacement!
No tactical changes to tell you about. Cruz and Ibrahimovic are staying up top while Liverpool are sticking with just Torres up top. That may change soon I reckon.
The alamo has begun! Liverpool are camped in Inter's half!
Ultimately, the referee had given himself no choice after awarding Materazzi an early booking for an innocuous challenge, but he is currently giving everything Liverpool's way.
Anfield has been roused by that somewhat dodgy decision and now they have an hour at ten men. Ideal scenario for them.
Materazzi is off! He tugged at Torres' shirt after the Spaniard got in front of him, and Inter will play an hour with ten men!
Things are becoming a bit more ragged now with the game shifting into a predictable pattern; namely Liverpool dominating but not creating, Inter soaking up pressure and looking dangerous on the break.
Torres wins another free kick, this time off Cordoba, and Gerard can deliver a decent cross again .... but Cambiasso clears well.
The first fluent Inter move is broken up well by Mascherano - he could be vital this evening.
First debnt opening for Gerrard to strike one, but the skipper was off balance slightly and he doesn't connect cleanly.
Kuyt gives the ball away again unneccessarily (3).
Nice little dribble from Mascherano who spoils it by trying to wrestle Zanetti to the floor after the Inter man had robbed him of possession.
Inter win a free kick on Liverpool's left but Zanetti's ball is poor.
Mascherano does well to rob Ibrahimovic of the ball as he looked to release Maxwell. Important intervention.
Inter have weathered the early Liverpool storm it seems and the game is settling down.
Here comes the first lusty chant of, 'Rafa-Rafael, Rafael Benitez'.
First hint of a threat from Inter as Ibrahimovic flicks on for Cruz who jostles with Hyppia as the defender tries to shephard the ball back to Reina.
Inter have shown very little so far and Chivu sums up their performance to date with an aimless long ball downfield that runs out for a goal kick.
Torres certainly has Inter worried with his pace but just can't collect a Gerrard pass there as he streaked clear.
Great crossfield ball from Mascherano, but the move breaks down with Kuyt (2).
From the free kick Mascherano tries a punt that is blocked by Cruz and then the Argetine breaks up a threatened Inter counter attack seconds later.
Torres completely outpaces the lumbering Materazzi, who clips the Spaniard after being overtaken and gtets a yellow. That's two already for the visitors.
Inter haven't had a kick so far - apart from that little hack Stankovic committed on Gerrard.
Skipper Gerrard gets a late love tap from Stankovic. A bit naughty that. Free kick on half way.
Ooh! Hyppia meets it and Cesar tips it over, when really, he should have caught it. Another corner.
Torres shows his threat with a pacey burst to beat Materazzi to the ball but Inter clear the cross, then Cordoba clears as Kuty fires in a cross. Corner. Liverpool looking strong so far.
More birght attacking shapes from Liverpool but the move breaks down with Dirk Kuyt. I have a feeling I might be typing that out ad nauseam tonight.
Just to flesh out Inter's unbeaten run, they haven't lost for FIVE months!
Its a poor one from Aurelio, and floats harmlessly over the bar.
More marauding from Stevie G, who is brought down by Christian Chivu who rightly, recieves a yellow card. Free kick in a dangerous spot for the Reds.
The corner falls to an unmarked Jamie Carragher whose volleys hits Cambiasso.
Good, bright start from Liverpool - a sharp Stevie G wins a corner.
Believe it or not, there is only one Italian in Inter's team - the infamous Marco Materazzi.
There is a rip-roaring atmosphere at Anfield, as you'd fully expect.
And we're off...
Here come the teams, to a wall of Anfield noise...
Here are two stats to make Reds fans wince: Inter are 11 points ahead atop Serie A and are unbeaten in 29 games. Oooh, good luck Rafa.
Expect Liverpool to be much improved this evening, and the Kop to be bang up for it. But don't forget, they are playing the Serie A Champions elect, who many regard as the finest team on the continent at the moment.
As for Inter: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Cordoba, Materazzi, Chivu, Zanetti, Stankovic, Cambiasso, Maxwell, Cruz and Ibrahimovic.
As you'd expect, the big guns are back in the form of Gerrard and Torres. Here is the full Liverpool line-up: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Aurelio, Gerrard, Mascherano, Lucas, Babel, Kuyt and Torres.
After Liverpool's humiliating home defeat at the hands of Championship side Barnsley in the FA Cup on Saturday, every man and his dog has been putting the boot into Liverpool and Rafa has been wearing the expression of a man who knows he is on borrowed time. Get beaten again at home, and then dumped out of the only competition they can still win this season by Inter, and many are saying the Yank axe will swing.
Good evening and welcome to a potentially make or break night for Rafa Benitez in the knock out stages of the Champions League. Liverpool v Inter Milan is live, with me Chris Murphy.
John Arne Riise