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Unirea Urziceni 1-3 Liverpool - Match Report

Liverpool supporters may have something of a love affair with Bucharest after recording their third win in the Romanian capital with a comfortable victory over Unirea Urziceni in their Europa League tie.
Bruno Fernandes' 19th-minute goal put the home side on level terms after the Brazilian had been allowed a free header on Pepe Reina's goal whilst the European minnows continued to make the Reds look second-best in the first half.
A response came 10 minutes later courtesy of Javier Mascherano who scored from outside the penalty area to give his side an aggregate lead. The Argentina midfielder had braved questions from an agenda-driven Romanian media a day previous and was completely fearless in the face of the Unirea back line.
The lead was taken four minutes before the break after the hosts had failed to deal with a Steven Gerrard cross which Ryan Babel was able to nudge down and fire home at the far post.
Earlier this week the 23-year-old had vowed to do everything to make the grade at Anfield and his performance may have handed him a brief reprieve from the Kop after an inconsistent three-year spell on Merseyside.
Unirea started the second half strongly and should have evened the tie when Iulian Apostol found himself inside the six-yard box but wasted the opportunity by blazing his shot wide of goal, but it was Gerrard who struck a decisive blow with a well-struck effort into the bottom left-hand corner of Arlauskis' net 10 minutes after the interval.
The Kop skipper had predicted after last week's tense first leg that Rafael Benitez's side would find their opposite number an easier prospect away from home and he made sure his prophecy came to fruition to record his 33rd European goal, a British record, and gift-wrap the tie.
As the Reds eased through the game on Steaua Stadium's scrappy surface Benitez introduced Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Martin Kelly, who made his first senior appearance since limping out of October's Champions League defeat to Lyon.
Five minutes from time Emiliano Insua ensured the score remained unchanged with a decisive clearance after Reina had fumbled an effort from Marius Bilasco. The winger was denied a consolation at the death whilst Gerrard and Lucas Leiva were both thwarted at the other end.
UNIREA URZICENI: Arlauskis, Galamaz, Bruno Fernandes, Bordeanu, Maftei, Paraschiv (Vilana 55), Paduretu, Frunza, Apostol, Bilasco, Onofras (Semedo 61). Subs (not used): Tudor, Mehmedovic, Nicu, Marinescu, Rusescu.
Goal: Bruno Fernandes (18)
LIVERPOOL: Reina, Agger, Insua, Carragher (Kelly 60), Skrtel (Kyrgiakos 65), Gerrard, Benayoun (Aurelio 77), Mascherano, Lucas, Babel, Ngog. Subs (not used): Cavalieri, Aquilani, Torres, Kuyt.
Goals: Mascherano (29), Babel (40) & Gerrard (57)