Liverpool 1-0 Besiktas
Europa League, Last 32, First Leg
Anfield, Thursday, 19th February, 2015
Goal: Balotelli 85
After a slow start to the game, the end of the first half saw a flurry of chances; Demba Ba was denied by Simon Mignolet when through on goal, while Liverpool went close through a Daniel Sturridge free-kick.
Jordon Ibe was often the Reds’ most attacking threat and started the second half in lively fashion, attacking the visitor’s full-back.
It was Henderson who fashioned the best chance of the game on 49 minutes, his run and cross down the right caused confusion between Besiktas keeper and centre-back but Adam Lallana couldn’t get the shot on target on the rebound. It was a poor miss.
Emre Can twice played a blind backpass which almost let in Ba, but he got it away with it on both occasions.
The changes though failed to kick Liverpool into life and it was a mostly flat second half.
That was until Ibe won the penalty with seven minutes remaining, he was brought down inside the box after another mazy run. Balotelli duly dispatched the spot kick to palpable relief around Anfield.
It proved to be the only game of the game and Balotelli had scored the winning goal as a substitute for the second week in a row at Anfield.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Ibe, Henderson, Allen (Lovren, 63), Moreno, Coutinho (Balotelli, 63), Lallana (Sterling, 77), Sturridge.
Subs not used: Ward, Lambert, Manquillo, Borini.
Besiktas: Cenk, Serdar, Ersan, Franco, Motta, Sahan (Koyunlu, 71), Kavlak, Hutchinson, Gökhan Töre, Jose Sosa (Ozyakup, 60), Demba Ba.