Joe Allen on verge of signing as Liverpool cruise through in Europa League
Liverpool 3 FC Gomel 0 (Liverpool win 4-0 on aggregate)
Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager last night revealed he hopes to complete the signing of Swansea midfielder Joe Allen in the next 24 hours.
The 22-year-old was in the directors' box at Anfield to watch the Reds' Europa League defeat of FC Gomel, which wrapped up a comfortable aggregate success.
Rodgers, the former Swansea manager, said after the game: "I hope to conclude the deal in the next 24 hours. It is imminent."
Allen would certainly have been impressed at the way his prospective new team-mates went about their business last night.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Fabio Borini – Rodgers' first signing as Liverpool manager – put the Reds in front with a fierce first-time shot before Steven Gerrard tapped into an empty net.
Luis Suarez set both goals up on his return to club duty. For the first he outsmarted Gomel's cover with a run to the byline, Nikolai Kashevsky stuck out a leg to turn the low cross out of the six-yard area but in doing so sent it straight to Borini, who promptly smashed a first-time shot under goalkeeper Vladimir Bushma's body.
For Gerrard's goal he drove into the heart of Gomel's defence and drew Bushma, leaving the Liverpool captain with the simplest of tasks.
It was easy to see why Rodgers was so delighted the Uruguay forward signed a long-term contract extension earlier this week.
"Luis is an incredible player," the Liverpool manager said. "He has come back to us and looked great in training. He is so creative in the box but he also presses very well when he doesn't have the ball. He is the type of player I love. He is in love with football. He has such passion for the game. His combination work with Steven Gerrard and Fabio Borini was excellent."
Rodgers was also pleased that Borini opened his account on his home debut." Having worked with the striker at Chelsea and Swansea, he had no doubts Borini could add something to his team – hence why he was so keen to lure him back to England from Roma.
"It is important for any striker to score because they are judged on their goals," Rodgers said. "But I brought him here because I know he can score.
"He is only 21 and has a lot of improvement left in him. But with his work-rate and his ability on the ball I think he will fit in very well to our team."
Glen Johnson thundered home a third in the second half to wrap up a comfortable two-legged triumph which ensured Liverpool were able to take their place in today's final qualifying round draw.
Liverpool (4-4-2): Reina; Johnson, Skrtel (Carragher, 76), Agger, Jose Enrique; Gerrard, Lucas (Spearing, 86), Shelvey (Adam, 76), Downing ; Suarez, Borini.
Gomel (5-3-2): Bushma; Matsveychyk, Kuzmenok, Kashevsky, Klimovich (Yevseyenko, 85), Voronkov; Kozeka (Kirilchik, 74), Nowak (Lipatkin, 62), Aleksiyevich; Platonov, Alumona.
Referee: K Hansen (Denmark).
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