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Nov 27, 2008

UEFA study reports of missile-throwing at Anfield

UEFA will study reports on the missile-throwing incident involving Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard at Anfield and make a decision on Friday.

Gerrard was hit by missiles thrown from the Marseille fans' section as he waited to take a corner in the first half of Liverpool's 1-0 victory that took them into the last 16 of the Champions League.

UEFA confirmed the incident will be included in Portuguese referee Olegario Benquerenca's report as well as the report from UEFA delegate Svein Johannessen.

''We will have to view the reports of the referee and the UEFA delegate before we can make a decision,'' a spokesman said. ''This will probably be tomorrow morning.''

Gerrard, who scored Liverpool's winner in the 1-0 victory over the French side, looked to have been hit by a small metal object.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez praised Gerrard's restraint in a month that has seen Chelsea's Didier Drogba punished by the FA for throwing a coin back into the crowd when the west Londoners lost in the Carling Cup to Burnley.

A Liverpool spokesman said: ''The UEFA delegate is aware of what happened to Steven and it is now in his hands.''

A spokesman for UEFA at the game said: ''The incident will be included in both the match delegate's report and the referee's report. UEFA are aware of what happened and any further comment will now come from them.''

It is also believed UEFA are aware the missiles came from the Marseille fans' enclosure, and any action will not involve Liverpool.

Benitez said: ''Gerrard was really good in that incident, maybe the UEFA delegate will notice what happened. Steven did well not to react.''

Gerrard scored his 30th European goal, and fifth in this season's competition and Benitez added: ''Gerrard is a very, very good attacking midfielder, a very important player for us and his goal proved this.''

Liverpool did not play well, but are again through to the knockout stages. Benitez said: ''It is really important that we qualified for the next stage; we won and now we can approach the final game in a different way without any pressures.

''It was a strange game, we scored and controlled it, but they attacked and we were left to hit on the counter-attack.

''We could not find the final pass. The game was too open against a team with pace and ability. They came to attack and had three strikers and two more just behind. To contain five players with pace and ability is not easy.

''Our final pass, though, to (Fernando) Torres was too quick. We must work on that but the main thing was to win and to qualify, and we are very pleased.

''We knew they have good players, with pace and ability. They could be very dangerous if we did not control the ball. And that is what happened, they had space to run into and they were always a threat.

''We must improve our possession and to keep the ball and pass it better, we were giving the ball away too easily.''

Marseille boss Erik Gerets was pleased with his side's performance, and said: ''We could have come away with more, we had problems in the first 20 minutes but after that we played a good game and got into it. We had chances, and it was a good fight until the end.

''The Champions League is over now, but the youngsters have learned from this group. We have done well apart from one bad performance against PSV.

''It is still possible to get into the UEFA Cup after PSV's defeat by Atletico Madrid. We still have everything to play for, we will have a fiery encounter against Madrid in our last game in this group.''

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