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Football: United through but Pool on brink after loss.

Byline: IAN COYNE

MANCHESTER UNITED wrapped up their place in the last 16 of the Champions League last night, but Liverpool are out to 80-1 for the competition with Hills after crashing to a 1-0 defeat in Monaco.

The firm's price stands in stark contrast to Ladbrokes and Skybet, who go just 33-1 about Rafa Benitez's team.

But the Merseysiders must beat Olympiakos at Anfield on December 8 to have any chance of progressing from the group stage after a disputed Javier Saviola strike earned the 5-4 Monagasques victory at the Stade Louis II.

The former Barcelona striker appeared to use his hand to control the ball before shooting past Chris Kirkland to score the only goal of the game.

But the Reds' protests were in vain, and defeat leaves Liverpool in third place in the section.

Olympiakos beat Deportivo 1-0 in Greece in the other game in the group and need just a point from their final game to go through.

To make matters worse for Liverpool, Spanish forward Luis Garcia had to be stretchered off after just two minutes with a pulled hamstring.

With Djibril Cisse and Milan Baros already out of action Benitez will be desperately hoping that Garcia's injury is not serious, as the Reds could go into the must-win game with none of the best strikers available.

Those who backed United at 4-7 to beat French champions Lyon were left fearing for their investment after Roy Carroll let a long-range Mahamadou Diarra effort slip from his grasp to cancel out Gary Neville's early strike.

However, a second-half Ruud van Nistelrooy header gave the home side victory.

Six of the eight Champions League favourites obliged in last night's matches.

However, anyone who included 4-9 Real Madrid in their multiple was thwarted.

The Bernabeu outfit had a golden opportunity to take three points off Bayer Leverkusen when they were awarded an 81st-minute penalty after a Raul goal had brought them back to parity following Dimitar Berbatov's first-half effort for the Germans.

But Luis Figo saw his spot-kick brilliantly saved by Leverkusen keeper Hans Jorg Butt.

Sparta Prague, as low as 10-11 to beat Turkish outfit Fenerbahce, were the other favourites who flopped.

Fenerbahche earned a 1-0 win in Prague, courtesy of an own-goal by Radoslav Kovac.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 24, 2004
Words:379
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