Liverpool ups chances of showdown with M United

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Manchester United are locked in a battle with Liverpool for the English Premier League title.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Manchester United are locked in a battle with Liverpool for the English Premier League title and they could be having another showdown in the Champions League. The two teams could meet in the semi-finals, with Manchester United half way there, after winning their first leg quarter-final against Deportivo. Liverpool meanwhile had to try and make their case against Bayer Leverkusen in their first leg of the quarter-final. There was a minute's silence before kick off between Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen at Anfield in memory of the Queen Mother, who passed away recently. Nine minutes into the game, Emile Hesky had a half chance, but his shot went wide. Liverpool had to wait till the 41st minute to have another chance, but Vladimir Smicer's header was wide. That chance even got Gerard Houllier out of his seat. Three minutes later Liverpool were in the lead, Michael Owen with a low cross to Sami Hyypia who had the easy tap in. Ten minutes into the second half, John Arne Riise tried an acrobatic bicycle kick, but the Leverkusen keeper pulled off a good save. Riise had another chance four minutes later, but this time again the keeper was upto it. Leverkusen had no real chances. Michael Ballack made a long-range effort but it didn't even bother Jerzy Dudek. Leverkusen's best chance of the game came in the 67th minute, but Ballack sent his shot wide. Houllier got frustrated with his defenders as Leverkusen started dominating play, looking for the equaliser. And he wasn't the only one. Even the fans looked nervous as the German side started pushing ahead. Liverpool had one last chance to seal the game two minutes from time, but Hesky failed to make it count. Liverpool hung in there to win 1-0. They travel to the Bay Arena in Germany for the second leg next week, knowing a draw would be enough to see them through to the semi- finals.

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