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Liverpool Euro prospects decline, Milan on track
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Liverpool's Europe dream was handed a heavy blow after a 2-1 defeat at Besiktas while AC Milan were well on course to qualifying for the Champions League last 16 with a convincing 4-1 home victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.

Bobo (3rd L) of Besiktas celebrates his goal against Liverpool with teammates (L-R) Rodrigo Tello, Cisse, Gokhan Zan, Koray Avci and Ibrahim Uzulmez during their Champions League Group A soccer match at Inonu Stadium in Istanbul, Oct. 24, 2007. Besiktas won 2-1.

The loss in Istanbul left the Reds bottom of Group A with a single point from three matches and Marseille remained on top although their 100 percent record came to an end after a 1-1 draw with Porto.

Holders Milan were tied with Shakhtar in six points atop Group D while Benfica beat Celtic 1-0 only to level with the Scottish side in three points.

In Group B, Liverpool's premiership rivals Chelsea upset Shalke04 2-0 to stay three points clear of second-placed Rosenborg, who beat Valencia 2-0.

Robinho's double helped Real Madrid earn a 4-2 fight back against 10-man Olympiakos and take firm control of Group C while Werder Bremen edged past Lazio 2-1 to move into third place.

Real Madrid's Robinho (R) celebrates his second goal against Olympiakos with his coach Bernd Schuster (C) during their Champions League Group C match at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium Oct. 24, 2007.

Last season's finalist Liverpool was confronted with an uphill task to avoid an embarrassing early exit as they almost certainly need to win their three remaining games to qualify.

Besiktas were gifted their opening goal after 13 minutes in somewhat comical circumstances as Serdar Ozcan's shot deflected home off the luckless Sami Hyypia, who had his second own goal in five days.

Real Madrid's Robinho (C) celebrates with his team mates Ruud van Nistelrooy (R) and Marcelo after scoring his second goal against Olympiakos during their Champions League Group C soccer match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid Oct.24, 2007.

The hosts doubled their lead on 82 minutes when Bobo slid the ball under Pepe Reina.

Captain Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool hope with a flying header on 85 minutes but it was just too late for Rafa Benitez's side.

In Milan, two goals apiece from Alberto Gilardino and Clarence Seedorf handed the reigning champions their second consecutive win in group stage.

Gilardino provided Milan with the perfect start when heading home Andrea Pirlo's corner on six minutes and the Italy striker then nodded in Seedorf's cross on 14 minutes.

Shakhtar pulled a goal back six minutes into the second half with a Cristiano Lucarelli volley.

But Milan, bouncing back from a shock loss to Empoli at the weekend, responded with scoring twice in the span of seven minutes through Seedorf's classy finishes.

(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2007)

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