Sullen in defeat

Liverpool departed the arena choked by disappointment but with frustration welling in their midst. Rafael Benitez was still berating the officials for denying his side more added time at the end while his crestfallen side shuffled towards their supporters to acknowledge their deafening contribution with an acceptance that luck had deserted them this time around.

"We were in control and had created a few chances ourselves in the first half, but you have to have some good fortune to score against a team like Milan," bemoaned Dirk Kuyt, whose reward came too late with a close-range header as the seconds ticked away.

"But they were really lucky to score with a deflection just before half-time. Their player (Filippo Inzaghi) didn't know he'd touched the ball in the area when it went in. We tried so hard to get level again, but unfortunately it just didn't happen."

Benitez had flung Harry Kewell and, eventually, Peter Crouch into the fray in a last ditch attempt to force parity only for Milan to bite deep on the counter-attack. The Spaniard's mood had hardly improved as he confronted his disappointment well after the final whistle, his principal frustration centring on the German referee Herbert Fandel's award of three minutes of added time at the end. To make matters worse, the official then called a halt to proceedings before that period had elapsed.

"Two minutes, 45 seconds and 51 (hundredths of a second)," growled Benitez. "He had said three minutes, but anyway. I don't want to say anything. It's clear. It could have given us more momentum because we had just scored and I had real confidence that we could get another. I was surprised that we didn't play out that time.

"But, I suppose at the end of the day you need to score the goals in 90 minutes. Maybe, if we'd had more time it would have been better, but I was disappointed for two or three things that everybody could see. But I don't want to use that as an excuse."

Dominic Fifield � Guardian Newspapers Limited 2007