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Austin then had an even better opening in the ninth minute after battling past Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel, but was denied by Simon Mignolet's sprawling save before finding the side-netting with the rebound.
The hosts continued to control the game, with Zamora a focal point in the attack. His bursting run down the right in the 28th minute resulted in a glorious opening for Leroy Fer, but he could only fire against the crossbar from close range.
The same pair combined to rattle the woodwork was again moments later. Mignolet was out of position and could only watch as the Dutchman's header from Zamora's came back off the frame of the goal. Austin and Sandro followed up but, somehow, the ball stayed out and Liverpool survived.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard almost stole the lead for his side just before the break when his curling shot arced just past the far post.
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