Reina played his 300th game for Liverpool last night...
I use the word "flop" because it is highly appropriate. I don't think we deserve "crash" out of the Europa League because really we didn't provide enough action to be subject to a "crash", don't know about you but last time i checked a "crash" involves movement from two objects or in this case sides and we sure as hell weren't providing enough movement! "Drop" i also don't think we deserve because it's nowhere near harsh enough...
To "flop" out of the Europa League of course is quite embarrassing, but no less embarrassing than having to compete in the competition in the first place. We can fall back on several excuses but when it boils down to it, despite a long unbeaten run within this competition we'd been dragging out and scraping through performances, i can't remember a good performance.
Despite this, because it's Liverpool and our pedigree in Europe is unrivaled by the rest of the clubs involved, you tend to get to a stage where even if we're playing terrible, you assume we'll get through, most people had already booked their Ryan Air tickets to Dublin.
Last night's performance was no different to any other under both Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish in Europe. Though i still stand by the fact that Kenny has improved the attacking nous and forward positions of players so it's still an improvement on Roy's negative and defensive set ups.
Without Suarez and Gerrard we were missing a two link chain. The supply from midfield to the skillful Suarez was a spark that was clearly missing but not only this, Andy Carroll was lacking a consistent feed and you have to feel Gerrard could have filled that gap.
Meireles and Cole tried their best to whip in some crosses for Andy Carroll and the Geordie rose and fought in the air time after time but with only one real chance it was clear Liverpool were going to struggle.
In fairness to Braga without managing to score they still managed to hold us out. A strong, perhaps unimpressive but steady performance must have been a carefully crafted plan from manager Domingos.
John W Henry was present for the dismal display and surely he has spotted that his well received cash splashed in the January transfer window will surely be needed in the summer to sort this lot out.
As so many people have pointed out we have the basis of a great team but take out a couple of men and we're lost for options. If we can become a side who can take off a Suarez and replace with an Aguero or sign an Iniesta but still have Sneijder on the bench, well we'd be laughing! (Don't worry I've not lost my marbles i know there's no Iniesta! haha)
A very poor game for Liverpool saw nearly an hours worth of unsuccessful passes, loss of possession on the wing, offside calls against Kuyt and Carroll. Quite frankly it was a shambles. I thought the introduction of Ngog added an extra dimension and his hold up play once again allowed us to keep the ball in their half for longer periods which as the clock pushed closer to 90minutes finally saw us cause some problems.
Ngog nearly connected to a Liverpool free kick in the dying moments but the ball agonizingly scraped passed the Frenchman's rising shiny head (filthy minds sod off! haha). Whether Ngog on from the start would have helped i do not know but the whole side should feel responsible after that sorry display.
So there we have it, no more Europe, probably not next season either but brilliantly explained in an article by @robbohuyton (see here), maybe it's not such a catastrophe. I mean don't get me wrong I'll be gutted next season not being able to watch European games but if it meant a chance at being back in the Champions League the year after (highly unlikely at the moment) well it would be worth it!
Dalglish is the man who can convince players to come to Liverpool, he can rebuild with the players he purchases and his knowledge combined with Steve Clarke's will set us up perfectly in tactics.
It's not so far fetched to think about taking one step back before we take those two steps forward...