Penalty Gives Braga 1-0 Victory
Carroll impressed the fans...
It was another drab performance in the Europa League for Liverpool and as much as we all try to, it was hard to find a positive from such a game. The main excitement was the chance to see Andy Carroll again and thankfully the Geordie did get some game time.
Braga who have done well against Arsenal at their home ground of The Quarry before were well up for the task ahead of them. A lacklustre Liverpool struggled to find strength in attack with Luis Suarez ineligible and Steven Gerrard out injured. The missing link in midfield despite Meireles' best supporting efforts meant that Dirk Kuyt was a shadow of the player that jogged out against United.
A decision just before 20minutes was the only real highlight of the whole game. Braga were awarded a penalty after a poorly timed challenge from Sotirios Kyrgiakos, perhaps an unneeded one too. Alan converted for the home side despite Pepe Reina diving in the right direction.
The most action seen by the travelling fans was the arm lifting of the linesman. The amount of times Kuyt was caught offside you'd think he'd set up camp. Timing of his runs was poor.
Andy Carroll was introduced just before the hour mark and replaced an ineffective Christian Poulsen. After such a dismal first half Carroll in the number 29 shirt (bloody Torres!) made an immediate impact.
Getting stuck in aerial battles and doing his best to bring his team mates in to the game meant that finally a spark was created and the Reds might actually be able to find an equalizer.
Efforts from Kyrgiakos and Raul Meireles made the Braga defence work but still Liverpool didn't seem to have that last touch to convert an attempt into that all important goal.
A poor challenge towards the end of the match saw Andy Carroll elbowed in the face. It was bad enough no free kick was given but to me that was a red card, not that it would have made much difference but it was an utterly terrible challenge.
So the Reds come back to Anfield on the back of a 1-0 defeat. It's not the end of the road of course but as Dalglish said post match, if we play like that at Anfield we won't beat them.
I still don't know the latest on Gerrard but it would be nice to have him back for next week and i think we're slightly suffering from having to shake up the defence. Dalglish's original set up of the three at the back was working wonders but with Carragher utilised as right back last night it was clear we were struggling.