By Chris Wright
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has reluctantly accepted that his side were lucky to leave Braga with just a one-goal deficit to chase down at Anfield next week, after watching his bereft charges fall flat during their Europa League tie in Portugal last night – and having watched the match, I’m inclined to agree.
A dour first-half was compounded when a lunging Sotirios Krygiakos sent Mossoro sprawling to the turf as the Brazilian midfielder broke into the Liverpool area and his fellow countryman Alan swept the resultant penalty kick past Pepe Reina after just 17 minutes.
A Gerrard-less Liverpool struggled to carve out anything of note as an unspectacular midfield of Christian Poulsen, Jay Spearing, Lucas and the largely ineffective Joe Cole failed to provide anything more than pink-faced toil for the majority of the game (my how they missed Luis Suarez’s busy-bodying), while Dirk Kuyt was left to his own devices up front.
Only in the 58th minute, and the introduction of Andy Carroll, did Dalglish’s side begin to shift – with the 6’3” target man winning almost all of the long balls being pumped into him and finding red shirts into the bargain, despite getting his chin pummeled by Kaka’s snide elbow as the game drew to a close.
However, Braga still had the best goal-scoring opportunity of the second-half when left-back Silvio saw his arcing volley thump back of Reina’s