So that’s it, out. No complaints we’ve had enough chances to sort it out and have failed. We’ve had all sorts of problems this season and this is the first time they have manifested themselves into something tangible – elimination for the Champions League.
Until last night I guess most might have expected us to turn it around as we have done in the past. However, not on this occasion time to take the medicine and have a reality check and I suspect, such is the way of media these days, read our premature obituaries. Sky, in their Champions League goals round up, laughably started this off before the players had even showered and changed!
In the first game against Debrecen at Anfield we took a long time to break them down however, no such problems this time. A short corner on the right worked between Aurelio and Gerrard found its way to Carragher at the back post who knocked it across the six yard area. Ngog bundled it over the line with outside of his foot via sort of mid air kung-fu kick that only just managed to connect with the ball and cross the line after hitting keeper and the post.
An excellent start but one which we didn’t really take advantage of. The Hungarians regrouped and settled and although we had most of the possession and some good opportunities, two from Ngog spring to mind, the momentum was lost. Meanwhile in Florence Fiorentina were hitting the post twice, before Sissoko updated Marchionni to concede a penalty which Vargas converted. Slowly the depressing story was beginning to reveal itself.
The second half continued in the same vain. Perhaps we were flattened as the half time news from Florence was imparted? However, commendably we pressed forward, had a penalty appeal turned down, put in some decent crosses only to find no one on the end of them. Then we woke up. Gerrard was put through via excellent pass from Lucas but his effort was blocked. Gerrard was again denied a few minutes later by the keeper as we swarmed forward. Lucas on the hour missed another easy header, his second in two games. Kuyt then blazed over when a cross was the probably the better option and Gerrard did the same after great run by Agger. Mascherano bought out a routine save with a low grass cutter from distance and then Gerrard produced a weak attempt the chip the keeper.
All this was very well however, there was always the risk that we would be hit by a sucker punch. Debrecan had a couple of dubious penalty claims turned down. Then Reina did well to palm over a Coulibaly shot cum cross. Before that Rudolf had a couple of good chances to make us pay for our wastefulness in front of goal and embarrassment was narrowly avoided right at the end when Coulibaly fluffed a great chance just before the whistle went.
We then had a five minute wait for proceedings to close in Florence. Lyon had pressed into the second half however they didn’t deliver and in all honesty why should we expect them to? Although we did our job on the night it was too late, sadly and frustratingly the damage had been done elsewhere?
Debrecen: Poleksic, Bodnar, Meszaros, Fodor (Dombi 78), Mijadinoski, Szelesi, Kiss, Szakaly (Coulibaly 62), Czvitkovics, Laczko, Rudolf
Subs: Pantic, Komlosi, Ramos, Dombi, Bernath, Varga, Coulibaly
Liverpool: Reina , Johnson , Agger, Insua, Carragher, Gerrard (Aquilani 90+2), Aurelio (Dossena 89), Kuyt, Mascherano, Lucas, Ngog (Benayoun 77)
Subs: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Dossena, Aquilani, Benayoun, Spearing