Jorgensen 63, Gilardino 90
Before this game started many were suggesting that it might be the watershed of our season. The return of Torres, albeit to the substitutes bench, and the long awaited start of Alberto Aquilani probably meant that against Arsenal on Sunday Rafa might be able to field something approaching a full strength team. We also said goodbye the Champions League last night and would this hail the start of a new part of the season? Hopefully seeing a move on to better things?
Of course there were others who preferred to see the negative side even suggesting that if we didn’t perform tonight then patience in Rafa would finally snap? That expectation in Aquilani has been overblown because he’s been out so long. Link this together with a form and unfairly the Italian is been seen by many as some kind of saviour.
So what of last night? Well nothing should be read into it. The game was a dead rubber, a meaningless match not exactly going through the motions but certainly not busting a gut to impress. Equally no one should expect Aquilani to hit the ground running, he needs to ease himself in gently and I guess this game gave him the ideal opportunity? However, another defeat and to another late goal might not, given the group circumstances, be a cause for concern but it’s certainly one for frustration and neatly and sadly sums up our performance in the group? If only games last 88 minutes we’d be through!
The fall guy for Aquilani was Lucas meaning that Rafa’s side had a more positive look to it. Darby was given a run out at full back Reina and Carragher were given a rest while Dossena was drafted for the first time since decimalisation!
The first significant move of the half came from Fiorentina via De Silvestri’s header from a set piece this time a corner, some things never change. Cavalieri, in for Reina, did well to turn it over. Straight after The Brazilian was busy again diving deep at his right hand post to parry away Montolivo’s low shot. Aquilani had a quiet but sound first half the only error being giving the ball way via a reckless back heel which eventually lead to a fruitless Fiorentina penalty appeal. With the first half approaching its end we hadn’t even had a chance. However that was soon to change
Pasqual bundled Gerrard over on the edge of the area. Gerrard sent the free kick over Benayoun running unmarked across the edge of the six yard got a flick that was good enough to evade Frey. A goal slightly against the run of play as Fiorentina had more chances but shortly after they made us pay finally cashing in as Jorgensen evaded Darby to fire home.
Rafa’s response was to introduce Torres and shortly afterwards he withdrew Aquilani who will feel better for this game although he can expect more pace and aggression (even though it’s Arsenal!) on Sunday. Pacheco his replacement nearly scored with the first touch. However, although the equaliser perked the game up it was Italians who were galvanised as we conceded late again. This time Vargas outstripped Darby and crossed for Gilardino.
Those wondering if defeat was to see the crowd turn on Rafa were answered with a rousing rendition of “You’ll Never walk Alone” however the outcome and the nature of the defeat although irrelevant was as dampening to the spirits as the rain that lashed down at the end of the game.
Liverpool: Cavalieri, Agger, Insua, Darby, Skrtel, Dossena, Aquilani (Pacheco 76), Gerrard, Benayoun, Mascherano (Aurelio 86), Kuyt (Torres 65), Substitutes: Reina, Aurelio, Kyrgiakos, Carragher, Spearing, Torres, Pacheco
Fiorentina: Frey, Kroldrup, Natali, Pasqual, Comotto, De Silvestri (Castillo 83), Donadel, Montolivo, Jorgensen (Vargas 71), Santana (Marchionni 71), Gilardino Substitutes: Avramov, Seculin, Vargas, Aya, Federico Carraro, Castillo, Marchionni