Luck and creativity were the two key factors missing in Liverpool’s performance as they failed to break down resolute Braga to overturn a one-goal deficit from the first-leg. The Merseysiders were without Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez and from the offset their absence was keenly felt.
“You need to be strong creatively if you are going to break down a really organised side,” Dalglish told Skysports.com. “Or you need a bit of luck.” The Scot was philosophical about his team’s disappointing performance on the night, saying: “Like every other team in the world we could use a bit more creativity, but we are no different to anyone else.”
Reina focuses on league.
Putting the disappointment of the Europa League exit immediately behind him, Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has targeted a positive finish to the Premier League season to ensure the Liverpool are playing in European competition again next season. The top five, he argues, is not out of Liverpool’s reach.
“Fifth is still doable,” he told Skysports.com. “There are nine games to play and a lot of points.” Liverpool currently trail fifth-placed Tottenham by six points having played a game more. However, with Tottenham still playing in the Champions League, Reina believes ground can be made up. “Tottenham are involved in the Champions League still and have plenty of games. Hopefully we’ll win enough games to get fifth,” he said.
Reds bow out of Europe.
A lack of creativity saw Liverpool bow out of European competition at the last-16 stage as they were unable to break down a well-organised Braga defence.
Missing Luis Suarez (cup-tied) and Steven Gerrard (injured), Liverpool looked to Joe Cole and Andy Carroll, starting his first game for the club, for attacking impetus.
For a while they looked like providing it. First Carroll knocked the ball down for Cole to force a save out of Artur in the Braga goal. The Geordie striker then flashed a header from the subsequent corner just wide of goal. Following this early flurry, Liverpool lacked ideas. Carroll, quiet on his debut otherwise, guided a header from a Maxi Rodriguez cross wide, but rarely did Liverpool ever look like breaking down their Portuguese opponents.