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It’s Best It Ended When It Did for Liverpool

Andy Carroll Andy Carroll of Liverpool speaks to team mate Martin Skrtel during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 second leg match between Liverpool and SC Braga at Anfield on March 17, 2011 in Liverpool, England.

Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League at the hands of Braga on Thursday as the Reds failed to overturn a one goal deficit which they suffered in Portugal last week. I say “crashed out” – it would be far more suitable to compare the failing to a slow, tiresome burning out and eventual gentle stop rather than eventful, action packed full car chase ending in an exploding and manic “crash”. I watched the match, and in hindsight I wished I hadn’t.

If Kenny Dalglish’s long term future relies on the upcoming performances and results in matches, then this was indeed worrying for him and his future. Of course he is probably the best choice for Liverpool as long term manager – having the full and undying support from the fans is and will be vital – but this performance, much like all of Liverpool’s European performances this season, have been uninspiring and just plain boring. Fair enough if you get the end result, but when your not even getting a goal against the 6th place Portuguese League side, you know there are problems.

The fact that Andy Carroll started for Liverpool had pundits and commentators alike, excited beyond belief with the idea that long balls would be expertly nodded down by the big man for either Cole or Meireles to smash home. It actually conspired that Joe Cole was woeful as he has been during his short Liverpool career so far. I hesitate in blasting Cole who is obviously a quality player, but he did pretty much nothing against Braga to warrant £90,000 a week. This is, after all, a player whom Steven Gerrard compared to Lionel Messi when he first signed for Liverpool.

Carroll started his first game for Liverpool and couldn’t get into the game. The team lacks the ability to cross from the wings, with Johnson often being the main provider. Johnson was coincidental swiftly closed down whenever he received the ball in a dangerous position as if to emphasise the danger of his and Carroll’s combination. Carroll did what he does though – getting his head on anything he can and occasional holding the ball up well when he found it at his feet. He ran and ran, copying the template of the tireless Dirk Kuyt, but in this case, it was to no avail.

It was best it ended here though. Lets face it, Liverpool with this team had no chance of winning the competition when other teams in the competition have far more creativity and spark than the Reds do without the very important but cup-tied Luiz Suarez. It was a toothless display from Liverpool who can now concentrate on their domestic and far more important competition of the Premier League. They will be fighting for a place in the Europa League next year so they can bore us all over again. Joy!

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