Dalglish admits sloppy Liverpool were fortunate to escape lightly

Braga 1 Liverpool 0

Should Liverpool reach the Europa League final, the club's commercial department may be tempted to release a DVD of the full campaign. The away legs will, however, need to be fast-forwarded or cut out. Thus far, they have travelled through the Netherlands, Italy, Romania, the Czech Republic and now Portugal, amassing thousands of air miles and a single goal.

It was difficult to imagine that this was practically the same team that had taken Manchester United apart at Anfield. It was like coming across an old friend who has had Botox; they looked familiar but various bits were not moving as they should.

On Sunday, Andy Carroll had made his Liverpool debut as the United game turned into a triumphal procession. Here, football's most expensive Englishman caused Braga rather more problems than anyone else before receiving an elbow in the face from Kaka – not the one everybody has heard of but a Brazilian defender signed on loan from Hertha Berlin. "I'll do my impression of Arsène Wenger and say I didn't see it," his manager, Kenny Dalglish, commented afterwards. There was much, much more he would have wanted to avoid viewing again.

Braga's stunningly designed stadium is known as "The Quarry" and it would be tempting to say that Liverpool need digging out. True, they were beaten and the electronic scoreboard in front of the Monte Castro rock face was showing 67 minutes when home goalkeeper Artur was required to make his first real save, tipping over a drive from Dirk Kuyt. However, they were not buried alive, as perhaps they might have been.

Dalglish thought Liverpool fortunate to have only been beaten by a single goal. Celtic and Arsenal lost rather more comprehensively here this season, although significantly Braga were beaten at Celtic Park and humiliated at the Emirates Stadium. As he takes his side to a training camp in the Algarve, Dalglish might fancy Liverpool's chances of overturning this result on their return to Merseyside next week.

"Not if we start the way we did here," he interrupted. "Nobody can be pleased with the performance or the result. We won't be able to assess if we have contributed to our downfall until Thursday night."

Braga has a reputation for being the most conservative city in a conservative country, the Tunbridge Wells of Portugal, although their football team plays in a stadium that is positively radical – two vast stands each holding 15,000, with one goal framed by the side of a quarry, the other by a grassy bank.

It looked as if Liverpool were playing a spectacularly wealthy Sunday League side, an impression reinforced when the goalscorer was announced as Alan.

Perhaps appropriately given the setting, Sotirios Kyrgiakos demonstrated a caveman's touch when attempting to challenge Mossoro, conceding a penalty that Alan Osorio da Costa Silva, known simply as Alan, put away in the goal in front of the grassy knoll. The Alan known as Shearer could not have buried the spot-kick any more emphatically.

Braga deserved and should have scored a second when, after Liverpool failed to clear an inventively taken free-kick, Silvio unleashed a superlative volley from outside the box that clattered against Pepe Reina's crossbar. A few inches lower and Silvio would have scored one of the goals of this European season.

Much of Braga's best midfield work was carried out by Hugo Viana, which may have caused a quizzical eyebrow to be raised at Newcastle United. At roughly the same time, English football's two managerial knights, Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alex Ferguson, bought Sporting Lisbon's two most glittering talents. One is on half the billboards in Portugal, the other is not, but there were times yesterday evening when Viana's game did not seem so very different from Cristiano Ronaldo's.

Only if Braga show more resistance than they mustered at Arsenal, the club that inspired their foundation, will this result be seen in its full context. "We are optimistic," said their manager, Domingos Paciencia. "But we have to be very careful when we go to Anfield because Liverpool are one of the sides that can win this competition." Not on this evidence.

Braga (4-2-3-1) Artur; Garcia, Kaka, Alberto Rodriguez, Silvio; Salino, Viana; Alan, Mossoro (Paulao 69), Paulo Cesar (Helder Barbosa, 89); Lima (Meyong, 77). Substitutes not used Cristiano (g), Dani, Paterson, Capela.

Liverpool (4-2-3-1) Reina; Carragher, Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Johnson; Poulsen (Carroll, 56), Lucas; Spearing, Meireles, Cole; Kuyt. Substitutes not used Gulacsi (gk), Pacheco, Rodriguez, Wilson, Ngog, Flanagan.

Referee S Gumienny (Belgium).



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice