Belfast Telegraph

Europa League: Dalglish rages as Liverpool slip up

By Carl Markham

Braga 1 Liverpool 0: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was unhappy with his side's poor first-half performance in the 1-0 Europa League last-16 first-leg defeat in Braga.



Just four days after tearing apart Manchester United at Anfield a team registering four changes, albeit significant ones, put in a lethargic opening 45 minutes.

Their punishment was Brazilian midfielder Alan's 17th-minute penalty, awarded after Sotirios Krygiakos' foul on Mossoro.

Liverpool improved after the break but there were few highlights, although £35million record signing Andy Carroll made his European debut —adding 33 minutes to the 16 he played against United on Sunday in his first appearance since his January transfer.

“It was a very poor first-half performance from ourselves and I have no complaints about the penalty,” said the Scot.

“We picked it up in the second half and we looked a lot more threatening when Andy came on.

“It was easier to be happier with the second half than the first.

“Considering the way we played in the first half we are fortunate to come away with a 1-0 because when you play as badly as that you are grateful you lose 1-0.

“You don't know if it is a good or bad result until the second leg is over but there is no-one in there who is pleased with the performance or the result.

“But until next Thursday I won't be able to assess whether we have been fortunate or contributed to our own downfall by selection of passes, no movement — we were just a bit sloppy, really.”

Dalglish was pleased to be able to give Carroll more time on the pitch, with the striker impressing with his aerial ability, winning every header he contested.

“We played better once he came on and he was a good option,” he added.

“We have to give him as many minutes as we can to make sure he makes a contribution.

“That is a bit longer than he got on Sunday and we will continue to make a contribution towards his fitness.”

Carroll appeared to be caught in the face by centre-back Kaka's elbow late in the game but Dalglish claimed he had not seen the incident clearly.

“I saw the two of them collide but I didn't see where he connected with Andy,” added Dalglish.

Braga coach Domingos Paciencia was pleased with the victory but knows they face a tough task at Anfield.

“We knew that it would not be easy and it was good we didn't concede because at this stage of the competition it is not easy,” he said.

“I am optimistic but I know Liverpool are a big team, one of the teams who can win the competition.”

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