Ngog seals win but Liverpool crash out

November 25, 2009

Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa, 1819
“Liverpool crashed out of the Champions League after a bitterly disappointing victory in the Hungarian capital. They needed to win to give themselves any chance of reaching the last 16, but events in Florence ended those dreams with Fiorentina achieving the victory they needed to qualify. David Ngog scored Liverpool’s early winner, but they struggled painfully to produce a convincing display, the damage having been done in two games against Lyon that cost them four points.” (ESPN)

Liverpool’s bread and butter looks stale as their rivals ice the cake
“Move along, there’s nothing of interest here. Apologies for an intro that breaks every rule in the newspaper style book, even if it happens to be true, but I just wanted to pre-empt all the blog fascists who regularly use those words in an attempt to persuade other readers not to bother with a point of view with which they happen to disagree.” (Guardian)

Liverpool deserve more from us, says Javier Mascherano
“Javier Mascherano has claimed Liverpool’s players will not be demoralised by demotion to the second tier of European football but must take responsibility for the club’s damaging early exit from the Champions League. With qualification for next season’s competition essential for Rafael Benítez, the Argentina captain has called on Liverpool to turn the misery of Budapest into a sustained assault on a top-four finish and victory in the Europa League.” (Guardian)

Benitez focused on top-four finish
“Rafael Benitez has confirmed Liverpool will prioritise their bid to make a swift return to the Champions League over a tilt for Europa League glory. Being winners of Europe’s most-prized club trophy in 2005 and finalists in 2007 counts for little now in the wake of an exit in the group stages for the first time in six seasons under Benitez.” (Independent)

Debrecen 0 Liverpool 1: match report
“Liverpool’s supporters were defiant until the bitter end, hoping against hope for news of a miracle in Florence that never came. After hearing that Fiorentina had beaten Lyon, so evicting Rafa Benítez’s side from the Champions League, Liverpool fans chanted “we’ve won it five times’’. Strong past, weak present, uncertain future. Forget the financial cost of this collapse, the millions Liverpool will not make from continued feasting at football’s top table. It is the emotional price that will prove most substantial, the painful realisation that they are now amongst Europe’s also-rans.” (Telegraph)

Pique and Pedro see off limp Inter

November 25, 2009

“Holders Barcelona moved two points clear at the top of their Champions League group after producing a classy display to defeat previous leaders Inter Milan at Camp Nou. Barca could have found themselves out of the competition if results had gone against them on Tuesday, but Pep Guardiola’s side are now within touching distance of a place in the last 16 after brushing aside Inter thanks to early goals from Gerard Pique and Pedro Rodriguez.” (ESPN)