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No Escaping Pain, You Belong To Me: Liverpool 1 - Sparta 0

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Yeah, sure.
Yeah, sure.

"...clinging on to life by the skin o' my teeth..."

Rare is the day where Dave Mustaine hasn't perfectly described it, and so it was with the Pool advancing past the pesky Praha into the round of 16 in the Europa League. Liverpool were mostly disjointed and off, didn't create enough chances and didn't come close to finishing the ones they did until the very end. That said, apart from the opening exchanges and one gaffe from Pepe Reina (he looked like Adam Dunn swinging at a curveball), Liverpool defended well and didn't really face any prime chances either. If you only give up one or two obvious scoring chances over 180 minutes, you probably deserve to go through. And Liverpool did, and that's really what matters I suppose.

-If you've read this site for any length of time, you'll know of my strong distaste for Dirk Kuyt. I think he's slow, has an awful touch, can't cross or pass, and only maintains his place by being a glorified apple-polisher in that he always looks really busy. But what I can't deny is that he has a knack for popping up with big goals, especially in Europe.  And that's a hard thing to replace or replicate, and on these days I'm glad he's around.

-Once Martin Kelly went off, Liverpool lost a lot of attacking impetus. Sparta let him rain down the right all first half, but once Carragher went out there we could forget it. The switch to a 4-4-2 also stunted Meireles out to the right where he could be at the heart of things less, and a central midfield of Poulsen and Lucas has all the sharpness of a wet mouse. And how Poulsen remained on the pitch as long as he did is just stupefying. He literally can't....well, he can't.

-Danny Wilson defends well, but doesn't get forward enough. Which isn't surprising considering his age and experience.

-Pretty chalky odds that Kyrgiakos would end up bleeding in any match. He continues to challenge for balls he has no prayer of getting to, and gave away a dangerous free kick in the dying moments thanks to this ridiculous habit. But thanks to Daniel Agger being made of fairy dust and dreams, we'll probably be seeing more of Menelaus than anyone one of us wants.

-At least Joe Cole tried.

-Teams are going to figure out to force Liverpool out wide, because we don't have a decent crosser of the ball and when we do manage one we aren't bathing in those to finish. I assume this is what Andy Carroll solves.

-I'm sure if I look real hard, and I mean squint all the way, I can see the potential in David Ngog that caused Rafa to buy him. But then my eyes hurt.

Still, we're moving on, and Braga has the coolest stadium in Europe. I don't know what that has to do with anything, I just thought I'd share.