Well, we didn't get much time to enjoy that buzz, did we?
After the high of thrashing ManUre on Sunday, the return to sobriety was pretty swift and hard in Portugal as Liverpool were listless, slow, and uncreative in a 1-0 loss that could have been worse had Lima's ungodly hammer of Thor left-footed volley been two inches lower. I guess the one consolation is after that Braga didn't create much, and they look a side an on-song Liverpool can get a 2-0 or 3-1 result from.
But we they be on-song? Martin Kelly, Steven Gerrard, Fabio Aurelio definitely won't be playing. Daniel Agger is always filed under "iffy". That's a lot of attack intent right there, and even more when Suarez is ineligible. And Liverpool do look so hopeless without this crew, because so many dominoes start to fall.
When Poulsen is joining Lucas in midfield, they both sag right on top of the defense, leaving a huge gap between they and Meireles. When he comes back to close it and get the ball, Kuyt becomes isolated and he doesn't have the pace or touch to make use of all that space. Kuyt is only good when a quick, clever player is making all those runs around him, such as Suarez did on Sunday behind him or Torres used to do in front of him. When Kuyt comes back to close the gap to Meireles, Pool are essentially in a 4-6-0. Because neither of our "wingers" in Joe Cole or Jay Spearing were going to get anywhere near ahead of the forward.
Add to that with Carragher and Spearing on the right there was no attacking width even whispered, and with Cole always looking for room inside and Johnson hemmed in, well, we were as narrow as the minds of Oak Park that so frustrated Hemingway. All in all it was the definition of insipid.
-One nugget of hope was that after Andy Carroll's introduction, Pool looked a little livelier, but then again so would have Hemigway in his current state. At least you can boot it up there and he'll win it if you have runners supporting him. He's also not bad with his feet, so he can hold it while the rest of the teams lumbers up to join him. But it didn't result in much.
-The problem with playing Kyrgiakos so much is that one day he's going to turn back into...Kyrgiakos. So it was with the penalty. Oh, and every time he ad Skrtel attempt a pass more that 10 feet, they should have to kiss.
-Why did anyone think Jay Spearing was a prospect? Because he ran around a lot when already up 4-0 against Madrid? He's never show anything since. Oh right, because he's local and helplessly ugly.
-I thought there was a time Joe Cole was a force, but now I can't even remember when that was. That one goal against Sweden in 2006? Was that it?
-And now Gerrard is out a month. Even when half fit as on Sunday, he provided a bridge between Lucas and the attackers, which was usually Meireles floating in from the right. Regularly starting Poulsen isn't going to help anyone, and I'm not sure what the solution is. 4-4-2 with Carroll and Kuyt next Thursday? Maybe. Maybe Kuyt goes back to the right and Ngog comes in, and he's never had quite the big man to run with such as Carroll. Maybe that makes a difference in his game. Obviously in the league it'll be Suarez. We'll see. I don't like it.