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BENFICA 2, LIVERPOOL 1: A Loss of Sorts

Still haven't been able to see anything more than very brief highlights of the match's bigger moments, so this is pieced together from reading mobile updates and match recaps that fit on a phone screen. But I wanted to get something up (thanks Daryl) until I get actual internet access.

A few of the major points, then:

---Daniel Agger's goal: Well-worked and well overdue. I've lamented the Dane's lack of finishing ability in the past few weeks, with the Sunderland match one of the most stark examples. But yesterday he finally converted with a deft backheel, and from a set-piece no less. He's getting a boat load of chances, and if he's able to start converting it can only help Liverpool.

---Ryan Babel's red card: Probably one of the most surprising incidents to read on the gamecast, and after seeing the clip, I'm in agreement that while the letter of the law called for a red, it was harsh. At the least Babel matched the intensity of the challenge, with Torres getting absolutely plugged by Luisao (who, incidentally, made it clear that their "plan" for Torres was to kick the shit out of him. Credit to Torres that he made it through without a booking.). And while he'll be missed in the next leg, it's nice to see Babel's capable of that type of fire and has the stones to own up to it after the match. It's been an undoubtedly a good stretch for the previously alienated winger.

---Benfica's two goals: To concede two penalties to a striker who couldn't hit water falling out of a boat from live play was especially painful. I'd agree with the sentiment that a draw might have been a fairer result (at least from the Liverpool perspective), but considering the amount of chances Benfica missed, 2-1 is workable. It'll be interesting to see how they approach the visit to Anfield---by all accounts they're not very compromising in their style of play, so the return leg could be explosive (but hopefully not literally for Pepe Reina's sake after yesterday).

I'd be inclined to make comments about the refereeing (which multiple sources confirm was spotty at best), but without seeing the entire match I have no sense of how it really influenced the match. And Dustin's cryptic comment on yesterday's post somehow explained...something. Plus these little Blackberry keys are killing my thumbs.

I'll continue my search for free internet access in North Dakota when possible, and hopefully I'll find it in time to run something tomorrow. Along with something other than pawn shops and brown grass.

Take care everyone.

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