In the end, yesterday's match in Lisbon proved to be more of an afterthought than anything else, as the FA announcement of charges against Luis Suarez (along with FIFA and Sepp Blatter's pathetic effort) dominated much of the conversation. Given that qualification to the first knockout round was already secured for both sides, this one was maybe never likely to gather too much attention, but it was too bad that the final round of the group stage coincided with a major non-development in one of the more troubling storylines of the past few weeks.
From a Liverpool perspective, any type of footballing performance would probably be preferential to charges of racism being lodged by a governing body against one of its star senior squad players, but last night's display wasn't exactly one for the ages. Sporting left no doubt as to the more polished squad at the current moment, darting out to a 2-0 lead in the first half before eventually overwhelming the visitors with three goals in the second. Michael Ngoo clawed one back before the break, but Liverpool had no answer for Sporting's efficiency in front of goal.
And while the scoreline is punishing, the video's worth watching for some of the sheer quality to be found in Sporting's finishing---their opener (:49) was an absolute jackhammer from Edgar, and the pick of the day had to be Alberto Coelho's overhead volley (4:00) to extend the lead to 3-1. Perfectly timed and struck, I'd guess it's a clear favorite for the goal of the tournament. Their fifth was no slouch either, as Gael Etock hit it on the half-volley over Tyrell Belford from thirty yards (5:40) to round off the scoring.
Tough scoreline for Liverpool's youngsters, who were again humbled by a superior Sporting side, but hopefully any sting for them will hopefully be dulled by the fact that they'll be back in action when the first knockout round begins.