Pennant: "I didn’t think it was
the right decision to send me off."
Porto game one of toughest
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher
believes that last night’s test away to Porto was one of the
toughest European matches he has played in.
As expected, Porto gave Liverpool a tough time of it in
front of a vociferous home support. An early Gonzalez
penalty was cancelled out by a Dirk Kuyt header, however
Liverpool had to play much of the second half with ten men
as Jermaine Pennant was sent off for a second bookable
Porto bossed large portions of the match and gave last
year’s beaten finalists very little in the way of goal
Carragher admits that Porto made life very difficult, but
the centre-half was pleased to walk away with a draw.
"They fizzed the ball around very quickly. Quaresma and the
other winger caused us problems,” he told Liverpool’s
"Sometimes you've got to hold your hands up and say the
other team has played well. I'd say the first 30 minutes was
up there with the toughest games we've ever had in the
"But we have a lot of experience in Europe now, and we knew
there was a long way to go in the game.
"There was no need to panic. We showed a lot of character to
get ourselves back in the game and probably had the better
of the chances in the second half with 10 men.
"It would have been a good point with 11 men, but with 10
After going behind through a spot-kick, Liverpool extend
their run of not conceding in open play to 8 games, but
worryingly, they have given away four penalties already this
Carra added: "I think it's just one of those strange things
that happen sometimes, we seem to be giving penalties away
every game. I'm sure it won't continue.
"The disappointing thing is, all the penalties we've
conceded weren't really from goalscoring chances.
"But we're not giving many chances away in open play and
that's something we've got to be proud of."
Reds make point the hard way
By Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo
It started badly, could have got worse,
but in the end Liverpool battled well for their first point
in this season’s Champions League.
Put it down to the international break, but the Reds are not
playing with anywhere near the fluency so evident in the
We know Porto are a good side, which is why the Reds needed
to stamp some sort of authority on the game quickly. But,
quite frankly, they had a nightmare in the opening 10
minutes, during which they might have conceded a couple of
The performance at Portsmouth was poor, yet they came away
with a 0-0 point, and they have to be patted on the back for
another draw after being reduced to 10 men.
Rafa Benitez saved one or two players specifically for last
night, but the form missing on Saturday was absent again,
until Jermaine Pennant’s dismissal resulted in the Reds
showing that steely resilience we have come to expect.
It was not a sudden end for Pennant – he had fouled several
times and unfortunately it was just down to clumsy,
ridiculous challenges. But his dismissal could have cost the
Reds a point and he has to learn from that.
Admittedly, Porto have some quality players who showed good
touches, but they did not have enough punch up front to hurt
the Reds in the second half.
Benitez will be concerned at the sluggish start and an
ability to concede possession so easily in the first half.
His side could have been a goal down within minutes when an
attempted clearance ricocheted across goal and Reina had to
save. But he was helpless to stop the penalty by Lucho,
caused when Hyypia was beaten for pace and the keeper
arrived too late to intercept.
But Hyypia, whose selection was another puzzle for me, at
least made amends, rising to Finnan’s cross and providing
Kuyt with an easy chance.
The striker was probably the Reds’ best player, scoring the
close-range header that got them level and chasing and
harrying all over the park.
Pennant: I must
learn Euro lesson
By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo
Jermaine Pennant was quick to thank his
team-mates for bailing him out of trouble following last
night’s red card during the 1-1 draw in Porto.
Pennant’s 58th minute dismissal certainly cost Liverpool the
chance of victory in Portugal, but fortunately for Pennant
it didn’t contribute to an opening group defeat.
The right winger insisted he didn’t deserve to see red after
two lunging tackles, but he acknowledged he must learn to
show more discipline in Europe where referees are less
tolerant of such indiscretions.
"The referees are harsher in Europe and I was baffled by him
all night," said Pennant. "I definitely have to learn from
the fact there’s a difference in how the referees approach
the games in Europe.
"In Europe you just have to stay on your feet.
"I didn’t think it was the right decision to send me off. It
wasn’t a yellow card because it wasn’t a serious foul, and I
didn’t touch the Porto player anyway. He made a meal of it,
so it was way too harsh. The whistling from the crowd
influences the referee and makes his decision easier,
"In the Premiership, it wouldn’t have been any more than a
goal kick to the other side, not even a free kick.
"It was agony watching the game in dressing room. I was just
thinking ‘come on lads, stick it out for me’. They deserve
full credit for getting the draw with ten men, which
obviously makes it a lot more difficult.
"I’m sure the manager won’t hold the sending off against me.
I hope it won’t go against my name. It’s the first time in
my senior career I’ve been sent off. I was once sent off in
a friendly under-18 international, but that’s the only other
time, so my disciplinary record isn’t bad."
Pennant’s sending-off summed up a forgettable night for
Liverpool in terms of the team’s performance, although the
draw represents an encouraging start to the campaign.
Emotions were understandably mixed as the side returned to
Merseyside this afternoon.
"We were sloppy, particularly in the first five minutes,
when they showed us they were right up for the game," said
"We made it difficult for ourselves giving the ball away in
our own half, and the boss told us at half-time where we
needed to improve. In the end the boys deserve credit for
getting the point, which is a good result for us."
Liverpool will today check on the extent of Xabi Alonso’s
foot injury, which kept him out of the 1-1 draw.
Porto ace: Reds
By Ben Blackmore - Setanta Sports
Porto striker Lisandro Lopez took a swipe
at Liverpool after Tuesday’s 1-1 Champions League draw,
insisting The Reds deserved nothing from the match.
Liverpool boarded the plane back to Merseyside with a
hard-earned point in their luggage following the dismissal
of Jermaine Pennant, but they did so with a knife in the
back from Lopez.
Dirk Kuyt’s equalising goal after Lucho Gonzalez’s opener
was The Reds’ only shot on target in the entire 90 minutes,
as Porto controlled large chunks of the contest.
Lopez and co could not do what no other team has done this
season though by scoring from open play, and the Argentine
was clearly frustrated at the climax of the game.
"We knew beforehand this game would not be easy, but I think
we played well and were the best team," he said.
"Porto should have been the winners and Liverpool did not
deserve the draw.
"The key to the game was at 1-0 when we could not finish the
job. If Porto had scored a second goal I am convinced
Liverpool would not have been able to react.
"We have been held to a draw at home, but I believe we have
a big chance of going through to the next round. Liverpool
is a great side, so we have shown that we can go far in this
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard admits
that a draw against Porto did not live up to the club’s high
European standards, but on reflection believes the result is
par for the course.
After an early Gonzalez penalty, Dirk Kuyt snatched a rapid
equaliser, however the scores stayed the same until the
After reaching two finals in three years, Gerrard believes
the club have found a winning formula, but he felt those
attributes were lacking.
"We've built a successful team in Europe on starting well,
making it difficult for the opposition, being good in
possession and very good on the counter attack. All these
things never went well here.
"We've got to two finals in the past three years but we
never reached those standards this time.
"Having said that, before the game maybe we would have taken
a point because Porto are a good side with really dangerous
"But they can expect a different Liverpool at Anfield, and
if we can take four points off them it will stand us in good
stead in the group stages."
Benitez anger at
Pennant red card
Rafa Benitez is hoping Jermaine Pennant
will "learn his lesson" after his red card against Porto -
and admitted he was trying to take him off.
Pennant has been walking a fine line for much of the season,
and now he must learn the hard way after his red card in
Liverpool's 1-1 draw.
The former Birmingham winger's form has improved
tremendously over recent months but he has still clashed
with officials this term and spent too much time arguing
And in the Estadio do Dragao in the Reds' Champions League
group A opener, he discovered an official - Slovakian Lubos
Michel - who lost patience.
Michel was the official who awarded the controversial Luis
Garcia goal that sent Liverpool to the 2005 Champions League
final at the expense of Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, and he
chose a game at the Stamford Bridge manager's former club to
give Liverpool a hard time.
Pennant was chipping away at the official long before the
first of his two bookings.
And he got no sympathy from his manager Benitez, who said:
"We were really very bad in that first half, there are no
"We gave the ball away too easily and made too many
mistakes. But the second half was much better. We needed to
show real character and that is what we achieved.
"We were more organised, there was an excellent workrate and
there were positives to be drawn from the second-half
"We were playing against a good side and we have no
complaints about the result."
And when Pennant was dismissed in the second half for a
second bookable offence, Benitez said: "I have no complaints
about the decision. It was correct.
"Hopefully Jermaine will learn from this experience. Maybe
it will produce something positive for the future, the
tackle in that position was just not needed.
"It is difficult to understand why he did it, we had talked
to him about staying on his feet and not making rash
"We were even talking on the bench about taking him off, but
we just did not get the time to do it."
Liverpool were under pressure from the first whistle, and
Benitez said: "We started very, very badly and it is hard to
explain why because our build-up and preparation had been
"It was easier to do the right things in the second period,
but the damage had been done.
"We gave the ball away far too easily, we conceded clear
chances and gave away a penalty that was also a correct
feels for Pennant
Goalscorer Dirk Kuyt sympathised with
Jermaine Pennant after the winger was sent off in
Liverpool’s nail-biting 1-1 draw at Porto.
Lucho Gonzalez handed the hosts an early advantage from the
spot after Jose Reina brought down Tarik Sektioui after Sami
Kuyt levelled with a close-range header before Pennant was
sent off for two yellow cards early in the second period –
the second for a pointless challenge near the touchline.
But the Dutch striker told ITV1 afterwards: “He was unlucky.
He tried to do his best and maybe it was a bit too much.”
Kuyt added: “We are pleased because we played 30 minutes
with 10 men.
“We didn’t play well in the first half and were unlucky with
the red card.
“The first half we had problems passing. We tried to do it
better second half and we worked really hard. With a bit of
luck we could have won.
“Porto is a really strong team and at least we didn’t lose.
If we can beat them at home we will be okay.”
too many mistakes
By John Sinnott - BBC Sport Online
Liverpool escaped with a fortunate draw
after a poor display against Porto in this Champions League
Group A match.
Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina gave away a penalty and was
beaten by Lucho Gonzalez's spot-kick on eight minutes.
Despite their error-strewn first-half performance, Dirk Kuyt
pulled Liverpool level with a close-range header.
But Liverpool had to play with 10 men for over 30 minutes of
the second half after Jermaine Pennant was sent off after
picking up a second yellow card.
If Liverpool are to reach their third Champions League final
in four years they will have to cut out the mistakes that
littered their play in the first half.
Too many Liverpool players were too ponderous and too often
the visitors conceded possession too easily.
In Ricardo Quaresma, Porto had a player all too eager to
capitalise on Liverpool's mistakes.
Unfortunately for the Portuguese champions had nobody to
finish off Quaresma's impressive approach work.
Quaresma gave Steve Finnan and Pennant all sorts of problems
on the right for Liverpool as they tried to keep track of
the tricky Porto winger.
Pennant was booked for a first-half tackle on Quaresma and
the former Arsenal winger was sent off just before the hour
when he foolishly fouled Lucile.
Trying to chase a Javier Mascherano pass, Pennant swung
wildly as the Uruguayan shielded the ball.
A pointless challenge that ensured Pennant's deserved
Strangely Liverpool looked more cohesive at a numerical
disadvantage and apart for a half-chance for Quaresma the
final 30 minutes passed without too many scares for the
Late on Quaresma had track back to his own penalty area to
ensure Kuyt did not reach Steven Gerrard's dangerous pass.
The first 10 minutes must have been akin to a horror movie
for Liverpool's perfectionist manager Rafael Benitez.
Finnan was too slow in trying to clear his lines and after
he was tackled by Quaresma the ball richocheted to Lisandro
The Porto striker had just Reina to beat, but the Spanish
keeper did well to block Lopez's shot.
Carragher was the next Liverpool defender to fail to clear,
enabling Quaresma to send in a shot that just went over the
Liverpool might have escaped on those two occassions, but
there was to be no repreive when a third mistake was made.
Tarik Sektioui was too quick for Sami Hyypia and then for
Reina as the Moroccan went down under the challenge of the
Reina's record of saving penalties is superb, but he was
fooled by Gonzalez as the Argentine midfielder put his shot
in the centre of the goal as the Spanish keeper dived to his
If Finnan and Hyypia had had less than impressive starts the
two Liverpool defenders were soon to made amends.
Finnan's diagonal free-kick was headed across the goal by
Hyypia and Kuyt beat Nuno with a close-range header.