There are a few articles on the Official Site featuring player reactions to Tuesday’s match. First off, captain Steven Gerrard talks about the game he supposedly took part in:
A point away from home in the Champions League is a good result but we’re disappointed with the way we played. We didn’t start well and never really recovered.
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 attacking players. 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.
Next up, Jamie Carragher weighs in on Porto and the defense’s proclivity for penalties:
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 Champions League.
They fizzed the ball around very quickly. Quaresma and the other winger caused us problems.
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 it’s great.
The disappointing thing is, all the penalties we’ve conceded weren’t really from goalscoring chances. 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. But we’re not giving many chances away in open play and that’s something we’ve got to be proud of.
Hyypia also threw his two cents in, keeping it short and (bitter)sweet:
We came here to win. We go to every game to win. That doesn’t change any time.
We knew that it was going to be difficult, they are a good side and have some good players. We started a bit sloppy, but towards the end we played better and better.
And Pennant tries to make the right noises about his dismissal, but merely proves that he just doesn’t “get it”:
The referees are harsher in Europe and I was baffled by him all night. 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, probably. 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 the 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.
To say the tackle would have been alright in England is absurd and worrying. The difference between the officiating in Europe and England isn’t the point. The point is Jermaine needs to learn from the dismissal, he needs to learn how not to react in certain situations and how to protect himself and the team from stupid mental mistakes. Laying the blame at feet of the European refs is a cop-out and a juvenile excuse.
Getting sent off in one game surely isn’t the end-of-the-world, but it’s Pennant’s mental approach to it all that worries me. If he’s going to continue to grow as a player (and acheive that England call-up he’s angling for), he’ll need to learn to play intelligently all the time.