This season's Europa League has the unique formula of six match officials with two additional referees added to the customary four, it's just a shame none of them can get a correct decision between them.

The decision to send off Ryan Babel by Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson was farcical to say the least, especially considering that Benfica defender Luisao had just ploughed into Fernando Torres and the Brazilian only ended up with a booking - simply baffling.

Anyone remember an incident with Steven N'Zonzi of Blackburn a month or so ago? N'Zonzi put his hand to Lucas' face and proceeded to shove him to the ground with excessive force. Low and behold he recieved just a yellow card, it just stinks of inconsistency.

As for the game itself, Liverpool started brilliantly with a piece of genius straight from the training ground. Daniel Agger has come into great form recently and a goal was always on the cards after spurning numerous chances against Sunderland. It's a great shame Liverpool were unable to exert their gameplan on the match as Babel was sent off after half an hour. Inevitably pressure came from the hosts, buoyed on by a viscivorus crowd, and it was always going to be a major task to keep out a side who have averaged three goals a game this season, even more so with 10 players. Although Torres did have one great chance at one each to put Liverpool ahead which rather uncharacteristically the Spaniard spurned.

It was always going to be a tough game for the Reds though, whether it was 11 v 11 or not. Benfica are highly rated across Europe with only one domestic defeat all season, coming way back in October. In perspective, a 1-2 defeat is by no means a terrible scoreline and one that can be reversed against the backdrop of a vibrant Anfield atmosphere.

Having said that the Portuguese side did come to Anfield in 2006 and win comfortably 2-0 after carrying a slender advantage from the first leg. It all points to what should be a fantastic European tie at Anfield next week, that's as long as the six officials can manage to referee the game properly.