Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish was happy to see record signing Andy Carroll start a game at least – but unhappy as the Reds crashed out of the Europa League.

The scoreless draw with Sporting Braga at Anfield on Thursday night saw the visitors through to the last eight on a 1-0 aggregate score.

Carroll, who has struggled with a thigh injury since signing from Newcastle, was left on for longer than expected as Liverpool chased the goal they needed.

“Andy stayed on longer than we hoped he would have to stay on but necessity meant he had to stay on the pitch because we were looking for a goal,” said Dalglish.

“Overall we are pleased to see him back on the pitch and we were not disappointed with his contribution in any way.

“It was a bit unfortunate he did not score a goal; he put one header wide in the first-half and then had one stopped by Dirk Kuyt in the second.

“Considering it was his first start I think he can be very pleased with how he played.

“If Andy’s header had gone in in the first-half it could have been a different outcome but we never put anything past the goalkeeper.

“You need to be really strong creatively if you are going to break down a very organized side or you need a bit of luck and we certainly have not had much fortune over two legs.

“Like every other team in the world we could do with a bit more creativity but we are no different than anyone else.”