Braga had won both their previous home games against British opposition this season. Celtic had been overcome 3-0 to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League, where Arsenal fell to a 2-0 defeat. This was the first time that Liverpool had ever met Braga, although in their last battle with a Portuguese club they lost (against Benfica in last year’s Europa League quarter final).
Braga’s European home record coming into this game was impressive – they had won three games (Arsenal, Partizan and Lech) 2-0. Liverpool on the other hand were unbeaten in six European ties on the road, although four of those were draws.
The home side were injury free in sharp contrast to Liverpool. Gerrard did not travel due to a groin strain, with Agger, Aurelio and Kelly also out. Shelvey is a long-term absentee, while in-form Luis Suarez, signed from Ajax in the winter, was cup-tied.