Liverpool slumped to their first defeat in September in Florence against Fiorentina, placed 4th in Serie A.
With Mascherano unwell, Fabio Aurelio came in to the Liverpool midfield with Riera taking his place on the bench.
The reds took 45 minutes to get in to the game, but by then they were already 2-0 down after Jovetic scored two goals after dismal defending by Liverpool.
Their first came from a perfectly weighted through ball that beat the reds defence trying to implement some kind of offside trap before their second goal, in a late touch which sent Reina the wrong way.
Liverpool vastly improved in the second half but despite a barrage of chances, didn’t have the shooting boots that they had on during the 6-1 defeat of Hull in the Premier League at the weekend.
With Lyon winning 4-0 in Hungary, the reds slip to joint 2nd in the group with an important double header against group leaders Lyon coming up.
More important than that, Liverpool need to concentrate on this weekends clash at Stamford Bridge.
Post Match Comments
“It’s true, we didn’t play well.
“We had too many problems and made too many mistakes.
“We had to change everything in the second-half and then it was different, it was much better.
“In the first-half they were on top of us. We knew it would be difficult, they were doing well but we were doing everything badly.
“Fiorentina have done a very good job. They were pressing around the pitch and we were too nervous, making mistakes. If you make mistakes you pay for them.”
(About Jovetic) “We knew he was good. We watched some games and at this level you know the player. Jovetic was playing in the middle and doing well.”
“We were talking about our mistakes and how to improve,” he said. “We tried to find solutions and wanted to channel things in a better way.”
Asked if he thought his side could recover in time for Sunday’s showdown at Chelsea, Benitez added: “I think so. I think it will be totally different.
“Hopefully you will see the Liverpool you saw in the second half and we will be better.”
Teams and Match Stats
Liverpool: Reina, Insua (Babel 72), Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Benayoun, Leiva, Aurelio (captain), Kuyt (Voronin 80), Gerrard, Torres.
Unused subs: Spearing, Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Riera, Plessis
Fiorentina: Frey, Gobbi, Dainelli (captain), Gamberini, Comotto, Vargas (Jorgensen 74), Zanetti, Montolivo, Marchionni (De Silvestri 89), Jovetic, Mutu (Donadel 82).
Unused subs: Avramov, Castillo, Pasqual, Kroldrup
Goals: Jovetic (28, 37)
Referee: Felix Brych (Ger)
Our Man of the Match
This is a struggle. No-one in a (white) shirt particularly crowned themselves in glory tonight. If I had to choose, and I really am struggling, then we would be forced to go with Torres – if only for looking like he actually cared about tonight’s result.