Liverpool stunned by Jovetic brace

<strong>FIORENTINA (2)</strong> vs <strong>LIVERPOOL (0)</strong><br /><br />LIVERPOOL boss Rafa Benitez blamed a shambolic first half showing for his side&rsquo;s first away defeat in the Champions League for almost 18 months.<br /><br />Teenager Stevan Jovetic struck a quick-fire brace to hand Fiorentina a shock victory over the Reds, who had not lost on the road since their semi-final defeat at Chelsea in April 2008.<br /><br />The 19-year-old Montenegrin beat the offside trap to slot home after half an hour, before reacting quickly to divert a cross-shot inside Pepe Reina&rsquo;s near post.<br /><br />Liverpool bombarded Sebastien Frey&rsquo;s goal after the break but poor finishing cost them in the end. Yet it was the dismal first 45 minutes that riled Benitez the most.<br /><br />&ldquo;In the first half everything went wrong. We were watching the game. When we were attacking we were giving the ball away, then we were regaining and playing counter-attack, so we were not winning any second balls, any challenges,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />&ldquo;In the second half you could see we had chances in the first minute. The difference in football is if you take your chances, like they did in the first half, you are winning and it is more difficult for the other team.&rdquo;<br /><br />Liverpool did not manage a shot on target in a woeful first period and were duly punished when Cristiano Zanetti&rsquo;s through ball found Jovetic, who calmly picked his spot past the advancing Reina. Ten minutes later Liverpool had a mountain to climb after an angled strike from Juan Vargas was diverted in by Jovetic.<br /><br />Lucas Leiva, in for the injured Javier Mascherano, put a free header wide and the red-hot Fernando Torres blazed over a close-range volley as the visitors pressed hard for an equaliser.<br /><br />But Liverpool failed to claw back and match Bayern Munich&rsquo;s record scoring run of 22 games.<br /><br /><strong>Hicks and Gillett deny sale reports</strong><br />LIVERPOOL&rsquo;S owners last night denied being on the verge of selling 50 per cent of the club to Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. George Gillett and Tom Hicks said they had retained Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Rothschild to advise on possible investors.<br /><br />But they added: &ldquo;The process is at an early stage, there is no agreement with any party and reports to the contrary are wholly inaccurate.&rdquo;<br />