Monday, July 23, 2007


Reds Beat Auxerre

Pre-season Friendly

Auxerre 0 - 2 Liverpool

Gerrard, Agger

Despite playing below par, Liverpool still manage to keep their unbeaten record in the friendlies to 4 after defeating French first division side, Auxerre.

It was a lethargic and probably lacklustre display from the Reds as many fans moaned about wasting out 90 minutes on a match where chances are few and far between.

The match started out brightly with Liverpool doing most of the attack but soon, it turned into a scrappy affair with both sides misplacing simple passes and that hindered their offensive abilities.

But just when we're expecting half time, skipper Steven Gerrard was on hand to prod the ball into the back of the net after a wonderful play set up by Steve Finnan and Ryan Babel. It was unexpected and it took Auxerre by surprise.

As they say, Babel did the best thing on the field that day by not touching the ball. It seemed like most of us agree that he still needs more time to gel with the team and needs more training to get his fitness up because he seemed a little off-paced.

Yossi Benayoun, though, looked more lively as he continuously switch flanks with Babel and probably deserved a goal as well.

As usual, Rafa sent out an almost entirely different team for the second half but it didn't change the overall standard of the game. Probably due to the training prior to the game, they looked sluggish and a little tired.

The introduction of Moroccan, Nabil El Zhar, was a bright spark to the match. His movement down the left was pretty good and had a fantastic header saved.

But from the resulting corner, Liverpool doubled their lead with Daniel Agger powering the ball home, totally unmarked from 6 yards out. He does certainly look like a goalscoring defender we've been longing for years.

Auxerre did tried to push Liverpool and tried to play on a counter attack to hit the visitors on the break but the Reds held firm the high line that they play. There were a few scares but a combination of bad luck and appalling finishing means the French have lost their first friendly this season.

It was a good run out for the Liverpool lads and good to see the new signings settling in. Fernando Torres looked extremely lively and hardworking. It was unbelievable to see him running around for lost causes just like Dirk Kuyt always does.

He even had a great 1 on 1 chance saved by the goalkeeper. Let's pray that he'll keep up his fitness standard and be ready for the start of the season.

Peter Crouch still need to work on his header as he missed a total sitter and doesn't look very sharp.

But the rest of the players looked pretty much ready for the season and with some fine tuning in terms of tactics and movement, I think we'll be well prepared to face Aston Villa in the opening match at Villa Park.

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