Saturday, 30 July 2011

Liverpool's lacklustre display ends in 3:0 defeat

Sports - Football - Pre-Season Friendly - Galatasaray 3:0 Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish opted for the youngsters for the pre-season friendly at Galatasaray's new ground in Istanbul, including John Flanagan, Martin Kelly, Jack Robinson and Jonjo Shelvey at the Turk Telekom Arena.

Sotirios Kyrgiakos captained the side with a more experienced attacking partnership of Andy Carroll and Joe Cole at the front. New signings Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson were rested ahead of Monday's trip to Norway for the friendly match against Valerenga.

With only 30 seconds on the clock, former Red forward Milan Baros stabbed one wide from inside the box, showing the intent was there and he was not just there for a friendly kickabout.

The early pressure and dominance payed off for the home side on eight minutes when the Czech striker netted a fine, low right-wing cross from 12 yards, unmarked, making the defenders pay for their poor marking and leaving him too much space.

And Galatasaray doubled their lead four minutes before the break, when Baros found loads of space again at the back post to head in a near-post flick at a corner from close range.

Liverpool did not have much else to shout about in the first half, with hardly any possession or chances of their own, Shelvey putting one wide being the closest and only attempt worth a note.

King Kenny introduced Dirk Kuyt and Alberto Aquilani after the break, as well as Brad Jones, and there were signs of some improvement in the early stages of the second half when Carroll's header was stopped by substitute Ufuk Ceylan.

But whoever thought the game would pick up for the Reds would have soon been disappointed, with not much more action or chances to talk or cheer about and most of the action in the centre of the field.

Although Liverpool's display was much better than in the first half, Galatasary's shine certainly left them in the second half and neither side really capitalised or took control, making it a rather lacklustre match and watch.

Late on, Ceylan blocked another Carroll attempt but former Bolton striker Johan Elmander made sure the victory and cheers went to his side when he smashed a stunner from the edge of the box into the back of the net to make it 3:0 and a nice all round win for Galatasaray.

This defeat makes it a mixed pre-season for Liverpool, the preparation going from good to bad to worse with two thrashing wins and two crashing defeats. Dalglish has two weeks left until the new season starts and to get a better idea of what and who works together and what and who not. The last two matches certainly give an idea to the latter.

Galatasaray: Ercetin; Cetin, Zan, Sarioglu, Ujfalusi; Turan, Melo, Kazim-Richards, Inan; Baros (scored 8 & 40), Balta (booked). Substitutes: Ceylan (46), Birinci (66), Elmander (66, scored 83), Stancu (75), Kaya (90). Subs not used: Gulselam, Yilmaz, Akman, Culio, Kurtulus, Dilaver.

Liverpool: Doni; Insua, Flanagan, Kyrgiakos, Kelly; Robinson, Degen (booked), Shelvey (booked), Poulsen; Cole, Carroll. Substitutes: Aquilani (46) Jones (46), Kuyt (46), Spearing (69, booked), Sanchez Ayala (70), Wisdom (82), Coady (82).

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