“The Kop comes to Asia” pre-season extravaganza resulted in a 1-1 draw with Thailand and a 5-0 thumping of Singapore. There were mostly positives to come from it all, but what one fears is injuries… and we picked up a few (Skrtel and El Zhar, both out for 3-4 weeks). That said, our players we NEED fit and that don’t have suitable replacements did not come away with knocks. And that’s a major blessing.
Let’s start with the Thailand match. This 1-1 draw was one of those matches where 1-1 is EXTREMELY flattering to Thailand. We dominated them from start to finish, gave them one legit chance at goal, and they took it. Babel opened up the scoring with a lovely long ball from Carra that traveled a good 50 yards and Babel’s touch was a wee bit heavy, but was able to pounce and slot it under the keeper and into the net from 6 yards out. Classic long-ball stuff! “Route-one” DOES work when it is played like that! For the rest of the encounter, we made tons of changes, and watched our players suffer through the humidity and extreme rain… making for some significantly ugly football! Babel played well, as did Carragher, and a few of the other lads stepped up and did decently. Glen Johnson had an achilles injury and didn’t play, which would be true for the Singapore match as well. By the end, we were sucker-punched and it finished 1-1. Fair enough. But injuries to Skrtel and El Zhar were the big dampers on the occasion.
The Singapore match had a totally different tune to it. Torres was able to play more, the Gerrard verdict had been settled, our Spanish players came in to the fray, and we absolutely gave them a thrashing. 5-0 could have been more in truth, as at times we were trying to create the perfect goal… a la Arsenal. Dirk Kuyt was playing inspired stuff, grabbing three assists and running the Singapore defense ragged in the second half. Indeed it was the second half where we looked the most potent, with more of our top class players in the action. The first half looked to have ended 0-0, but Andriy Voronin (who looks hungry, I must say) took a shot that took a fortuitous deflection and flew into the net from 25 yards. He did well to set himself up, and deserved the goal with some neat footwork. It was the last kick of the half, and you could tell it relaxed our next unit of players in the second half because we were all guns blazing from the get-go.
It was an avalanche of attacks, and Albert Riera was the one to double the lead. Mascherano’s superb chipped cross was chested down by the Spaniard, who smacked it in from 8 yards at an acute angle through the legs of the keeper. 2-0 signalled mass relief for me watching on, as it meant I could enjoy the action and not worry about yet another pre-season draw. 2-0 quickly became 3-0, with Dirk Kuyt charging down the right side (a theme in this match) and slipping in an unselfish and perfectly-weighted throughball to Kristian Nemeth, who exquisitely slid the ball into the far corner from 12 yards on a one-touch swipe. Classy finish by our Hungarian “resereves-king.” Then it was the turn of Torres, who was the recipient of a quite glorious move from Liverpool. Dani Pacheco started it off with some lovely touches, and found Kuyt in acres of space in the box, and despite being open to take a shot, Kuyt shifted it over to Torres who had nothing but an empty net two yards in front of him. He bundled it in for 4-0, but that goal was all about the team. 4-0 became 5-0 in a 20 minute span where we netted four goals, and this time it was a Nemeth header that was expertly tucked into the net from a pacy Kuyt cross.
So another successful trip to Asia, something that has been good for us in the past (MAJOR money machine!) and is enjoyable for millions of supporters across the globe. All I ask for now is that they come to America, and specifically Seattle, next summer!
Upcoming pre-season matches:
8/5: FC Lyn Oslo
8/8: Atletico Madrid
COME ON YOU REDS!!!