Liverpool 0 - Porto 2

Reds underwhelm in preseason outing.

Today saw a the culmination of the Steel Park cup. A friendly tournament played over the weekend featuring youth sides from PSV, Porto and Liverpool and the senior Vanarama conference side Corby Town FC. Hosted at Corby's Steel Park stadium the weekend culminated in today's fixture between Mchael Beale's stardust sprinkled youth side and their Portuguse counterparts. Previous results saw Corby draw 1-1 with Porto, a 3-3 thriller between LFC and PSV before an early kick off today in which PSV brushed aside a plucky Corby town 3-0.

The big news of course was the inclusion of two first team players in the Liverpool team for the final fixture. General consensus amoung the locals was that Can and Coutinhos selection were equal parts bringing them up to speed for fitness purposes and efforts by the host club to boost flagging ticket sales. Costs for flights for the two Continental teams ran in excess of £10,000. Either way the announcement had the desired effect and this writer was compelled to battle through hangover and family commitments to attend.

It has to be said that surroundings were as strange as they sound. Corby's previous footballing high water mark was being the last club that Jason Lee turned out for in his career, but all the same here we were taking snaps of Phil and Emre warming up with their youthful teammates whilst Corby FM's radio funbus blasted out 'love will tear us apart'.

Soon it was time to take our seats, with rain and wind battering the stands, for kick off. But not before one last piece of confusing surrealism. Taking the decision to make the teams stand for national anthems I'm not sure what the organising committee expected but LFC's 2 Spaniards, 1 German, 1 Brazilian, 1 Irish, 1 Frenchman and Turk awkwardness at God Save The Queen probably wasn't it.

Whistle blew, here we go, my match notes....

  • setting up in a 433
  • Vigeroux, McLaughlin, Paez, Whelan, Hart, Can, Branagan (c), Coutinho, Dunn, Yesil, Canos
  • Can very clearly in the deep lying DM role with Coutinho and Branagan the shuttlers
  • Early goal for Yesil, but ruled out for offside
  • Counting on showing some nice touches, nutmegs one, through ball for Yesil, offside again
  • Can looks leggy, hmmmm
  • Coutinho shoots wide...nearly a throw
  • Dunn shoots over and hits the top of the James Ashworth VC Memorial stand
  • Porto get a corner fired in, header, GOAL
  • Can really poor touches, this isn't going to plan
  • Coutinho caught late by Agu, sharp intake of breath, Phil has his shirt, exchange of words, A SHOVE!, Can weighs in with a shove of his own, ITS KICKING OFF!, ref calms it down, no cards...Can looked the most interested he has been so far
  • Another break, Whelan slips falls on ball, Handball, Penalty....Harsh. Paneka finish from the Porto player. 2-0
  • A hefty clearance smashes a spectators umbrella inside out and draws the biggest cheer of the afternoon so far
halftime- the most obvious point of note from the half was how much Can struggled, off pace, poor touches and generally did not appear interested. Not sure he can be ready in time for Stoke on this basis. Phil was better, some nice touches in the middle of the field. I genuinely felt sorry for Branagan as captain, it was clear the two parachuted stars disrupted the teams flow and his position was undermined somewhat. If that were Connor Randall next to him rather than Emre he would have definitely gotten and earful. It also transpired that we were sitting next to Tom Brewitt's father and brother (u18 captain and CB) who was scheduled for minutes later in the I began to get paranoid about the social conventions of how to deal with him coming on and having a stinker. It was also getting very cold and the rain was still hammering down...a cup of tea barely staving off the elements for 5 minutes

second half-
  • Can, Coutinho and Yesil off for Philips, Randall and Sinclair
  • Porto hit post, Dunn goes close
  • LFC look a little more composed
  • Sinclair creates a couples of chances out of long balls
  • Porto soaking up pressure though and never really look concerned, Agu no. 46 starting to run the show, a bit like Carvalho at the u21s, man against boys
  • Here it comes, Brewitt is on, tension in our row mounts, sticks in a good challenge and an very over enthusiastic "well in" from me seems to have please Brewitt snr and we can all breath again
  • It really is getting cold now
  • A flurry of corners, nothing doing
  • Good save Vigeroux
  • One more chance, misses everyone in the box
  • That's it
In summary, an odd day and one in which expectations were unfairly raised by an over excited crowd and ultimately a bit of fitness for these players. Phil looks ok, but faded fast, Can needs more time for sure before he can get real starts. None of the youths look to have been unfairly left out of the Asia tour, though young Brewitt was very composed and a vocal presence at the back, probably too small to be a Top CB.

it really is cold now, and wet. There's a table, replete with soaked tablecloth and a tiny trophy ready for presentation to the PSV team after winning on is staying to watch

Please make any posts here geared towards creating discussion. Any works that are copied and pasted from other sites will be deleted. This isn't a place to advertise services or your blog, it's an extension of our site. Please treat it as such.

In This FanPost