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
- 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