Neil Critchley’s charges kicked off the group stages of the PL International Cup against Villareal yesterday and the result was less than optimal. Having to field a weakened side with 3 regulars out due to injury and a fourth - Portugal youngster Rafael Camacho - out due to having just fulfilled their international obligations (let’s hear it one more time for the terrible, no good international break!), it was always going to be a tall ask for the Young Reds. The result bore that out to be true.
In the span of the first 45 minutes, Villareal carved up Critchley’s squad with precision and intent. And before a quarter of an hour had even been played, the Spanish club hung three goals on the beleaguered Liverpool side. In fact, at the first intermission, the Young Yellow Submariners notched a fourth goal and went into the locker room with a commanding lead.
The second frame wasn’t much different. The thin Red squad looked to have been maxed out and things carried on much the same as they did in the first half. By the close of the full 90 minutes, Villareal would be headed back to Spain as victors in a thorough 7-nil drubbing of Liverpool.
There’s not much more to be said about this match except to note that the lads can only use this harsh lesson as an opportunity to further their individual and collective development. The experience gained in being completely overmatched is invaluable in reminding that not all matches will go the way you plan. Here’s hoping that when the lads lock up with Hertha BSC next month in the second fixture of the PL International Cup, they’ll be able to fold in the lessons learned from this match.