The Reds slipped to a 1-0 defeat in a pre-season friendly with Borussia Moenchengladbach in Germany on Sunday afternoon. The German club arranged the clash as part of their 110th anniversary celebrations and given the bond between the two sets of supporters that stretches back nearly four decades, Liverpool were more than fitting opposition.
Moenchengladbach were eager to put on a show for their home crowd and duly opened the scoring on eight minutes as Karim Matmour capitalised on a defensive error to score. Fans from both teams lined up to create a guard of honour for the players entering the impressive Borussia Park arena, before Gerry Marsden delivered a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone that will live long in the memory for everyone privileged enough to be amongst the near-60,000 crowd.
Moenchengladbach made the breakthrough in the eighth minute when Matmour took full advantage of some sloppy play by Daniel Ayala. The youngster collected possession from Cavalieri inside the area, but his first touch was heavy under pressure and was punished by a powerful finish by the onrushing Borussia No.40. The goal appeared to stun the Reds, who had dominated possession prior to conceding. Die Fohlen were looking menacing and the visitors were afforded a let off when Matmour completely missed his kick when well positioned.
Liverpool fashioned their first chance of note on 56 minutes as Cole’s low drive from distance was parried by substitute goalkeeper Christofer Heimeroth. Nathan Eccleston was on hand to collect the rebound, but the youngster couldn’t profit as Die Fohlen recovered.
With the clock ticking down, Hodgson handed Sterling and Suso senior bows, while fellow substitute David Amoo narrowly glanced a header wide of the post – but the hosts were good value for their win.
And though the Reds were unable to spoil Borussia’s anniversary festivities, Hodgson will have been highly encouraged by a number of his players’ performances – both old and new alike.
I was able to talk with Joe Cole and Danny Wilson. Alas Stevie, Jamie and Glen didn’t want to talk but I’ve snaps with them and that’s priceless. :-9
Here what Joy, Roy and Danny said after the match. Lovely lads!
„It was a good workout for the young players, to experience playing in front of such a full stadium. And it was good fitness for myself as well. It was actually a tough one, because I’ve had some weeks off and played 65 minutes here. It was good fitness.”
“It was a tough but also a lovely game. I enjoyed it very much. To hear the fans singing “ YNWA” was amazing. It certainly will be even more amazing to hear the Liverpool fans singing the song on Thursday at Anfield, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
“I enjoyed to watch the young lads playing. We certainly have talents in the team; those are good lads and today they have had the opportunity to play for a couple of minutes and to show that.”
“It was great to finally play next to Stevie in a red Liverpool shirt, and I’m looking forward to play alongside Fernando Torres.”
“It was my debut in the red shirt, but on Thursday there is going to be the “real” debut at Anfield, and I’m looking forward to it”.
“It was only a friendly match, and obviously both teams weren’t fully fit. But it was a good training, and the result doesn’t really matter.”
“Borussia played very well, organized and compact. But we also showed very a good spirit and I am satisfied. Maybe not with result, because you obviously always want to win, but with the team’s performance.”
“In Kaiserslautern there were only 20.000 people in the stadium, and here there were almost 52.000, so this means that the match did mean something to the fans in M’gladbach, and this fact just satisfies you.”
“Also for the young lads it was important to play for a couple of minutes in front of such a big crowd, and to get the feeling how it is.”
“It was my international debut for Liverpool in here and I really enjoyed it. I know I won’t play on Thursday against Rabotnicki, so I was glad to get the chance to play here. And to play in front of this crowd was also an experience I enjoyed a lot.”
“It was a tough match. Borussia is a good team, and we struggled to break through … We also made a couple of mistakes here and there which didn’t help us to score a goal but in overall it was ok. It was a good practice and I’m glad I was a part of it.”
“I didn’t have time to explore Liverpool yet, because of trainings and preparations, but I think it is a nice city.”
“I didn’t set big goals for myself, because I know I won’t be part of every match. I just enjoyed it today, and I’ll be enjoying every minute I’ll be able to play, so that’s it. Yeah.”
I had a big time (and did some publicity for EOTK as you can see :-9) and more photos are coming soon, when I get back from Liverpool. I can’t wait it and I’ll rock the city! :-9