Liverpool 4 Steaua Bucharest 1
When the team sheet was announced and there was no Torres, Gerrard, Carragher and Johnson on the team sheet, it almost seemed to a lot of people that Roy wasn’t really taking this game seriously, but what people are forgetting that the majority of the eleven players who started tonight’s game are full internationals (Reina, Cole, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Babel, Maxi, Meireles) and are all good enough (or should be) to play for Liverpool in both the league and in Europe and domestic competitions.
I was perfectly happy with the squad today, Joe Cole was back and Raul Meireles was making his full debut for the side so I was hoping for great things from this match and sure enough we took the lead after only 30 seconds with a brilliantly taken goal by Joe Cole, and you can tell how pleased he was at getting off the mark for his new club.
I hope that will settle Cole down, as will getting back to playing in the league after his suspension and we will see the real Joe Cole, that we have only had glimpses of at the moment.
Meireles wasn’t bad in his first start for the club, buy you can tell he is a little bit rusty, which only more games will sort out, but I reckon that if he partnered Gerrard in the middle then it could be a very formidable partnership indeed as he is a very different player to Poulsen who gives you other options in the middle of the park.
I’m afraid that Ryan Babel didn’t really do much during the game, which isn’t really helping his case for more regular football, especially when Lucas came on and did more in five minutes than he did in ninety and boy was that a scorcher that Lucas scored. I hope that this proves once and for all that Lucas is not a holding midfielder, as how much better is he when he is left to roam forward like he was when he came on today?
David N’Gog continued his remarkable scoring record in the Europa League in this game, and is really turning into a great striker, who now seems ready to be an alternative to Fernando Torres and can get you goals.
I will admit that we started the game well but it didn’t take Steaua long to get back in the game and for large parts of the first half they seemed to be bossing the game, and we were guilty of losing possession an awful lot when we had it.
In fact Steaua could very easily have gone into half-time ahead, which would have put an entirely different complexion on the game. Luckily for us half time came and, as is becoming increasingly common, we came out in the second half a better team and started to boss the game once more, and eventually ran out clear winners which certainly didn’t seem to be the case at half time (whatever Roy says at half time certainly does the trick) when Steaua seemed to be the team in the ascendance.
Liverpool: Reina (c), Kelly, Konchesky, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Babel, Maxi, Meireles, Spearing, Ngog, Cole. Subs: Jones, Johnson, Lucas, Carragher, Pacheco, Shelvey, Eccleston.