Trabzonspor 1 – Liverpool 2 Thursday 26th August 2010 (Aggregate 1-3)
Finally we can breathe a sigh of relief as we have qualified for the Europe League proper after coming from behind against Trabzonspor to score 2 crucial away goals to see off the Turks in a rather turgid, torpid game.
We were without a number of key players in this contest: there was no Gerrard, no Torres, no Maxi, no Mascherano, and no Jovanovic so a number of fringe players got a chance in this game: Kgyriakos, Kelly, Poulsen etc. David Ngog, who was the lone striker in this line-up with Poulsen and Lucas shoring up the midfield and Kuyt and Cole on the wings, with Cole supporting NGog as a secondary striker.
It was also pissing it down in Trabzon and was also very humid which would have been fine for the Turks, but not so great for us. There was also the fact that Trabzonspor had not lost at their own ground this year to contend with, and the fact that their fans totally outweighed the number of Liverpool fans in the ground. A few had braved the journey to Trabzon (90 hard core LFC fans) though so it could be said that we were up against it this match.
The first half was quite bad for us, with Trabzonspor having much of the possession and the game, and them taking the lead after just four minutes when Dirk Kuyt uncharacteristically lost possession, and we didn’t really create any chances of any great merit to test their keeper after that, when we were able to get possession of the ball, which wasn’t as often as we would have liked.
Once again it took us till the second half to really get our game going, and then it took a little while of the second half before we started making inroads into the game. I was ready for, and expecting extra time and even penalties the way the game was going after about 80 minutes before we finally broke the deadlock and got the crucial goal that we needed. Then we started to play with fluidity and got the second goal that made sure that the tie was going our way.
To be honest Trabzonspor had quite a good game, and could easily have got a couple of more goals in the first half which would have made our winning the tie almost impossible but a few errant final touches meant that Trabzonspor never really threatened our goal much after they took the lead in the match, but potentially they could have done. I am just thankful that nothing much of any note happened for them before we got back into the game just before the end of the match.
It may have been a bit scrappy, but a win’s and win and we are now in the pot for the Europa League draw tomorrow and it will be interesting to see who we get paired with in the group stages.
Until then bring on the Baggies!
Liverpool : Reina, Johnson, Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Carra, Aurelio, Lucas, Poulsen, Kuyt, Cole, Ngog; Subs : Gulacsi, Pacheco, Babel, Spearing, Shelvey, Skrtel, Eccleston.