Liverpool’s pre-season schedule took them to Turkey for a much tougher fixture in the build up to the new season. Turkey don’t do friendlies and this would be a good test for Liverpool as they move ever closer to the new season. Liverpool have fond memories of Istanbul and tonight they would face one of their heroes from that memorable night in the shape of Milan Baros.
Kenny opted for a very young looking side with Flanagan, Kelly, Robinson and Shelvey starting the match complimented by more experience with Cole and Poulsen and Kyrgiakos acting as captain for the night. Andy Carroll starting up front in his build up to match fitness with newly returned Insua and Degen also starting alongside new signing Doni keeping goal.
No friendly atmosphere for Liverpool inside the Turk Telekom Arena which I’m sure came as no surprise to the Reds as this new stadium opened in January is in the Guinness Book of World Records for generating the loudest noise at a sports stadium.
Galatasaray fired up by their passionate support almost scored inside the first minute as former Red Baros stabbed a shot just wide of Doni’s post. Moments later Turan looped a header just wide of target as Liverpool were under intense pressure from the off.
It was no surprise that Galatasaray took the lead on 8 minutes when Baros slammed home a low cross from the right with Liverpool’s defence all over the place. With the hosts totally dominant and Liverpool trying to keep the score at 1-0 they could only muster a wayward long range effort from Carroll as an attacking threat.
Doni then had to make a good save from a Baros header as the home side continued to threaten. Then on 36 minutes Kelly missed a glorious chance from 6 yards out after a good header by Kyrgiakos, the linesman’s flag spared his blushes.
Doni had to make another good stop turning a Turan shot round the post. But Doni was helpless as Baros made it 2-0 four minutes before the break when he headed in at the back post after a near post flick from a corner. It was just what the home side deserved from their dominant display. Shelvey was unlucky with a long range effort as the half ended.
Dalglish rang the changes at half-time bringing on Jones, Kuyt and Aqualani and Liverpool responded with a better start to the second half with Carroll having a headed effort saved by Ceylan. Aqualani was unlucky with his shot being well saved by Ceylan after good work from Kuyt down the right.
Liverpool probed throughout the second half without looking threatening as Galatasaray’s pace dropped from the first half. Galatasaray capped off a fine win when former Bolton striker Elmander volleyed a stunning goal from the edge of the box with four minutes to go.
The team selected for this match had me worried and my fears were realised inside ten minutes of the match. I can’t criticise Dalglish for giving everybody in the squad a chance to prove themselves this pre-season, but with only a couple more fixtures to go until the season starts I think he should be playing his first team and getting those players match fit. The likes of Degen, Insua and Poulsen are just not good enough unless he was using them in a shop window last night, but I think any customers would be put of with that showing. Never mind its only a friendly and I am sure Kenny will get it right when the season starts and we will see a different team on Monday night in Norway.
Man of the Match – Kuyt – made a big difference in the second half as he tried to lift the side and created a few chances. Such an important player for us.
written by Jamie McLaughlin website at www.anfieldnews.com