Young Boys 3-5 Liverpool Match Report
Liverpool’s first match in the Europa League group stages was a trip to Switzerland to face Young Boys in a tricky away match for the Anfield side. With one eye on Sunday’s clash with Manchester United, Brendan Rodgers took a very young squad to Switzerland.
With first team regulars like Gerrard, Reina, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson and Suarez being left at home, Brendan Rodgers fielded a very young side. Experienced players like Carragher, Enrique, Downing were complimented by youngsters making their debuts, Assaidi, Suso and Andre Wisdom at right-back. Sahin and Jordan Henderson were handed another chance to impress Brendan Rodgers.
Although Liverpool started the match with an unfamiliar line-up, the passing style of the team was still the same as the men from Anfield set out to pass their way to victory.
Passing, moving, stopping and turning, Rodgers’ men stunned the home side with a combination of subtle movement and precise passing to carve an opening. The ball found its way out to Stewart Downing on the right flank and he burst towards the byline and whipped a cross into the centre where Juhani Ojala turned the ball past his own ‘keeper for 1-0.
Moments later the home side responded when Raul Bobadilla sprung the offside trap and latched onto a perfectly-weighted pass over the top of the Liverpool back four but Jones pushed his vicious effort into the side netting and behind.
Assaidi shot wide via a deflection after Pacheco found him down the left wing. Just after the half-hour mark, Jose Enrique bustled Zarate to the floor and the Greek referee Michael Koukoulakis indicated the player had been fouled outside the box, much to the frustration of the home crowd. However, the danger passed for Liverpool when Alexander Farnerud put too much power on his attempted cross and the ball sailed over Jones’ crossbar.
Suso almost doubled Liverpool’s lead when he burst into the box leaving defenders in his wake, but instead of shooting, the youngster tried to cut the ball back to a team-mate.
Moments later, Young Boys drew level. Enrique took control of a loose ball inside a packed penalty area but the full-back took one touch too many as the opposition closed in around him and the Spaniard could only clear to Raphael Nuzzolo, who fired home for 1-1.
But the celebrations of the raucous home support lasted for just two minutes as Wisdom wrote his name into the Liverpool history books by becoming the Reds’ fourth-youngest European goalscorer when he slammed home a towering header.
Liverpool took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room at the interval. But Young Boys responded in the second half by applying all the pressure as Liverpool’s defence battled against a series of onslaughts.
The home side got their reward when Bobadilla whipped a fine cross into the area towards Ojala, the defender made amends for his earlier error by ducking in behind Coates and diverting the ball past Jones to equalise with a fine header.
Moments later, Young Boys took the lead for the first time when Bobadilla used his strength to barge Jamie Carragher off the ball before outmanoeuvring the advancing Suso and threading the play into the path of Zarate. His pace took him away from Enrique and when Jones rushed out to meet him, the attacker lofted the ball beyond the ‘keeper with a delicate chip.
Rodgers brought on Borini and Shelvey in the second half and they made a huge impact. Borini won a corner in response to Liverpool falling behind for the first time in the match.
The ball was swung in from the right and Coates was head and shoulders above the Young Boys defence to power a header home as Borini tried to get on the end of it.
In an enthralling contest with both teams going for the win. it was Liverpool who grabbed the lead again, when Borini played a low pass across the penalty area to Jordan Henderson, who tapped the ball back into the path of Shelvey and the midfielder side-footed home for 4-3.
Shelvey wasn’t done there, however, and he wrapped up the win with a late drive to put the seal on a memorable night’s work in Switzerland.
Rodgers gambled by leaving so many regulars at home, but he got away with it, just. Great experience for the youngsters who Rodgers put his faith in, and they didn’t let him down. Assaidi showed flashes of his potential, and Suso showed what he is capable of with some confident runs and passes. Pacheco worked his socks in an unfamiliar role. Andre Wisdom looked a regular at right-back and capped off a superb performance with a tremendous goal. Jordan Henderson impressed in the middle of midfield with good passing and amazing workrate. Disappointing to lose so many goals as Liverpool continue to have problems in defence. Enrique had a nightmare and looks a totally different player to the one that started last season. Borini made a huge impact when he came on as substitute, but was upstaged by Shelvey who came on to score two brilliant goals and looks certain to start against Manchester United on Saturday. A great win away from home in Europe and to score five goals is very encouraging.