Liverpool 2-3 Udinese Match Report
Liverpool were hoping to build on their good win against Young Boys and strengthen their position in their tough Europa League Group against Udinese at Anfield. Udinese would pose a tough test for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers’ youngsters.
Rodgers made a few changes from the side that defeated Norwich at the weekend with a mix of youth and experience. Reina, Allen, Johnson, Carragher and Downing added the experience alongside Robinson, Coates, Shelvey, Henderson, Assaidi and Borini.
In the first eight minutes the Udinese goal had been threatened by Oussama Assaidi following a dart into the box; Shelvey with a shot from range; and Coates with a header that he should have directed beyond Zeljko Brkic.
Both sides pressed hard, and that made for a lively opening, with Udinese clearly not arriving at Anfield to sit back. On 14 minutes Pepe Reina had to be at his very best to stop a Medhi Benatia header breaching the Kop goal. His low, reflex save was one for the scrapbook.
Liverpool deservedly took the lead in the 23rd minute when Shelvey headed into the Udinese net from a Downing cross, sending the Kop wild with delight.
As the half progressed, Udinese found themselves increasingly starved of possession, but within 30 seconds of the restart the scores were level as the visitors played Liverpool at their own game. Udinese weaved the ball beautifully through the home defence and when half-time substitute Andrea Lazzari’s cross came in, Di Natale had timed his run perfectly to finish beyond Reina from 12 yards.
Liverpool’s response wasn’t emphatic. On 61 minutes Downing drove himself into the box and tried a one-two with Fabio Borini. The final pass got caught underneath the Englishman’s feet. Seconds later Henderson had a low shot blocked.
Rodgers decided to act, replacing Assaidi and Henderson with Gerrard and Suarez for the final 25 minutes.
The lively Downing looked to instigate another opportunity with a run down the left, outpacing his man only to be comically grappled to the floor. A red card wouldn’t have been unwarranted. Instead Giampiero Pinzi received a yellow and was swiftly substituted.
Suarez collected possession from the resulting free-kick, directing a shot goalwards only to see it blocked by Shelvey.
Then, in two crazy minutes, the Reds were ambushed. First on 70 minutes when the otherwise superb Coates headed a Udinese free-kick past his own goalkeeper, then when Pasquale thumped beyond Reina from outside the box. Anfield was hushed.
Liverpool looked dead and buried, but Suarez directed a brilliant free-kick into the top corner to make it 3-2 and breathe new life into Liverpool.
Moments later Suarez had a header saved from close range and Sterling went close on a couple of occasions but for all Liverpool’s efforts they were left frustrated as the match ended 3-2 in favour of the visitors.
A disappointing result to a pulsating performance from a team blended with youth and experience. The first half saw some tremendous Liverpool possession but only a 1-0 lead to show for their efforts. The second half Liverpool were stunned right at the start and lost their way for about 20 minutes and also lost the game in that time. The response was pleasing after falling behind 3-1 and Liverpool were unlucky not to take a point from the game as they pressured the Udinese goal. For me Coates is improving in every game, I thought he was outstanding and even his own goal can’t take the gloss off his performance. Poor result but plenty of positives to take from the game.