Reds in Reserve: Liverpool 0 Man City 1

Posted by AdamS on August 9, 2004, 10:15:33 PM

I was quite excited about doing my first Liverpool Reserves match report. In preparation I nicked a pen from work and went to the local Co-Op where I bought a notepad for 39p. Unfortunately, that was about as good as it got!

On an evening so hot and sticky that your head itches and your balls feel like they are webbing your legs, I was extremely disappointed to find that when I reached the ground half an hour before kick-off there was no beer for sale. The admission price of just £3 did sweet the lick a bit though.

The game was set against a strange backdrop. Not only were Liverpool Reserves playing their home matches in Wales, but they were playing them at the ground of a club today given 10 days to find £1m or face administration. Among the 987 fans declared (more like 1500 I think) was Kevin Keegan who was looking very well.

The sides:

Liverpool

1. Patrice Luzi
2. Jon Ostemobor
3. Chris Butler
4. James Smith
5. Igor Biscan
6. Daniel O'Donnell
7. Danny Guthrie
8. John Welsh
9. Conal Platt
10. Mark Smyth
11. Robbie Foy

12. Ryan Wilkie
13. Paul Harrison
14. Lee Peltier
15. Karl Noon
16. Danny Smith

Man City

1. Kasper Schmeichel
2. Willo (?) Flood
3. Stephen Jordan
4. Nedum Onuocha
5. Paddy McCarthy
6. Mikkel Bischoff
7. Lee Croft
8. Christian Negouia
9. Bradley Wright-Phillips (bizarrely called Wright-Smith on the team sheet)
10. Stephen Ireland
11. Trevor Sinclair

12. Nathan D'Laryea
13. Lawrence Matthewson
14. Jonathan D'Laryea
15. Marc Llaird

The ref blew and the reserve season had started!

After 3 minutes Otsemobor was sucked inside leaving space for City to attack down their left. No damage was done and Biscan somewhat messily tidied up! JO's positional sense tonight was at times poor at other times dreadful and City created a few opportunities by attacking his area. A few minutes later we saw the first touches of Wright-Phillips for City, like his half-brother he is confident, fast and tricky although he is about 8 inches taller. He was fouled by Smythe near the half way line and continued to be a thorn in Liverpool's side all night. He looks a very promising player indeed.

Sinclair stood out with every touch he had and after some trickery on the left wing, he swung in a teasing cross that flicked off a blue head for a blue corner. Hmmm. The corner was half cleared by the Liverpool melee to Steven Jordan who's well struck volley sailed harmlessly wide.

Almost immediately City won the ball back (or rather Liverpool gave it away) and Wright-Phillips was through on goal. Luzi read it well and was quickly forward to claim it as he slid to the edge of his box.

City were more composed from the off and this was evident when everyone inside the ground heard Welsh giving Foy a bollocking for a hospital pass. In fairness to Foy he ran and ran all night, but he needs to take a deep breath and calm down - he still seems very raw at times.

Liverpool got their first cross of the match in on 20 minutes, it flicked off Biscan and behind for a corner (so we were level on that score). From the corner Otsemobor tried an overhead kick but mis-timed his effort. City broke up field and Luzi was again alert to claim the ball at the edge of his box.

In the 25th minute City were pushing again, Danny O'Donnell cleared a dangerous City cross behind goal and from the resulting corner Liverpool looked panicky as they managed to scramble clear.

A cross by Jordan was then just missed by Wright-Phillips but as City managed to keep the pressure on the ball fell nicely to Jordan who blazed over. As Flood came forward from right back he slipped and Butler picked the ball up and charged forward with real intent, his ball to Foy wasn't great though and his shot from the angle was charged down. Foy took the corner and although Schmeichel Junior missed it City cleared.

Wright-Phillips was again in the thick of it on 33 minutes. He wriggled through a gap after the ball fell kindly to him in the box and from six yards out should have done better. Actually that may be harsh because the save that Luzi pulled off was absolutely top drawer.

As Liverpool moved forward from the back the ever ready Foy managed to sneak a yard on his man, he did well to run across him and as Flood tried to get back, he tripped Foy and was booked. Welsh paid Floor back a few minutes later, but in finer style as he solidly blocked a Flood shot from just inside the Liverpool area.

Just before half time we saw the unbelievable sight of Igor trying to lob the keeper from a free kick in his own half (is he beginning to believe his own headlines?). The keeper caught the ball, though the ref wasn't ready and the free-kick was retaken bringing the half to a close.

At half time Liverpool had been rubbish and City (if I'm honest) had been pretty impressive. I was however reassured by the group of 6 or 7 year olds who were saying "Liverpool's just getting warmed up mate that's all!"

At the beginning of the second half City took off Stephen Ireland who had been impressive but lacked the final ball & brought on Jonathan Laryea. Almost immediately Wright-Phillips was in the action again, judged offside as Sinclair put him through - there can't have been much in it.

As Liverpool went forward a breaking Foy could have been better fed by Smyth, but he left him a bit short and Foy's shot was blocked.

The giant that is Christian Negouai (he must be six foot six and looks like Zeus who used to be in the American Wrestling) then strode forward and hit a fairly harmless shot along the grass and straight at Luzi. A few moment later and City made a flowing move from one side of the pitch to the other. Wright-Phillips fed Flood coming forward from right back and he whipped in a cross which Negouai easily nodded home - 1-0 to City 55 minutes gone!

Still it was City in the ascendancy and Sinclair had a very powerful shot from 25 yards blocked by the.. er... lower abdomen of Danny O'Donnell. Then Paddy McCarthy headed straight into the arms of Luzi after a City set-piece midway inside the Liverpool half.

Liverpool were totally flat at this stage. Between the midfield and the forwards there was only really Foy who was doing anything & he was trying to do too much. He had a quick turn and shot from 30 yards that went well wide. Biscan couldn't have looked less interested! Perhaps he thinks he's too good to be playing alongside these players now; perhaps he thinks he's already caught Rafa's eye. I don't know but I was very disappointed in him tonight considering the rave reviews he's been getting so far this pre-season. He needs to prove his worth and when Liverpool needed him tonight he was AWOL.

70 minutes Sinclair off Llaird on
76 minutes Butler & Platt off Peltier and Wilkie on.

These changes gave Liverpool some momentary impetus and Foy turned brilliantly and was very unlucky not to be through on goal. He followed that up with a couple of twist too many inside the box when a snapshot may have done after the ball was slid in from the left.

The last ten minutes were more encouraging overall. Peltier looked very comfortable and Danny O'Donnell stirred the lads by rather loudly questioning the sides will to win. this seemed to fire the team (especially Welsh), Wilkie having a shot from 25 yards and some hard tackles going in. However even in this period City could have scored again, the irrepressible Wright-Phillips having another attempt cleared off the line by James Smith and Luzi lucky to get away with a cheeky flick over WP's head.

It was one of those games tonight that unfortunately anyone who has been to Anfield over the last couple of season will relate to. City just had too much - too much pace, too much fitness, too much sense, too much experience! Liverpool just lacked! Sure there were flashes, there were small moments to get excited about, but we just lacked a bit in every area. Perhaps an ALT or a FSP would have made all the difference - this was a very young Liverpool side, but to not have a shot on target in the whole game is very disappointing.

And that was that. I consoled myself with a kebab on the way home (they don't taste the same when your sober do they) and the fact that I get my monthly wages in less than two hours (and oh how I need them).

I hope my future reports will be more optimistic and with more players available I'm sure they will be.

MOM:  Bradley Wright-Smith
MOM (For Liverpool): Danny O'Donnell

Final Score: Liverpool 0 - 1 Man City

© AdamS 2004

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