It wasn't a dominant performance on the scoreboard, but Liverpool came away with its second friendly victory in as many tries on Saturday as The Reds beat Indonesia XI by a score of 2-0, according to Liverpool FC's official Twitter account:
The atmosphere was excellent from the start at Stadion Utama Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta, Indonesia. While Indonesia obviously had its fair share of support, the Liverpool fans were red-hot prior to the match and showed their support by singing the team's anthem, as seen in this video courtesy of Liverpool's Instagram account.
Although star striker Luis Suarez wasn't present for the match (his status remains in question), Liverpool put forth a very strong starting XI against Indonesia:
Confirmed #LFC team v Indonesia XI: Mignolet, Johnson, Enrique, Agger, Toure, Lucas, Gerrard, Alberto, Downing, Coutinho, Aspas.— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 20, 2013
Not surprisingly, Liverpool was in complete control in the first half, as The Reds dominated possession and took the play to Indonesia. The Garuda struggled mightily to sustain pressure aside from a moment or two, as they had to deal with Liverpool's attack constantly.
Liverpool fans didn't have to wait long for a breakthrough, as the Reds got on the board in the 10th minute thanks to a goal from midfielder Philippe Coutinho:
The skilled Brazilian had luck on his side as Indonesia failed to clear the ball. It hit Coutinho's body and settled down immediately, which allowed Coutinho to run into the box and finish beautifully past a sprawled-out Indonesian goalkeeper.
While Liverpool continued to take charge of the pace, it wasn't until the 32nd minute that they created another dangerous scoring chance. This time it was all Luis Alberto's doing, as he put the ball to his right foot at the edge of the box and fired a cracking strike that hit the crossbar:
Indonesia came back soon after with its only true opportunity of the half. Striker Sergio van Dijk was feeling ambitious, as he ventured a shot from about 25 yards out. Van Dijk struck it very well, but Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was up to the task, diving to deflect it wide of the net.
Neither team was able to do much after that, though, as the first half ended with Liverpool ahead by a score of 1-0:
The second half started slowly, but Liverpool striker Iago Aspas nearly put his squad up by two roughly 10 minutes in. He busted past the Indonesian defense and had Indonesia's goalkeeper out of position, but the ball bounced up on him, which prompted him to fire wildly off the target despite having a partially open net at his disposal.
Liverpool continued to press forward throughout the second half, but it was unable to net another goal. It wasn't until Indonesia became desperate to score that Liverpool was able to extend its lead. A trio of Liverpool substitutes broke out on a three-on-none counterattack, which resulted in Raheem Sterling finishing an Oussama Assaidi pass into an open net.
It was a fantastic showing of unselfishness from Assaidi, and it was a well-deserved marker for the Reds, as they thoroughly dominated the match. Even though they struggled to finish for the most part, the Reds appeared to be in midseason form, which is all Liverpool supporters can ask for at this point.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool): A
After scoring in Liverpool's opening friendly against Preston, Coutinho kept the momentum moving positively in the right direction, scoring just 10 minutes into Saturday's match. Coutinho seems to have a knack for scoring early in matches, which is something that will undoubtedly help the Reds when EPL play begins.
Even aside from the goal, Coutinho looked dangerous and confident during his time on the pitch. It can be argued that his goal was a bit lucky since the ball came right to him, but great scorers make their own breaks. He was in the right place at the right time, and he was rewarded for it. Coutinho has displayed his nose for the net through two matches, and the Liverpool faithful have to be impressed.
Sergio van Dijk (Indonesia): B
Indonesia didn't exactly put much pressure on Liverpool throughout the match, but van Dijk was easily the squad's most threatening player. He very nearly tied the match late in the second half with a long blast that Mignolet had to be very careful with. Had that shot had a bit more air under it, perhaps Indonesia could have pulled off a draw or even a win.
There weren't many Indonesian players who looked particularly strong on Saturday, but at least van Dijk generated some offense and gave Liverpool a nervous moment.
Luis Alberto (Liverpool): A-
After spending last season with the Barcelona B squad, Luis Alberto appears ready for EPL competition. Most of Liverpool's attackers played quite well, and that was the case with Alberto. He found himself in scoring areas on several occasions, and he may have had the best shot of the match when his blast hit the crossbar in the first half.
Alberto wasn't rewarded for his excellent play in terms of making it on the scoresheet, but his showing was very promising. It is unclear what the future holds for Suarez at Anfield, but perhaps Luis Alberto is a guy who can step up and produce if he ultimately leaves.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool): C+
It has been a few months since Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was last on the pitch after undergoing shoulder surgery, but he made his triumphant return on Saturday. Although Gerrard was far from his best, it was nice to see him playing. He received a huge reaction from the crowd and played just one half of soccer. He should be nearing top form over the next few weeks.
Gerrard deferred to many of his younger teammates when it came to generating offensive chances, as he just made the simple plays and tried to get himself acclimated. Gerrard was simply average in this match, but he'll surely get better the more he plays.
|Daniel Agger (66')||CB||B|
|Jose Enrique (46')||RB||B+|
|Lucas Leiva (65')||DM||B-|
|Steven Gerrard (46')||DM||C+|
|Philippe Coutinho (83')||AM||A|
|Stewart Downing (83')||AM||B|
|Iago Aspas (66')||ST||A-|
|Joe Allen (46')||DM||B-|
|Jack Robinson (46')||RB||B|
|Jordan Henderson (65')||DM||B-|
|Fabio Borini (66')||ST||C+|
|Andre Wisdom (66')||CB||C+|
|Oussama Assaidi (83')||AM||A-|
|Raheem Sterling (83')||AM||A-|
|Muhammad Roby (71')||CB||B-|
|Hasyim Kipuw (77')||RB||C|
|Ahmad Bustomi (82')||DM||D+|
|Vendry Mofu (65')||AM||C+|
|Sergio van Dijk (56')||ST||B|
|Boaz Solossa (56')||ST||C+|
|Rizky Pellu (65')||AM||C-|
|Ferdinand Sinaga (71')||CB||C|
|Yustinus Pae (77')||RB||C|
|Achmad Jufrianto (82')||DM||C|
Who was the Man of the Match?
With two wins down, Liverpool will proceed with its friendly schedule in the coming days and weeks. The Reds are set to take on Melbourne Victory on Wednesday before matches against the likes of Thailand, Olympiacos, Valerenga and Celtic. Once those matches are completed, Liverpool will begin its EPL season against Stoke City on Aug. 17.
The Reds already appear to be prepared for the upcoming season, but they will have a few more warm-up matches to ensure that all of the rust is knocked off by Aug. 17. It's difficult to judge how a team will fare based on friendly matches, but Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has to be thrilled with what he has seen thus far.
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