Liverpool vs. Melbourne Victory: Score, Analysis and Post-Match Reaction
Liverpool continued its perfect preseason, winning its third game in as many tries, 2-0, against Melbourne Victory. Steven Gerrard and Iago Aspas scored for the Reds.
Liverpool had the first really promising chance in the sixth minute. Gerrard played a ball over the top to Raheem Sterling, but the winger had a hard time controlling the ball, eventually sending a looping volley attempt past the post.
Connor Pain and Andrew Nabbout would pop up in dangerous positions for Victory in the first 20 minutes, but neither could truly trouble Liverpool keeper Bradley Jones.
And then the Gerrard show really began.
In the 21st minute, the dangerous midfielder ripped a shot from distance that took a deflection but was deftly saved by Victory keeper Nathan Coe. But 10 minutes later, he wouldn't be denied.
Joe Allen played a ball down the middle of the pitch, which the pessimist would say was an off-target pass for Fabio Borini and the optimist would say was dummied by Borini before finding an onrushing Gerrard in the box, who smashed home the game's first goal.
Minutes later, Borini would see his effort from about 25 yards sail over the bar.
Gerrard nearly got a brace in the 36th minute. After Jordon Ibe raced toward the goal and ripped a shot, the Coe save deflected right to Gerrard. But the ball was on him quickly and at a difficult height to corral, and Gerrard could only push his attempt over the bar.
Gerrard was a busy man in the first half, pushing a shot over the bar again in the 45th minute. The game would go to the half with Liverpool leading 1-0.
Liverpool wasted little time putting on the pressure in the second half. Gerrard's corner in the 47th minute found Martin Skrtel's head, but the defender's attempt on goal was pushed over the bar by Coe.
Pain would make the Liverpool keeper work in the 60th minute, striking a dipping and diving attempt that initially sent Jones the wrong way before he recovered and made an impressive save. It was a bit of a wake-up call for Liverpool, as Victory nearly struck on the counterattack after Borini had himself an effort on goal.
And then, in the 72nd minute, the man who has spent more time in the papers than on the pitch, Luis Suarez, entered the match. And as you might expect, he had an impact.
In stoppage time, Suarez took a short corner, brilliantly wiggled himself into space and sent a blistering centering feed to Aspas, who easily deflected the ball home for Liverpool's second goal.
Aspas will get credit for the goal, but it was all about Suarez on this one. Will it be his last assist at the club?
Man of the Match: Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
Raheem Sterling was solid throughout, and Borini played really well in the second half, but it was all about Gerrard while he was on the pitch.
He could have easily had two goals and nearly set up another, proving once again that when he's on his game he remains Liverpool's most valuable player not named Luis Suarez. In other words, he'll likely soon be Liverpool's most valuable player.
Liverpool will next face Thailand on July 28, before rounding out its preseason friendly schedule against Olympiacos (Aug. 3), Valerenga (Aug. 7) and Celtic (Aug. 10).
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