Liverpool vs. Olympiakos: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2013

Liverpool cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Olympiakos in Steven Gerrard's testimonial on Saturday afternoon.

The win continues what has been a very positive preseason from the Reds. They got their business done very quickly, and the fringe and younger players look ready to fight for spots next season.

With this being a testimonial, some of the past stars came out to celebrate the storied career of Gerrard. One of those stars was the recently-retired Jamie Carragher.

Liverpool were firmly on the front foot to start the match and stayed there for the rest of the 90 minutes.

They started very well, with Iago Aspas and Joe Allen in particular regularly getting forward in attacking positions. Aspas was playing the target man role superbly, holding up the ball and creating chances for his teammates.

After squandering a golden opportunity to score in the 23rd minute, just seconds later Allen got the first goal of the match. Aspas sent in a nice low cross across the box and Allen was there with a tap-in.

Liverpool tweeted out a picture of the celebration.

Much of the first half involved Allen getting forward but failing to finish off good chances. The Liverpool Echo had a nice comparison.

As a midfielder, you don't expect Allen to have the best touch in front of goal, so it was actually encouraging how well he was moving around the pitch. He seemed liberated by having Lucas sitting deep and then Gerrard playing in a more central role as well.

Gerrard tried his best to get himself a testimonial goal in the first half, but he was limited to long-range efforts only. The 33-year-old did a very good job of spraying passes across the pitch from midfield but, sadly for him, there would be no magic of 2005 here.

Some of the focus was inevitably going to be on Luis Suarez whose future is very much up in the air. The Daily Mail's Dominic King thought the supporters were trying to do everything they could to make the Uruguayan stay when he was subbed on in the 62nd minute.

However, the Daily Telegraph's Paul Hayward wondered why the fans would cheer Suarez, given he could force the club's hand to sell him very soon.

In the 63rd minute, Jordan Henderson put Liverpool up 2-0 with virtually his first touch of the ball after coming on as a sub. Henderson got himself on the end of a perfectly-weighted pass from Raheem Sterling and then chipped the keeper. It was a nice bit of finishing from Henderson and Sterling deserved his assist for his good, all-round play up until then.

Gerrard again got in on the goal celebration, via Liverpool's official Twitter account.

In the 73rd minute, Robbie Fowler stepped back on to the pitch in a Liverpool shirt. No matter how old Fowler gets, supporters will always get a rush when he dons that famous red shirt. As the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce pointed out, it's been a long time since supporters have seen that.

The match ended 2-0 and those who had filled Anfield may feel a little let down by the result itself. Gerrard wasn't able to get his goal and the Reds should have probably won by a much larger margin. Still, a win's a win and the club will be able to build on this.

Plus, the match itself was a very good celebration of Gerrard's sterling Liverpool career. No matter what the scoreline could have been, this was always going to be an enjoyable day for players and supporters alike.


Key Player Grades

Iago Aspas: A-

Iago Aspas was massive in this match, doing everything you could have expected of him. He was running at the defence and holding up play when necessary.

Liverpool are unlikely to have bought Aspas with the idea in mind that he'd score 20-25 goals a season. Instead, he can be more of a secondary striker and help out Luis Suarez or Daniel Sturridge. Aspas looked exactly like that kind of player on Saturday.


Joe Allen: B+

Joe Allen was one of the bigger disappointments from last season. He came from Swansea on a fairly big fee with a lot of expectations, but failed to make much of an impact.

With a healthy Lucas on the pitch, Allen should be able to play much more forward, which would suit him very well. Allen looked great on Saturday, even if his finishing was a bit off.


Steven Gerrard: A+

This one is mostly a sentimental grade. Gerrard had a good game, but it never really mattered how well he did on the pitch. This testimonial was all about celebrating his career and everything he has done for Liverpool.

Gerrard will unquestionably be remembered as one of the best players in the club's history and many will probably put him ahead of Kenny Dalglish. Either way, this was a great day for every supporter of Liverpool and undoubtedly brought up a lot of great memories.


Liverpool Team Grades

Simon Mignolet (off '84)C+
Jose EnriqueB
Kolo Toure (off '62)B-
Daniel AggerB
Glen JohnsonC+
Joe Allen (off '62)B+
Steven Gerrard (off '84)A+
Coutinho (off '73)B+
Raheem Sterling (off '73)A-
Iago Aspas (off '62)A-
Luis SuarezC+
Jordan HendersonB
Jamie CarragherC+
Luis AlbertoC+
Robbie FowlerC+
Brad JonesINC
Jay SpearingINC


Olympiakos Team Grades

Balasz MegyeriB-
Giannis Maniatis (off '75)C+
Ljubomir FejsaC
Kostas Mitroglou (off '58)C
Andreas Samaris (off '46)C
Jose HolebasB-
Carl Medjani (off '58)C
Dimitris Siovas (off '75)C
Joel Campbell (off '75)C+
Leandro Salino (off '46)C
Alejandro Dominguez (off '58)C
Vladimír WeissB-
Anastasios PapazoglouC+
Javier SaviolaC+
Paulo MachadoC
Avraam PapadopulosC
Dimitris DiamantakosC+
Charalambos LykogiannisC+


What's Next

Liverpool have two more friendlies before they start their Premier League campaign. The Reds take on Norwegian club Valerenga on August 7 and then Celtic on August 10. On August 17, Liverpool take on Stoke City in their first EPL match.

Olympiakos have their first Greek Super League match on August 19 when their opponents are Kalloni.


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