Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Saturday July 20 2013
The Reds make it two wins from two in pre-season with a hard-fought victory over an Indonesia XI in Jakarta...
Liverpool started their summer tour of Indonesia, Australia and Thailand this afternoon with a well deserved 2-0 win over an Indonesia XI.
Played in hot and humid conditions, and on a poor playing surface, the friendly proved to be a good workout for Brendan Rodgers' squad.
The Reds had the ball in the back of the net after only eight minutes but Iago Aspas' neat back heel was correctly ruled out for off-side against Glen Johnson who had centred the ball from the right flank.
Two minutes later and the Reds were on the scoresheet for real through Philippe Coutinho; the Brazilian taking advantage of a ricochet to go clear and slot the ball past Kurnia Meiga from close range.
At the other end Liverpool's new shot stopper Simon Mignolet did well to advance from goal and punch clear as the hosts threatened. Slack marking from the resulting corner allowed Titus Bonai a free header but fortunately for the visitors the effort went high and wide.
The Indonesians began to threaten more as the half wore on with their pacy attack a persistent threat in-behind the Liverpool rearguard.
The next decent opening fell to the Reds though and followed great work down the left by Jose Enrique. The Spaniard's dangerous cross evaded Apas but broke for the on-rushing Stewart Downing who prodded towards goal but straight at the keeper.
Moments later, on the half-hour mark, Luis Alberto showed the technical ability which persuaded Rodgers to part with almost £7million for his services recently.
The former Sevilla man made space for himself on the edge of the area with a drop of the shoulder before striking the crossbar with a brilliant effort from distance.
Sergio Van Dijk followed suit for Indonesia with a powerful shot from range which produced an impressive diving stop from Mignolet.
On the verge of half-time, Victor Igbonefo almost headed into his own net when attempting to block a speculative attempt from Aspas but the ball flew agonisingly wide.
The Indonesians enjoyed much more possession at the start of the second-half but continued to struggle to create clear-cut chances from open play.
Not a problem for the Merseysiders though with Aspas having a good sight of goal soon after the restart but a shocking bobble played a part in the 25-year-old slicing his shot well wide.
No such excuse could be provided by Coutinho however when he curled an effort over shortly afterwards following good link-up play between the ex-Inter Milan man and Aspas.
Jack Robinson, on for Enrique at the break, then tested Meiga with a low drive while, in a worrying repeat of a first-half corner, Indonesia wasted another unmarked heading opportunity.
As expected a host of substitutions were soon made but rather than causing a disjointed period in play they actually provided Liverpool with renewed energy and purpose.
Fabio Borini, one of eight Liverpool players to enter the game as a 65th minute replacement, produced an airshot which allowed the ball to run to Raheem Sterling whose impressive swivelled volley struck the crossbar.
Shortly afterwards Jordan Ibe headed onto the roof of the net and then, with the game now into it's final 15 minutes, Sterling went close again by hitting the side-netting after latching onto a Jordan Henderson pass.
A deserved second goal finally arrived three minutes from time when a brilliant counter-attacking run from Ibe allowed Oussama Assaidi to setup Sterling for a simple tap-in.
A very good workout for Liverpool and although they never hit the heights of the 4-0 win over Preston North End last weekend the conditions and pitch should take some of the responsibility. The four new signings showed further evidence of their quality and, as at Deepdale, youthful speedsters Sterling and Ibe were a big threat. Some nervy moments at the back will hopefully be ironed out before Stoke visit Anfield on the opening day of the new season. Next up is Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.
Mignolet, Johnson (Kelly 65'), Agger (Skrtel 65'), Toure (Wisdom 65'), Enrique (Robinson 46'), Lucas (Henderson 65'), Gerrard (Allen 46'), Alberto (Assaidi 65'), Downing (Ibe 65'), Coutinho (Sterling 65'), Aspas (Borini 65').
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Date:Saturday July 20 2013
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