Fans the real winner as Liverpool defeat Indonesia XI 2-0

Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool started their pre-season tour with a 2-0 victory against Indonesia XI at the Gelora Bung Karno National Stadium in Jakarta.

Goals from Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling on either side of the break ensured a two-goal victory for the English side but the real winners were the Indonesian fans who transformed the stadium into a second Anfield for their favourite team. The players must have felt that they were surrounded by the magical Kop on all sides as Indonesian fans cheered each and every piece of action throughout the match.

All the new signings this season were handed a starting place as Steven Gerrard marked his return from injury in a line-up that also featured Mignolet, Johnson, Enrique, Agger, Toure, Lucas, Alberto, Downing, Coutinho and Aspas. Playing in their third strip of purple, white and black, Liverpool took the lead in the 9th minute as Philippe Coutinho continued his magic run of form with the opening goal. Having got lucky with the ball deflecting towards him off an Indonesian player, he pounced on the chance and calmly slotted the ball home past the hapless goalkeeper. Liverpool were reintroduced to their nemesis Mr. Woodwork in the 30th minute as Luis Alberto latched onto an Aspas pass, shifted the ball and rattled the crossbar with a fierce strike. Minutes later, Sergio Van Dijk almost equalised for the Indonesians as his thunderous long-ranger was saved brilliantly by Simon Mignolet. 

Titus Bonai looked impressive for the Indonesians as his pacey forays into the Liverpool half troubled the defenders still catching up on their fitness. The tempo of the match, especially in the first half, was probably a bit slower than the previous pre-season match against Preston North End but the hot and humid weather conditions were more to blame than lack of progress on the fitness front. Steven Gerrard looked a bit rusty with a few wayward passes in the early parts of the match but the fans should not be worried as there is still a long time to go till the first competitive match kicks off.

Brendan Rodgers made two changes at half-time with Joe Allen replacing Steven Gerrard and Jack Robinson replacing Jose Enrique at left back. There was a flurry of action as Iago Aspas almost latched onto a golden chance minutes after the restart but the linesman flagged him offside. He was then betrayed by the bounce of the ball a few minutes later as he beat the Indonesian defensive line, rounded the goalkeeper but struck the ball high over the crossbar when the ball wobbled just as he was about to pull the trigger. Rodgers then made eight more substitutions as the remaining outfield players from the first half were replaced by Kelly, Skrtel, Wisdom, Henderson, Ibe, Assaidi, Sterling and Borini. 

The introduction of fresh legs notched up the tempo of the match as Raheem Stering and Jordon Ibe pressed into the offensive. Their efforts were rewarded with three minutes of normal time remaining when Raheem Sterling tapped in from an unselfish Assaidi pass after some good work down the left from Jordon Ibe. The seventeen year old winger has looked good in the two pre-season matches so far and it remains to be seen how he fares in the competitive fixtures when Brendan Rodgers offers him the opportunity to do so.

The Reds’ next match on tour is against Australian A-League side Melbourne Victory at the legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on the 24th of July, 2013.

Graphics courtesy: Dean Jones via CC


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