Gonzales on target in win
New boy Mark Gonzalez was on target for the Reds as a Liverpool XI beat Lincoln 2-1 at Sincil Bank in a game arranged as part of the transfer agreement that saw Jack Hobbs move to Anfield last summer.
With the likes of Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard on international duty, the Reds took the opportunity to help improve the match fitness of a number of players returning from injury.
Robbie Fowler enjoyed an impressive first half alongside Gonzalez and Fabio Aurelio while Neil Mellor made his long-awaited comeback during the second-half.
After Gonzalez had given Liverpool an early lead, Besian Idrizaj added a second during an exciting first-half. Ryan Semple grabbed Lincoln’s goal late into the game.
In the first 45 minutes both Fowler and Gonzalez might have scored hat-tricks. Some of Fowler’s passing was Jari Litmanen esque at times and Gonzalez caught the eye with some brilliant dribbling. Brazilian Aurelio has the type of left foot you could open a can of beans with, and some of his passing in the first half was right out of the top drawer and rightly earned the applause of the healthy near 10,000 crowd.
Former Imp Hobbs was given the honour of captaining the Reds on his return to Sincil Bank.
The Imps have made a good start to their League Two season winning twice and drawing once under head coach John Schofield, and they gave a good account of themselves.
New Liverpool Reserve team manager Gary Ablett took charge of the Reds for the first time and Rafael Benitez watched from the stands.
Liverpool made a good start to the game and Gonzalez came close to a goal in the opening 45 seconds when he combined with Aurelio before shooting off target.
Fowler then had two great chances when he headed wide from a corner then fired over the bar from close range following a neat one-two with Idrizaj.
Gonzalez then went on a mazy dribble that ended with a shot inches wide before the Chile international opened the scoring after 19 minutes.
The Reds number 11 latched onto Aurelio’s wonderfully measured through ball and then fired the ball beyond the reach of the Imps keeper Alan Marriott into the back of the net.
Idrizaj made it 2-0 just before the break when he followed up after Godwin Antwi had struck the bar with a firm header.
With Fowler, Gonzalez, Aurelio and Jan Kromkamp making way in the second half the likes of Warnock and Adam Hammill were given their chance to impress. Hammill was a lively figure and minutes after entering the field was so unlucky to see his fierce drive superbly turned away by Simon Rayner.
Lincoln pulled a goal back after 65 minutes when Ryan Semple capitalised on hesitation in the Reds defence to score.
Mellor then made his comeback from injury and might have scored a hat-trick himself when he hit the post and was twice denied by fine saves from Rayner.
Overall it was a superb evening’s entertainment and for former Imp Hobbs back at Sincil Bank it was an emotional night.
Lincoln City: Marriott (Rayner 30), Amoo (Foster 45), Moses (Clarke 45), Cryan, Mayo, Frecklington (Watt 45), Kerr, Semple (King 68), Warlow (Sherlock 45), Gritton, Ryan.
Liverpool: Martin, Kromkamp (Roque 45), Aurelio (Warnock 45), Antwi (Smith 62), Hobbs, Diao, Anderson (Barratt 76), Peltier, Fowler (Hammill 4), Idrizaj (Mellor 62), Gonzalez (Guthrie 45).