Tranmere 0-1 Liverpool (Pre – Season 2008/09)
So there we have it, a one goal not much of a thriller to kick off the start of pre season matches. It was relatively cheap as chips to go to Tranmere (in fact cheaper than a year on the season ticket waiting list) to take my Torres mad 10 year old daughter over for the game.
Having forgotten what a dump Prenton Park actually is (I stewarded the ASDA Kop back in 2001 when we played them in the FA Cup and it was fun to say the least being a red in with all the ‘œPlazzy Scousers!’) Having located a decent greasy spoon just down the road from the ground we proceeded to stuff our faces with some decent grub!
Going in to the ground with some trepidation we had a nose around the picth at who was out and about warming up. Obviously the notable absentees were the Spaniards along with Kuyt, Babel, and Mascherano and what appeared to me was that Carragher was also missing! I search the pitch, looked over to the bench and it seemed Carragher was nowehere to be seen. UNTIL, the little ‘˜un pointed him out, there dad there he is wearing his usual 23 shirt (albeit with no name on!) I admit I had to double take, I did not recognise him at all. Now Carragher has not been fat in previous seasons he was always well built and stocky. However I thought he would get swept away with the slightest wind! Either he has had a bad case of ‘œthe squits’ through the off season or he has been eating even better than usual. He looked lean and during the game even looked a little quicker! The lad is amazing! Upon surveying the whole team in a similar vain, they all looked a little leaner than usual (other than Rafa who has obviously been taking some hints from Sammy Lee!!!) and look good for it.
On saying that, I do hope (as my facebook points out) that Saturday is not a view of things to come. At one point I wanted to go back to the car and slam by head in the door it was that bad! Given Matt’s report on the new UEFA rules, we do not have any real good English lads coming through (other than David Martin (who I would have given as stand in for Pepe this season)) and maybe Jack Hobbs. Whilst it does not worry me too much, it may in the future as it seems that the games governing bodies are trying to move in certain rules regarding the use of foreign players in their competitions.
Mind you, in hindsight I did look back on the game for what it was. A money spinner for Tranmere and little more than a run out in a slightly competitive manner for the Reds. Maybe this weeks games will hold a little more and then the final warm up match on 8th August at Anfield against Lazio will be more of a show.
Damien Plesis did really well I thought against Arsenal last season given the way he was thrown in. However he looked like Momo Sissoko on Saturday with some poor judgement and bad first touch. I will put that down to it being the first game given the way he played at Arsenal.
On a great note were the sights of Benayoun and Pennant playing really well, some good touches and very quick. I like Pennant, I would like to see him stay, he just needs a little more consistency and I reckon if he gets a good run of games then he will do well. Benayoun scored the great goal that won us the game. The young foreign kids did really well also Insua looked quick and willing and Jack Hobbs did quite well also which makes me think he may get a few more FA and League Cup games this season.
Carragher as always looked as sure as ever and as I mentioned earlier a lot leaner. Hyppia came on for the second half and as usual was great. His footballing brain just makes up for his lack of speed and at one point where it looked like Tranmere might break past him, he just stuck his leg in the way and came away with the ball! I Hope he gets a testimonial this season as I for one will be there. He has been a great servant to the club and scored some important goals over the years.
This leads me nicely to Daniel Agger. Poor old Dan! Looks like he is a new boy again. Not kicked a ball in anger for 10 months but seems to have started where he left off. Confident and still moves forward with the ball. He can add so much this season to our efforts and given that in the next few season it looks like it will be him and Skertl as our main 2 at the back, the future there looks good.
My one worry stems from the numbers on the players backs. They did not have names on which is understandable but they did appear to be wearing their squad numbers. Or at least so I though. Hyppia had 4, Carra 23, Gerrard 8, Benayoun 15, Pennant 16. However there was a little Danny Murphy lookalike whose name escapes me wearing the number 14 shirt! Now we all know Xabi is number 14 and I really hope I am just putting 2 + 2 together to equal 5! I love Xabi (in a completely manly footballing way) and it worries me that someone else was playing in his number. I really do not want him to go and if todays reports are to believed he does not want to go. However seeing this has got me thinking. I do not want Barry at the expense of Alonso. They would be good in the same team. Alonso for his skill and Barry for his power.
As the game got a little more depressing the crowd entertained themselves with chants of ‘œWe’re gonna bounce in a minute, bounce in a miiiiiiiiiinute!’ then launching into the Torres song. Then some Traneme ‘˜buffoon’ started mouthing off from the Johnny King stand so everyone turned on him! It had to be seen to be believed. ‘œYou got your top from Matalan’ was one of the nicer songs sang to him! 5 minutes from the final whistle, only he will know if he actually got a phone call but he walked out with his mobile to his ear to chants of ‘œbye bye’ and 3000 waves!
All in all it was a nice day out (bar the match!) and it took some 80 minutes before the Anti Yank chants started. And so they should, we are still in the mire, At no point has either of them mentioned money for Rafa to get some decent targets. Also, as I mentioned in my previous article and I think everyone agrees, the work on the new stadium starts when heavy machinery moves in, not when 15 blokes with spades and a mini digger put a few planks of wood up! Even Rick Parry did not escape without a little hassle from the crowd.
Biggest cheer (as was probably expected) came for Gerrard when he came on around the 70 minute mark and the pace did change up a little. It pains me to say but unless we get very close this season, I can see him leaving. Not for another Premiership team but abroad. Sadly I can see alot of our best going too. We MUST win something, even if it is just the League Cup.
My final message is to Gillett & Hicks, sell up now, you will get your money back at least. You carry on the way you are, you will lose more than just the respect. Of the fans. You will lose your money (I would say investment but you have in vested sweet FA) and your little British plaything.