Andriy Voronin was on target again as Liverpool drew 1-1 with Polish side Wisla Krakow in Switzerland on Saturday evening.
New signing Andrea Dossena made his debut at left back and played 60 minutes. Youngster Stephen Darby also started at right back as he got a chance to impress.
Steven Gerrard did not play after leaving the Reds’ training camp to have treatment on a groin injury he sustained this week, he will also miss next weeks friendly with Hertha Berlin on Tuesday.
Voronin, who has been linked with a move to Hamburg, scored his second goal of the Reds’ Swiss tour, opening the scoring in the sixth minute from close range at the second attempt after the keeper had parried his first shot from a Benayoun cross.
But the Polish side equalised just five minutes later with a good goal on the counter attack.
Match Report by Michael Sinnerton
The third game of Liverpool’s pre-season promised to be the toughest so far, as they facing the Polish champions, Wisla Krakow, just one week before their season began. As is usual with these pre-season games the match began at a slow pace but as befits Liverpool’s warm-ups so far they took an early lead. Just six minutes had passed when their first meaningful attack of the game led to Andriy Voronin slotting home. A nice one-two between Lucas and Babel led to the ball ricocheting straight to Benayoun who took advantage of his luck to play in Voronin first time. Six yards out, it took the Ukrainian two bites of the cherry to score, as he made no mistake following up his initial effort which had been well saved. Another pre-season game, another early lead but once again Liverpool’s lead did not last. Wisla had looked fairly threatening in the early stages, comfortable on the ball and a danger from set pieces. Three quick passes down the right led to Jirsak side footing home the equaliser after just eleven minutes. The goal was extremely well worked although some questions have been raised about Dossena’s positioning, perhaps worrying signs for Liverpool fans given Phillip Degen’s performance against Lucerne.
Both teams were trying to get the ball down and play a quick passing game with Voronin and Babel linking up well with Benayoun down the right. Similarly intricate passing between the Krakow front two led to a decent effort flying just over Cavalieri’s crossbar. Seconds later Voronin should have restored the lead when he managed to capitalise on a terrible defensive error before aiming a weak shot too close to the keeper who managed to tip the ball round the post. The temperature (26Â°C) seemed to be having an effect on the game being played at a leisurely pace with the next real chance not created until almost the 29th minute, when Krakow were unlucky to have a goal disallowed from offside. A long corner was nodded back towards goal and prodded home but the linesman’s flag went up despite Benayoun’s presence in the six-yard box. The Poles continued to press hitting the post on the 35th minute when the ball was flicked on from an in-swinging free kick. Promising attacks were initiated by first Voronin and then Babel to give Benitez more positives from a scrappy half.
Half time brought six changes, which unfortunately led to Liverpool struggling to find any sort of attacking rhythm early in the half with Krakow doing the more enterprising attacking. Just before the hour mark though some good play in the midfield saw Aurelio released on the left, his carefully measured ball on was met by Benayoun on the slide only for the Israeli’s effort to be hooked brilliantly off the line. Unfortunately the last half and hour generally lacked quality with rare glimpses from Kuyt, Pennant and the youngster Pacheco. Whilst Rafa will have been happy to have had a slightly tougher test and more game time, I was left slightly worried as to the lack of depth in quality available with Leto in particular looking out of his depth.
Team: Cavalieri (Martin 70), Darby (Hobbs 70), Dossena (Insua 63), Agger (Skrtel 45), Carragher (Hyypia 45), Plessis (Spearing 45), Lucas (Mascherano 45), Leto (Aurelio 45), Benayoun (Pacheco 63), Babel (Pennant 45), Voronin (Kuyt 70).
Back in England on Saturday, a Liverpool reserve team lost 4-1 at Peterborough, highly rated Gerardo Bruna on target for the Reds. Liverpool Reserves: Oldfield, Kelly, Mackay-Steven, Kelemen, Antwi, Irwin, Crowther, Flynn, Lindfield, Eccleston, Bruna. Subs: Huth, Duyan, Ode, Poloskei, Kacaniiklic, Brouwer.