Thailand 1-1 Liverpool

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Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by the Thailand national side in Bangkok in front of a sell-out stadium of adoring fans who had all turned up to watch their heroes from Anfield in action.

The big news was that Xabi Alonso was not included in the starting line-up or subs bench and some reports suggest the Spanish midfielder withdrew from the game to pursue his big money move to Real Madrid.

Liverpool started brightly, with good link-up play up front between Nemeth, Ngog and Babel.

It was Babel that got the Reds’ only goal of the game after just six minutes. A great long ball from the back by Jamie Carragher found the Dutchman on the edge of the area. Babel controlled the ball well in his stride and stuck it cooly into the bottom left hand corner past the advancing Thai keeper.

Babel could have made it two later in the half when Dirk Kuyt found him with a cross from the right lurking in the box, but it was slightly too high for the 22-year-old winger.

The second half saw a string of substitutions for Liverpool, including the introduction of new £17.5million summer signing Glen Johnson ‘“ who again played left-back, and Javier Mascherano.

Worryingly within the first ten minutes of the second half, both Martin Skrtel and Nabil El Zahr were taken off injured. Skrtel appeared to have a problem with his hamstring.

Chances were very few and far between in the second half but for another headed chance that went begging for Babel.

Thailand took advantage of this by executing a well worked move to equalise with 18 minutes to go. A clever one-two in the centre of midfield eluded the Liverpool defence and the Thai’s number 17 was sent through on goal, calmly finishing past second half Reds keeper Gulacsi.

Late on in the half a string of Spanish players were introduced with Pepe Reina, Albert Riera and Fernando Torres coming on for the last ten minutes.

Torres immediately made and impact, going close with a shot from the egde of the area and a bullet header. He also worked well with Andriy Voronin on a couple of occasions, who seemed to raise his game after Voronin’s introduction.

In the dying seconds, Johnson went close with a strong effort from the left side.

Rafa Benitez now takes his team south to Singapore for Sunday’s friendly in the final game of the South-East Asia tour.

Liverpool: Cavalieri, Insua, Carragher (captain), Agger, Degen, Babel, Plessis, Leiva, Kuyt, Nemeth, Ngog. Subs – Spearing, Dossena, Johnson, Riera, El Zhar, Pacheco, Torres, Arbeloa, Voronin, Mascherano, Skrtel

Thailand: Hathairattanakool, Saiwaeo, Phanrit, Samana, Sukha, Vachiraban, Nuchnum, Sukha, Viwatchaichok, Thonglao (captain), Dangda. Subs – Rawangpa, Rangsiyo, Boonmatoon, Lang, Kawin, Sutee, Winothai, Lahso, Choeichiu, Sunthornpit

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