Liverpool fell to a heavy defeat at the hands of Espanyol in the first game at the new Estadi CornellÃ -El Prat on Sunday night.
On their return to Europe after two games in South East Asia, the Reds lined-up with a stronger line-up than seen before in their preparations for the 2009/10 campaign.
In came the likes of Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres to the starting line-up, whilst new Â£17.5million signing Glen Johnson made his first appearance at right-back for the club with Emiliano Insua starting on the left.
But it was a tired performance from Liverpool who fell behind after 19 minutes when Luis Garcia ‘“ not OUR Luis Garcia ‘“ put the home team ahead with a cool finish past Reina.
Steven Gerrard hit the post with a curling free-kick moments later, whilst Espanyol continued to dominate possession and comfortably control the game.
Rafa Benitez changed things round in the second half, introducing Philipp Degen, Andrea Dossena, Jay Spearing and Ryan Babel at the break.
But there was little change to the game.
Espanyol continued to press Liverpool and the Reds found it increasingly frustrating to break down the strong Spanish defence.
Ben Sahar doubled Espanyol’s lead just after the hour mark, sliding home Jose Callejon’s low cross.
Andriy Voronin, Damien Plessis, Albert Riera and David Ngog, along with Xabi Alonso made late appearances for the Reds but the damage was inflicted further with six minutes to go ‘“ Sahar adding a third following Reina’s save from a Ferran Corominas effort on goal.
Liverpool now travel to Norway to play FC Lyn in Oslo on Wednesday night, before the final pre-season friendly of the preparations at Anfield against Athletico Madrid on Saturday.
The new Premier League season gets underway in less than 2 weeks.
Team Line-ups & Stats
Liverpool: Reina, Insua, Carragher, San Jose Dominguez, Johnson, Benayoun, Mascherano, Leiva, Kuyt, Gerrard (captain), Torres. Subs – Alonso, Plessis, Kelly, Cavalieri, Dossena, Ngog, Riera, Degen, Babel, Voronin, Spearing.
Espanyol: Kameni, Garcia, Pareja, Gonzalez (captain), Pillud, Garcia, De La Pena, Hurtado Perez, Nakamura, Tamudu, Alonso Vallejo. Subs – Alvarez, Chica Torres, Corominas, Callejon, Ruiz, Roncaglia, Verdu, Marquez, Sahar, Lola Smijlanic, Rossello.