Liverpool’s second-string proved themselves as they got the Reds’ Europa League campaign off to a win.
David Ngog continued his impressive start to the season with two more goals, Joe Cole scored his first for the club and Lucas Leiva came on to hit a super strike from 20 yards.
Only 25,605 turned out at Anfield for the match against Romanian opposition in Europe’s inferior competition as rumours of more financial strife off the field plagued the fans at Liverpool.
Those arriving late would have missed the opening goal, Joe Cole scoring his first for Liverpool within 30 seconds. The attacking midfielder was back in the team following his domestic ban and capatalised on a poor back pass to open up and slot home past the keeper into the far corner.
That goal should have settled Hodgson’s side, despite star names Gerrard, Carragher and Torres being rested. It didn’t and Steaua equalised on 13 minutes. Tanese finishing well at the Kop end after a good through ball.
The rest of the half saw some sloppy play, noted by midfielder Jay Spearing’s call to “pick it up” which was heard around the stadium and met by a round of applause.
The second half did see Hodgson’s side pick it up, with Spearing enjoying a great game in the middle.
A somewhat dubious penalty, awarded for a foul on Kyrgiakos from a corner, gave David Ngog the opportunity to continue his good start to the season. The Frenchman stepped up and perfectly dispatched the ball into the side netting. Joe Cole didn’t put himself forward to take it after his miss against Trabszonspor!
Midfielder Raul Meireles, making his full debut after arriving from Porto last month, almost marked his good performance with a shot from 25 yards.
Lucas Leiva replaced Ryan Babel on 78 minutes and within minutes hit a super strike from outside the box. The much maligned Brazilian’s touch took the ball away from him but he ran onto the ball and duly fired past the keeper.
Ngog made it five goals in five European games this season when finishing well from the edge of the box in injury time and gave the scoreline a gloss that didn’t look likely at half-time.
Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Konchesky, Spearing, Meireles, Maxi (Pacheco 85), Cole (Eccleston 88), Babel (Lucas 78), Ngog
Subs not used: Jones, Carragher, Johnson, Shelvey.
Referee: Cesar Muniz Fernandez
Other group K result: Napoli 0-0 Utrecht