In Thursday’s Melwood Today, we are joined by ThisIsAnfield’s Academy and Reserve team analyst Michael Sweeting who reviews a disheartening night for Liverpool’s youngsters in Portugal as they fell to a 5-1 defeat to Sporting Lisbon in the NextGen Series on Wednesday evening….
Match Review by Michael Sweeting….
Sporting Lisbon 5-1 Liverpool
Liverpool succumbed to a devastating 5-1 defeat against Portuguese youth champions Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday night.
The young Reds held their own in Lisbon for the first 20 minutes as Liverpool looked set up to try and nick a goal on the counter with Conor Coady and Craig Roddan sat deep in midfield.
However, 20 minutes into the game, Raheem Sterling gave away a needless free kick and central defender Edgar lashed it powerfully past a helpless Tyrell Belford.
Liverpool reacted well to going 1-0 down though, with Adam Morgan and Conor Coady both having good chances to equalise but neither managing to take the opportunity. There was also a good chance for Sterling who really should have scored as he went through on goal but put it right into the ‘keepers arms. Sandwiched in between all of these chances was a booking for a Sporting player for diving for a penalty.
Liverpool then came under a period of pressure when Wisdom appeared to handle in the penalty area but the referee did not give the penalty. Belford also made a really good save after Sporting’s winger cut inside and shot.
Minutes later a deep cross by Sporting found their number 10 Chaby free at the back post and he had too much time to place the ball into the far corner. McGiveron nearly conceded an own goal as a cross fired off his shin pads and went wide.
Against the run of play Sterling broke down the left and pulled the cross back to Michael Ngoo who nearly wasted the opportunity but managed to poke the ball under the Sporting goalkeeper and bring Liverpool back into the game at a period when they had gone very flat. Things might have been very different if Sterling wasn’t wrongly flagged offside after he broke one v one with the goalkeeper.
Following the break Liverpool were caught sleeping twice as Smith allowed a cross to come in and a quite remarkable overhead kick by Betinho put Sporting into a comfortable 3-1 lead. A couple of minutes later Betinho got another from a similar cross and Liverpool were floundering at 4-1.
Thankfully from the Reds point of view Sporting then became more interested in breaking the flow of the game than going for more goals and thus ensued a series of pretty vicious challenges and serious amounts of playacting by the Portuguese side, something they surely didn’t have to resort to at 4-1 up.
Silva, Suso and McLaughlin all came on and to be fair all of them played well, in particular Suso who looked a little bit more like the magical 16 year old from a few years ago.
Late on Liverpool tried to apply some pressure but had the air sucked from them as a quick counter attack led to a Sporting striker lobbing Belford from 25 yards.
Liverpool team: Tyrell Belford, Andre Wisdom, Brad Smith, Stephen Sama (Suso), Matty McGiveron, Conor Coady, Raheem Sterling, Craig Roddan (Ryan McLaughlin), Adam Morgan (Toni Silva), Krisztian Adorjan, Michael Ngoo.
Unused subs: Jamie Stephens, Marc Pelosi, Jakob Sokolik.
Michael Sweeting’s Live minute by minute Commentary
1 min – Wisdom is turned and concedes a corner
3 min – Roddan concedes free kick on edge of box
5 min – Wild lunge by Roddan. Yellow card.
6 min – Great, tricky play by Ngoo. Can’t pick out a cross.
7 min – McGiveron lets ball bounce over head and nearly loses ball, recovers.
8 min – Poor header by Sama, Belford came and grabbed it before striker.
Liverpool are very solid defensively but struggling offensively.
9 min – Ngoo gets round full back again, can’t keep ball in
11 min – Smith caught high up field, Sporting counter and shot wide
The stadium only has one stand and the fans are very quiet so speakers are picking up the players talking. Rather amusing comments at times.
15 min – Sporting cross flashes across goal, doesn’t get a touch
15 min – Long run by Ngoo past full back and centre back, should play Morgan in but holds it. Corner. Sama heads wide.
17 min – Sporting striker with a petulant push on Sama.
19 min – Sterling foul on Bruma 30 yards out. Sporting score with powerful free kick by Edgar. Belford no chance. 1-0.
20 min – Morgan had Ngoo, Sterling and Adorjan making breaks. Chose to go alone.
21 min – Ngoo pull back to Adorjan plays in Coady who shoots wide.
Liverpool have reacted well to going 1-0 down.
22 min – Mistake by Smith and McGiveron, striker goes through on Belford. Striker dives, booked by referee.
23 min – Adorjan wins ball back high up field. Morgan plays in Sterling who puts it straight at ‘keeper. Should have scored.
24 min – Morgan shoots from 20 yards. Saved.
27 min – Shot by Lisbon appeared to strike Wisdom’s arm. Not given.
28 min – Belford good save, Smith cleared up.
Coady’s challenges are causing a funny argument audible over the cameras… Englishman saying they fine and Portugese man saying he is reckless. I think his tackling has been fabulous so far.
33 min – Sporting manager Sa Pinto looks furious… no idea why
34 min – Far post cross met by Chaby. Calm finish, no chance for Belford again. 2-0.
Smith and McGiveron are really struggling.
36 min – Winger gets around Sterling, cross hits McGiveron and goes inches wide.
37 min – Betinho rises high but heads over the bar.
38 min – Shot by Bruma, saved by Belford.
Sporting in complete control now. Liverpool have gone flat.
39 min – Against the run of play Liverpool are back in the game. Michael Ngoo gets on the end of Sterling’s cross, turns the defender and fires under the goalkeeper. 2-1.
Ngoo deserved the goal. Has been Liverpool’s best player.
40 min – Sterling goes through 1 on 1 with ‘keeper but flagged offside. If he was, he shouldn’t have been.
41 min – Morgan runs at Sporting defence but is robbed of the ball
42 min – Clever pass by Adorjan nearly put Sterling through but just lacked pace on the pass.
43 min – Smith beaten again, pull back is missed by everyone.
45 min – Half time. Morgan, Ngoo and Roddan appear to having some words of disagreement as they walk to the tunnel.
48 min – Michael Ngoo has made three sliding tackles this half… which is officially three more than I’ve ever seen him do
50 min – Edgar under no pressure handles just 25 yards from own goal. Free kick but leads to nothing.
52 min – Stunning goal by Betinho. Overhead kick met sweetly. Sama should have done better. 3-1.
54 min – Game has deteriorated a bit. Lots of free kicks.
57 min – Teixera shot closed down by Roddan.
58 min – Sterling worked hard and went past 3 players but heavy touch by Morgan
59 min – Belford, not for the first times, claims well from a corner.
60 min – Sub: OFF Morgan, ON Silva
61 min – Another cross comes in, Betinho meets it again. 4-1.
Liverpool sinking without a trace. Not done ourselves justice tonight so far.
64 min – Ngoo wins a header well, links up with Roddan and Roddan goes for the one-two but ‘keeper smothers.
65 min – Sub: OFF Sama, ON McLaughlin
66 min – Toni Silva is booked for an off the ball incident
68 min – Sub: OFF Roddan, ON Suso
Sporting are beginning to dive. No need for it, considering the situation of the game.
70 min – Sterling booked, actually got the ball but Sporting full back screamed very loudly.
71 min – Smith with aimless cross, Suso does well to rescue situation and win throw in
72 min – Massive, fair challenge on Silva by Sporting defender as he looked through on goal
73 min – Ngoo has gone up front on his own. Sporting are making a substitution but who cares?
75 min – A good run by Silva draws the foul. Free kick taken by Suso, Ngoo can’t head goal wards, chance for Sterling, corner. Coady nearly scores a header from the corner.
77 min – Free kick for Liverpool. Sporting players are all holding hands for some reason. Adorjan fires free kick over the bar. Sporting are breaking the game up with silly fouls, stopping Liverpool from getting any momentum.
Suso has done really well since coming on.
80 min – Another fantastic example of playacting by Sporting, McLaughlin never touched him. Referee hasn’t fallen for many of these dives though, credit to him.
81 min – Smith got outstripped but did really well to recover.
83 min – Sporting haven’t done their homework… Ngoo’s unusual dribbling style flummoxes three players yet again. Sterling wastes opportunity.
84 min – Another brilliant goal by Sporting. Lobs Belford from 25 yards. 5-1.
Sterling has been too predictable tonight
87 min – Liverpool had five men overloaded at the back post, Suso couldn’t find them.
89 min – Adorjan looks goal-shy as he opts for a tough pass to Ngoo when he could have shot.
90 min – Free header for Sporting but put wide.
91 min – Coady with good pass, Sterling pulls back for Ngoo but he scuffs the shot.
92 min – FULL TIME: Sporting 5-1 Liverpool
Thursday Morning’s Melwood News Round Up
Suarez to plead not guilty to racism charge
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been charged by the Football Association with racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
An Official LFC Statement
The Club this afternoon received notification from the Football Association of their decision to charge Luis Suarez and will take time to properly review the documentation which has been sent to us.
We will discuss the matter fully with him when he returns from international duty, but he will plead not guilty to the charge and we expect him to request a personal hearing.
Luis remains determined to clear his name of the allegation made against him by Patrice Evra.
The Club remain fully supportive of Luis in this matter.
Aquilani set for Milan stay
Finally, Aquilani looks set to stay in Italy as his agent thinks it is a ‘formality’ that the Liverpool midfielder’s loan move to AC Milan will become permanent with Aquilani impressing as he attempts to reach the 25 appearances required to make Milan offer a contract.
Melwood Today – Your quick round up of some of Liverpool’s essential and not-so-essential news every morning on ThisIsAnfield.com …