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Luis Suarez helps Liverpool beat Melbourne Victory 2-0 at the MCG

News 24 Jul 2013, 20:14 IST
Melbourne Victory v Liverpool

Luis Suarez of Liverpool gestures during the match between the Melbourne Victory and Liverpool at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 24, 2013

All eyes were on the bench when Liverpool took the field against Melbourne Victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as Luis Suarez turned up to participate in his first pre-season game for Liverpool.

The striker has been the subject of a courageous bid from Premier League opponents Arsenal who offered £40m plus £1 in add-ons to the purpose of evoking some agitation from the striker even as Liverpool swiftly rejected the bid.

Meanwhile, Liverpool’s trip to Melbourne was a festive affair as 95,000 fans filled the cricket ground to watch the Merseyside club play on their soil for the first time. The noise was hair-raising when one of the more louder renditions of “You’ll never walk alone” was delivered at the stadium.

Liverpool lined up as expected with Suarez on the bench and Gerrard taking the field. Brad Jones started in the goal with Wisdom and Skrtel forming the pillar of defense at the back. Steven Gerrard, Henderson and Allen formed the midfield whereas Borini, Sterling and Ibe formed the three man forward line.

Liverpool began in a steady fashion stringing passes together but without considerable penetration before Melbourne Victory managed to intercept a few balls to usher in a period of nothingness. That spell was broken by Steven Gerrard, who received a Joe Allen pass from 35 yards that was perhaps intended for Borini, went comfortably past Melbourne victory stopper Coe who had been resilient so far.

It was a classic Gerrard run who anticipated a possible opportunity appearing from nowhere to net the ball and more importantly, to allow Liverpool to take control of the game.

Liverpool’s defense has not conceded any goals in the pre-season campaign so far but they looked suspect against Indonesia and were all the more vulnerable against Melbourne.

Skrtel and Wisdom did not have much understanding between them as they looked at each other when balls were threaded through but thankfully they did not come to any harm.

The mid-field showed glimpses of brilliance as Henderson continues to grow in confidence but they were not able to establish complete domination.

There were a few nerves as Liverpool failed to close out the game for much of  the first half. Luis Suarez came on the field after the hour mark to loud applause and what appeared to be a standing ovation. The Liverpool supporters at Indonesia had also held up posters urging him not to leave Liverpool.

Suarez, however, came on after a shake-hand with the manager and put in a decent performance, escaping into little spaces and threatening in the box. He completed the job for Liverpool, providing an assist for Iago Aspas as Liverpool closed the game at 2-0.

He did not seem too happy about his involvement with the affair and that is not a good sign for the club. Arsenal might raise their bid once again – reportedly taking it closer to the £50m mark including add-on’s – but that is unlikely to move Liverpool as that is not the ‘drastic’ move Liverpool are hoping for.

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