After The Match 


Espanyol-Liverpool 3-0 (1-0)          2.8.09               PS-friendly
Goals: Garcia (19), Sahar (64, 87)
Team: Reina, Johnson (Degen 46), Carragher (Kelly 83), San Jose, Insua (Dossena 46), Mascherano (Spearing 46, Alonso 84), Lucas (Plessis 70), Kuyt (Riera 70), Gerrard (Voronin 70), Benayoun (Babel 46), Torres (Ngog 70)
Not used: Cavalieri
Yellow: Lucas (34), Carragher (38), Macherano (42)     Pareja (26)
Red: None
Referee:  Xavier Fernandez
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Blocked shots:
Fouls conceded:

not pressing and working together..."
Rafael Benitez
0408: Results donít matter
          but lack of sharpness will do

0208: Rafa: We did not do enough
0208: Reds tumble to Espanyol defeat


Results donít matter
but lack of sharpness will do

Comment by Mark Lawrenson - Liverpool Daily Post

Thereís only one thing worse than playing in a 3-0 defeat Ė not playing in it. So itís not the result against Espanyol that should give anyone cause for concern ahead of the new season Ė itís the fact that Jamie Carragher might not have one of his main defensive partners alongside him to take on Tottenhamís strikeforce a week on Sunday.

Itís typical that in the summer Liverpool let Sami Hyypia go that injuries to Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger have disrupted the pre-season preparations.

It seems that Agger will be okay for the beginning of the campaign which is a relief. But pre-season is like your revision Ė you need it to be ready for the tough examination. If you donít do it, you struggle.

And having an experienced, established centre-back who is fully on his game and ready for the real business of the Premier League is vital.

Put two such defenders on the sidelines during those precious weeks of pre-season and suddenly White Hart Lane in less than two weeks time looks a very tough proposition.

At least Carragher will have no problems Ė in fact, he will be out of the traps like a greyhound after the amount of running he has had to do in these friendlies.

But even if Agger recovers as he is expected to, missing such a good test like the one Espanyol gave Liverpool on Sunday night is so unfortunate.

You donít want your players to come in and play catch-up at the start of a season and I think Rafael Benitez can count himself unlucky to have injury concerns before the campaign has even started.

The fact is Degen and San Jose are unproven and neither can deliver the kind of automatic reliability you got when you could bring Hyypia in to plug the gaps at the back.

But letsís look at things positively. Benitez is currently going about solving his issues very well, especially in the case of Xabi Alonso.

I said here last week how important it was to get the cash in for the player as swiftly as possible and getting close to a conclusion of the deal with four weeks of the transfer window left is a good bit of business.

And one thing is also for certain Ė losing 3-0 to Espanyol in a pre-season friendly should not cause Benitez or anyone else sleepless nights.

I remember at Anfield that we always used to be notorious bad starters in the summer warm-ups - and the lads in the boot room couldnít have given a monkeyís.

They might have given us stick for playing badly in a friendly but privately theyíd be laughing about it.

They, like Iím sure Benitez is this week, were delighted we had been stopped from getting carried away and they knew that all the running we were doing chasing the ball was getting us primed for the important stuff.

Because a good competitive 90 minutes, even one when you lose 3-0, is worth far more than anything you can do in week on the training ground.

So Sunday night was great for everyone involved Ė and I feel a real setback for those who werenít.

Mark Lawrenson was talking to NICK SMITH

Rafa: We did not do enough

By James Carroll at Estadi Cornella-El Prat - LFC Official Website

Rafa Benitez spoke of his disappointment after Liverpool crashed to a 3-0 defeat to Espanyol in Spain on Sunday evening.

Ben Sahar struck twice in the second half to add to an early goal from Luis Garcia as the 'Periquitos' celebrated the opening of their new Estadi Cornella-El Prat in style.

"The game was very important for them," Benitez told "For us it was a friendly game, but you have to play with intensity in every match and you have to work harder than we did today.

"For 25 minutes in the first half we were more or less okay, but for the rest of the game they were on top of us, winning every second ball and challenge. You cannot win these kind of games if you don't work harder.

"We had chances and hit the crossbar and post, but clearly we did not deserve to win."

Benitez refused to single out any individuals, insisting the team as a unit did not perform.

"I don't think it was a problem of one or two players, I think the team as a whole were not working hard enough," said the Reds boss.

"Espanyol were very good moving between the lines. We were not pressing and working together and it created a big problem for our defenders.

"But when these things happen in pre-season, you can change things for the start of the season. We have 15 more days and all the players can work together."

The Reds will now head back to Merseyside before travelling to Norway to take on FC Lyn in Oslo.

Benitez added: "We have had some players coming back late and they need to play and train more for their fitness, so we will see if we can improve in the next game."

Reds tumble to Espanyol defeat


Real Madrid target Xabi Alonso made a brief appearance as a strong Liverpool team suffered a 3-0 defeat to Espanyol at the Cornella-El Prat.

Midfielder Alonso came off the bench with six minutes remaining as Espanyol officially opened their new stadium, and reports in Spain indicate it may be his final appearance for Liverpool.

Luis Garcia - a namesake of the former Liverpool player - put Mauricio Pochettino's side ahead after 19 minutes and former Chelsea reserve Ben Sahar scored a second-half double to give Espanyol an impressive win.

The Barcelona-based team struggled to put teams under pressure at their previous ground, Montjuic, where the stands were far away from the pitch.

But the home side were able to feel the warmth of a sell-out crowd at their new home in Cornella-El Prat, and looked to boss the game early on.

Liverpool began well and Steven Gerrard tried his luck from long range early on, only to see his effort sail wide.

The Reds captain then almost gave the visitors the lead after 18 minutes, when he crashed a fierce effort against the bar.

A minute later, Liverpool were behind as former Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura played in Luis Garcia and the Spain forward beat international team-mate Jose Reina with a neat low finish.

Gerrard curled a free-kick against the post from 20 yards eight minutes later as Rafael Benitez's side sought a quick response.

Espanyol were proving hard to break down and the Catalans thought they had gone two goals up three minutes before half-time, when Raul Tamudo fired clinically past Reina.

However, the veteran striker was ruled offside and the home fans had to be content with a one-goal lead at the break.

Philipp Degen, Andrea Dossena, Ryan Babel and Jay Spearing came on for the visitors at the break, replacing Glen Johnson, Emiliano Insua, Yossi Benayoun and Javier Mascherano.

Espanyol made five changes themselves, but displayed more urgency and went 2-0 up after 62 minutes.

Jose Callejon's pass found Sahar in the area, and the Israel striker slid the ball under Reina.

Benitez brought on Albert Riera, Andriy Voronin, David N'Gog and Damien Plessis late on, and Alonso made his brief appearance six minutes from the end.

But Espanyol wrapped up a fine win minutes before the end, when Sahar netted after Reina could only parry Ferran Corominas' close-range effort.

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