After The Match 


Liverpool-Atletico Madrid 1-2 (0-2)       8.8.09         PS-friendly
Goals: Lucas (82)               Aguero (15), Forlan (33)
Team: Reina, Johnson (Kelly 74), Ayala, Carragher (San Jose 16), Insua, Kuyt (Babel 61), Lucas, Mascherano (Spearing 79), Benayoun (Voronin 79), Gerrard, Torres (Ngog 82)
Not used: Cavalieri, Plessis, Degen, Riera, Dossena
Yellow: Johnson (61)        Assuncao (41), Heitinga (57), Forlan (73)
Red: None
Referee: P. Dowd
Attendance: 44,102


Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Blocked shots:
Fouls conceded:

HEADLINES "We haven't seen all
the things
we wanted..."

Rafael Benitez
0808: Benitez reveals Turner interest
0808: Benitez praise for in-form Lucas
0808: Reds go down to Atletico defeat


Benitez reveals Turner interest

By Paul Walker - Press Association Sport

Rafael Benitez has held talks with Hull boss Phil Brown over the possible transfer of defender Michael Turner to Liverpool.

The Anfield chief has a number of injury worries in defence, which were compounded on Saturday when Jamie Carragher limped off early in the first half of the friendly with Atletico Madrid nursing an ankle problem.

Benitez is increasingly short of defenders, having seen Sami Hyypia and Alvaro Arbeloa leave the club this summer.

The problem has been made even more pressing with both Daniel Agger (back) and Martin Skrtel (hamstring) doubtful for the season's opening league game at Spurs next weekend.

Benitez has been linked with a bid for Turner, as well as Portsmouth's Sylvain Distin.

And the Spaniard said after the 2-1 defeat by Atletico Madrid at Anfield: "I was talking with (Hull manager) Phil Brown, but I will not talk about figures. But maybe I was just talking to Phil about the weather."

Benitez is believed to have offered 6million for Turner, with Hull demanding closer to 12million.

On Liverpool's injury problems, which also saw Fernando Torres limp off at the end with an ankle injury, Benitez said: "Carragher twisted his ankle, and because we have problems with injuries to our centre-backs, we decided to take him off as a precaution.

"We will have to wait to see how the injured players improve, but I feel they will be ready for our next game.

"We have two options. One is to bring in someone at the back and the other option is to keep working with the young players we have.

"We have three centre-backs to get fit and will need one more as a fourth. We have to decide what to do, but the one solution we can achieve is to work with the youngsters.

"Some youngsters need the opportunity to impress, we will see how they go.

"Jamie will come in tomorrow for treatment at Melwood, and we will assess the situation then.

"For a twisted ankle you need two or three days to see how the injury settles down. I do not believe he will need a scan.

"Fernando Torres also came off with an slight injury on his ankle, but he also came off as a precaution because this was only a friendly."

Benitez praise for in-form Lucas

By Paul Hassall at Anfield - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez hailed Lucas Leiva as Liverpool's star of pre-season after the Brazilian scored in Saturday's 2-1 friendly defeat at home to Atletico Madrid.

The Reds midfielder capped another fine display with a late strike in front of the Kop and, although it wasn't enough to earn a share of the spoils, the boss was keen to praise the 22-year-old.

"I said in my pre-match notes that Lucas has been best player in pre-season," he said. "He showed why again today. He is really focused, working hard and is showing quality.

"He knows Aquilani will need time. When we decided to bring in Aquilani we knew he would be out for one month or so, so we analysed the squad and we think that with Mascherano, Lucas, Gerrard and Plessis we have enough."

First-half goals from Kun Aguero and Diego Forlan saw the Reds end pre-season with a home defeat and Benitez admitted it was a tough 90 minutes for his men.

"It was a difficult game," he said. "We conceded one when we were playing with 10 players and Mascherano was at centre back. It was really disappointing and after this we were a little bit nervous. We were playing against a good team and we had our chances but couldn't take them.

"They had spells when they were in control because they have players with quality who can keep the ball and pass it well. It wasn't easy for the young players to play against four offensive players with such quality.

"But we showed a good reaction in the second half and we were pushing - there were positives and negatives.

"The game was important. We wanted to impress our fans but credit to Atletico, they are a good team. We haven't seen all the things we wanted but at least we can analyse the team and start working on things if we need to change something."

Reds go down to Atletico defeat


Liverpool's patchy pre-season form continued with a 2-1 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid, despite a late flurry and a rare Lucas Leiva strike.

Atletico Madrid were two ahead at the break and deserved their win, as Liverpool's injury worries worsened.

Their preparations for the new season were not helped by the sight of Jamie Carragher limping out of this sell-out friendly.

Anfield's most experienced defender lasted just 12 minutes against the Spanish club as he suffered an ankle injury. A touchline conversation with club doctor Mark Waller was followed by the 31 year-old disappearing down the tunnel for treatment.

Considering boss Rafael Benitez's injury crisis in defence, losing the vice-captain and defensive leader was the last thing he wanted.

Initial diagnosis was a "turned" ankle, and his departure was precautionary. Certainly in the current situation, his recovery for next week will be a priority as he will be needed at Tottenham for the Premier League opener next weekend.

Benitez has seen Sami Hyypia depart, while Martin Skrtel (hamstring) and Daniel Agger (back) are major doubts for the trip to White Hart Lane.

Alvaro Arbeloa has also gone, while Fabio Aurelio will not play until nearer Christmas with a knee injury, leaving Liverpool's defensive numbers diminished.

Liverpool spent the rest of the match with untried Spanish youngsters Danny Ayala and Mikel San Jose, fresh faced from the reserves, confronting the outstanding Argentina star Sergio Aguero, one of the best strikers in Europe.

Aguero soon started to take advantage. He dived to head home a cross from Simao, and then produced the back-heel that set-up former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan for a second before the break.

Lucas was given the unenviable job of replacing Xabi Alonso, 30million worth of midfield artistry now at Real Madrid, while England full-back Glen Johnson made his home debut.

While all this disruption was going on behind them, Fernando Torres, against his old club, and Steven Gerrard started where they finished last term.

The pair were in full flow and Torres could have had a couple before hitting the post from 20-yards as he played against his former club.

Referee Phil Dowd refused Liverpool three penalties, one when Torres looked to be tripped and then when Juanito handled as Gerrard charged through, before Lucas was knocked over.

Atletico were certainly taking this seriously. Paulo Assuncao and Johnny Heitinga were both booked for fouls on Yossi Benayoun and Gerrard. Liverpool, too, picked up a booking when Johnson was cautioned for cutting down Simao.

Ryan Babel replaced Dirk Kuyt and another young defender, Martin Kelly, took over from Johnson, but Liverpool could not fashion much of a comeback.

Fourth in La Liga last term, and facing a Champions League play-off tie with Panathinaikos for a chance to join Liverpool in the group stages, Atletico looked more than a decent outfit.

They introduced former Liverpool forward Florent Sinama-Pongolle with 15 minutes left to a rousing reception from the Kop.

Liverpool responded with Jay Spearing and Andriy Voronin coming on for Javier Mascherano and Benayoun, with David Ngog replacing Torres soon after.

Lucas finally pulled one back for Liverpool after 81 minutes, side-footing home from a Gerrard through ball.

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Thor Zakariassen