St. Gallen-Liverpool 0-0
Cavalieri, San Jose, Degen, Insua, Carragher,
Spearing, Gerrard, El Zhar, Babel, Voronin, Nemeth
Martin, Darby, Skrtel, Johnson, Kelly, Plessis,
Pacheco, Benayoun, Lucas, Ngog, Gulacsi, Ayala, Kuyt
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
"It was a good game, if
a little open..."
1607: Glen Johnson class
Liverpool FC bore draw
1507: Benitez pleased
with Johnson debut
1507: Johnson makes bow
as Liverpool draw
Glen Johnson class shines
through in Liverpool FC bore draw
By Tony Barrett - Liverpool Echo
If anyone is wondering why the mainstream
TV companies swerved Liverpool’s first pre-season friendly
of the season just speak to anyone who was there. You will
soon be put straight.
If ever a match proved the age old managerial adage about
these early pipe openers being about improving sharpness and
fitness it was this one as the Reds laboured to a goalless
draw with St Gallen in a game which will live as long in the
memory as that promise to mow the back garden before the
summer is out.
Entertaining it wasn’t. Enthralling it most certainly
In fact the only incident of any real note came pre-match
when Philipp Degen was booed with the kind of venom that
should be reserved for ex-Liverpool players who sign for
So much for Swiss neutrality.
Still, at least Swiss international Degen can content
himself in the knowledge that while he may not be too
popular in his homeland he at least managed to rouse the
passions of the St Gallen crowd on a night when audible
emotion was pretty much muffled by the paucity of play.
The lack of quality football is only to be expected at this
stage of proceedings of course and had Liverpool come out of
the blocks like Usain Bolt then there would today be concern
that they are in danger of peaking far too soon.
As it is, they delivered the kind of scrappy, incohesive
performance which is the norm in mid-July.
A display which featured the odd moment of inspiration but
which was by and large no better than should ever be
expected when a manager is in experimentation mode with a
squad that has only been training together for little over a
Unlike the full house that packed the AFG Arena, Rafa
Benitez will not have been too disappointed by what he saw.
The Reds boss will have been pleased with the individual
performances of several of his players – including
youngsters Jay Spearing and Martin Kelly – and not
particularly impressed with some others.
He will have seen how much physical and tactical work still
remains to be done and he will also have been able to gauge
just how well his pre-season planning is going.
Entertainment? That can come later. Much later.
As has become the norm in Benitez’s reign, the Liverpool
manager used an early pre-season game to blood some of the
club’s most promising youngsters while also giving some of
his fringe players a chance to press their claims for a more
regular involvement in the first team squad.
With the Reds boss keen to give run outs to as many members
of his squad as possible the chances of Liverpool’s first
pre-season friendly turning into any kind of spectacle were
about as remote as Benitez exchanging Christmas cards with
wantaway midfielder Xabi Alonso in five months time.
Not surprisingly, Liverpool’s mix of first team regulars,
reserves, fringe players, youngsters and virtual outcasts
was never really able to deliver much in the way of a
consistent playing pattern.
Equally inevitable was the fact that Steven Gerrard’s star
shone brightest as the Liverpool captain’s crisp passing and
imaginative movement marked him out as the first half’s most
accomplished performer, with Spearing also impressing in a
more understated fashion as the Reds skipper’s midfield
New signing Glen Johnson also acquitted himself well in an
unfamiliar left back berth and can be content with his first
appearance in a red shirt.
The former Pompey man was one of eleven Liverpool
substitutions at half-time as Benitez carried out his pledge
to change his entire team at the interval.
Having seen his first half team struggle to carve out any
openings of particular note apart from a close range
Krisztian Nemeth effort that was easily foiled by St Gallen
keeper Reto Bolli, the Liverpool manager will have been
pleased to see his substitute eleven look to push forward at
Johnson could and perhaps should have opened the scoring
following a neat one two with David Ngog but disappointment
at the way his volley was steered wide of the target will
have been tempered by the fact that the full back had
illustrated his trademark ability to get into advanced
Yossi Benayoun was next to try his luck following some
inventive build up play involving Stephen Darby and Dani
Pacheco, but the Israeli’s goal bound effort was tipped over
As the half wore on, the home fans demanded more from their
team – who started their Swiss League campaign last week –
but with Liverpool increasingly dominating possession it
seemed that their thirst to take the notable scalp of the
five time European champions would go unquenched.
St Gallen continued to try and hit their visitors on the
break only for their efforts to be continually thwarted by
the two Martins – Skrtel and Kelly – with the more junior
member of Liverpool’s central defensive duo making the most
of his promotion from the reserves with an assured and
Kelly’s fellow second string regulars Pacheco and Ngog both
had opportunities to put themselves in the limelight, but
the former was let down by a lack of poise when a clear
shooting opportunity arose and the latter suffered from a
radar malfunction when presented with the most free of
Such profligacy could have proven costly had the unmarked
Mario Frick not headed wide with just minutes remaining.
But the concession of a late goal would have been harsh on
Liverpool who had shown more than enough endeavour and
spirit to deserve a draw at the very least.
It was a game which didn’t really deserve a goal and the
chances which came and went without ever really looking like
being converted ensured that it didn’t get one.
Liverpool’s fans have become increasingly used to seeing
their team in live pre-season action.
But this time the major TV companies did not oblige them –
and for that supporters should be eternally grateful.
with Johnson debut
By Jimmy Rice in Switzerland - LFC Official Website
Rafa Benitez praised the versatility of
Glen Johnson after the new boy filled in on the left during
his Liverpool debut.
The 24-year-old was asked to play at left-back in our
goalless draw with St Gallen on Wednesday night due to the
absence of Andrea Dossena and Fabio Aurelio.
And Johnson showed some nice touches during his second-half
Benitez told Liverpoolfc.tv: "I asked him to play on the
left and he did really well. The team as a whole did well
but everyone was watching Glen and he was good."
The boss took plenty of positives from the club's opening
pre-season friendly despite the scoreline.
He said: "It was a good game, if a little open. There were
opportunities for both teams so it's good for the fans. As a
manager you are always pleased with a clean sheet and I was
really pleased with some of the play in attack.
"We could see some really good play with some young players
and everyone worked really hard.
"The young players did really well, though they'll need more
time. Their workrate and attitude was the main thing."
Benitez also reserved a word for the hoards of Kopites who
flooded into the AFG Arena.
"We have a massive following around the world and you'll see
it in Asia next. It's fantastic," he said.
as Liverpool draw
Glen Johnson made his Liverpool debut as a
second-half substitute on Wednesday night as the Reds were
held to a goalless draw by St Gallen.
It was Liverpool's opening pre-season fixture and they were
made hard to work for a share of the spoils in Switzerland.
Rafa Benitez used the game to give each member of his 24-man
squad a much-needed run-out.
Ryan Babel went close early on for Liverpool, but Philipp
Degen had to be alert on 14 minutes when he was forced into
a desperate clearance after Ze Vitor had cut the ball back
from a dangerous position on the right.
The Reds were let off the hook moments later when Mario
Caceras somehow contrived to hit the post from close range
following another neat move down the right.
New boy Johnson showed some neat touches after the break and
almost netted but he drilled his shot wide.
Dani Pacheco and Yossi Benayoun then combined to create an
opening that saw the Israeli cut inside and force a fine
save out of the St Gallen keeper.
David Ngog then wasted a good chance from a corner as the
game ended all square.
They are next in action on Sunday against Rapid Vienna in
the Austrian capital.