Reds sweat on
Skrtel injury verdict
Rafa Benitez is awaiting to hear if Martin
Skrtel faces a long spell on the sidelines after he limped
off in Liverpool's 1-1 draw in Thailand.
Skrtel limped off 10 minutes after coming on at half-time in
Bangkok and while Benitez said it was too early to tell how
long the defender could be ruled out for, it was
nevertheless an unwanted blow.
"I'm really disappointed because Martin has had a problem
with his hamstring and a little bit with the ligaments in
his knee, so we have to wait," he said.
Jamie Carragher echoed his manager's disappointment over his
centre-back partner's exit.
"That's part and parcel of football. It's disappointing but
hopefully he will be ready for the start of the season
because he's a top player," he said.
Despite being held by Peter Reid's team and seeing his
charges spurn a number of chances, Benitez was nevertheless
pleased with Liverpool's performance.
"We had some chances, we were playing against a team that
was well organised, and they play quick," the Spaniard said.
"So you come to a new continent and conditions are
different, always more difficult, but I was pleased with the
performance of some players.
"We knew that physically they are strong, they are quick,
and then the pace of the other team is important. So we had
to have some really good movement and I was really pleased
Benitez, though, was reluctant to talk up his side's Premier
League title chances this term following last season's
"We have to keep working and try to be contenders," he
"I don't think that we need to put any pressure on anyone.
So we just keep improving and then we can stay there."
Babel on target
in Thailand draw
LFC Official Website
Ryan Babel scored Liverpool's first goal
of the pre-season as we were held to a 1-1 draw by Thailand
in the Rajamangala National Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The Dutchman looked to have set the Reds on the road to
victory with a neat first-half finish until Panupong Sutee
stunned Rafael Benitez's men with a late equaliser.
Ahead of the match the players were introduced to Thailand
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the delay in kick-off
seemed to affect the Reds' concentration, with Diego
Cavalieri almost gifting the hosts a dream start on two
Datsakorn Thonglao looked all set to open the scoring when
he seized upon the Brazilian stopper's miskicked clearance,
but with the goal at his mercy, the Thai skipper somehow
contrived to hit a tame 30-yard effort wide of target to let
Liverpool off the hook.
It was an opportunity Peter Reid's men were left ruing just
five minutes later as the Reds broke forward to score
courtesy of the lively Babel.
Jamie Carragher's long ball down the middlw found the
Dutchman through on goal and after taking a touch away from
the defender he coolly slotted past Kosin Hathairattanakool.
Rafael Benitez spoke glowingly about the Holland
international during the welcome press conference on Monday
afternoon and the young forward was a threat throughout,
almost doubling his tally on 12 minutes, but this time the
Thai stopper made a fine save with his feet.
Having struggled to create openings in their previous two
encounters, Liverpool were suddenly making chances at will,
with Krisztian Nemeth left frustrated by a poor final touch
after he had slalomed his way past two defenders.
On the half hour mark Dirk Kuyt dragged a shot from the edge
of the box just wide while the closest the hosts came to
levelling was from a Thonglao free-kick that curved well
over the top of Cavalieri's goal.
Kuyt then crossed for Babel on 45 minutes but his compatriot
could not quite stretch enough to double the Reds' lead at
In keeping with the preparations for the new season, Benitez
made 10 changes during the break with Babel the only
first-half performer to return.
Early injuries to substitutes Nabil El Zhar and Martin
Skrtel disrupted the pattern of play and after a second
period of little goalmouth action the hosts stunned
Liverpool with a well taken equaliser from Sutee on 72
The Thai forward showed great composure to fire the ball
beyond Peter Gulacsi after he had created the opening with a
Spain duo, Albert Riera and Fernando Torres both made their
first appearances of pre-season as late substitutes but, try
as they might, the Reds could not find that elusive winning