happy with Thai success
By Chris Maxwell - LFC Online
Gerard Houllier was happy with the passing and movement of his side in
what turned out to be a marathon victory over Thailand.
The Reds eased to a 3-1 win over their Bangkok hosts thanks to Emile
Heskey's first-half opener and a brace from resurgent Czech star Vladimir
Despite having to play a 55 minute first-half due to a time-keeping error
on the referee's part, Gerard Houllier announced himself satisfied with
the performance of his side.
"I thought it was a good work out for the boys. You have to take into
account that the boys have travelled a long way here. We also had a heavy
training session 48 hours ago and we had a lighter one yesterday. I liked
the movement and our passing was good and I like the fact that we created
many chances again. Maybe the finishing wasn't as good as it should have
been, but that will come."
The Frenchman's delight at the comfortable win was added to by the
sparkling displays of his young compatriots, Anthony Le Tallec and Florent
"I tried Florent wide right in the second-half because we had Baros and
Mellor playing up front. Florent did much better when he was up front with
Baros," Houllier revealed.
"Regarding Anthony Le Tallec, he did very well again. He showed his
passing moves, he can be very creative and was unlucky not to get on the
scoresheet. I can tell you, both players look good for the future of
Liverpool Football Club."
Vladi double seals
LFC Official Website
A brace of goals from Vladimir Smicer and a strike from Emile Heskey
was enough to give Liverpool a 3-1 win in their friendly with the Thailand
national team in Bangkok today.
In an entertaining match played in front of an ecstatic and passionate
Thai crowd, Gerard Houllier's side showed flashes that they are working
their way towards top form in time for the new season with a hard working
performance which was rewarded by a well deserved victory.
The Liverpool boss once again repeated his pre-season experiment of
fielding different teams in each half of the game and most of the players
on duty did their hopes of making the starting line-up when Chelsea visit
Anfield next month no harm at all.
The result at the Rajamangala Stadium was never going to be the most
important factor for the Liverpool-mad Thais who crammed into the national
stadium hours before kick off to get ready for an occasion they had been
dreaming of ever since the Reds left this part of the world two years ago.
Just the sight of Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard within a hundred yards
of them was enough to light up their faces and when the players lined up
before kick-off to greet the local fans with a traditional "Thai bow" the
noise levels inside the stadium went through the roof.
Owen captained the Liverpool team in a starting eleven which saw French
starlet Anthony Le Tallec given his first chance to shine from the kick
In the surprisingly mild and wet Bangkok conditions, it was the home side
which made the brighter start with Chris Kirkland the busier of the two
goalkeepers in the opening minutes. After smartly collecting one left wing
cross after a couple of minutes, Kirkland was again called into action
shortly after when Kiatisuk fired a low shot goalwards.
Liverpool gradually got into their stride and created a number of clear
openings - much to the delight of the local fans. Michael Owen - whose
every touch was cheered as if it were a winning goal - curled one just
over the bar after six minutes and he was then involved in an excellent
move which gave Anthony Le Tallec a sight of goal, but the French
youngster's curling effort was smartly tipped over by the Thai 'keeper.
As the game went from one end to the other it was Thailand who were next
to attack, with dangerman Kiatisuk taking advantage of a rare error by
Stephane Henchoz to stride forward towards goal. Thankfully, Kirkland was
on hand to spare Henchoz's blushes by making a great save.
The home side were desperate to witness a Liverpool goal and Emile Heskey
almost obliged after 25 minutes when he headed Michael Owen's cross just
wide of the far post.
Bruno Cheyrou came even closer five minutes later with a vicious drive
from outside the area which dipped just over the Thailand goal.
Liverpool finally broke the deadlock after 31 minutes when Emile Heskey
slotted the ball home following good work by Didi Hamann. Heskey picked
the ball up inside the area and confidently tucked the ball past Kittisak
with a neat left footed finish.
It may only be a goal in a pre-season friendly, but Heskey's strike was
his second in pre-season so far - possibly a sign there are better things
to come from the England striker this season following a disappointing
campaign last time around.
Thailand got themselves back onto level terms before the half time break
when Somjet took advantage of a slip by Djimi Traore before striding
forward and brilliantly lifting the ball over Chris Kirkland into the top
corner of the net.
The referee then played a staggering ten minutes of stoppage time at the
end of the opening period, despite the fact that neither physio was
required to treat any player at any time during the first half.
Gerard Houllier changed his entire team at the start of the second period,
and it took just 30 seconds for the new-look Reds to regain the lead.
Milan Baros powered forward down the right hand side and his cross was
struck home by Vladimir Smicerwho was totally unmarked twelve yards from
The Reds should have increased their lead again after an hour when Neil
Mellor had one shot cleared off the line and then, seconds later, saw a
glancing header miss the far post by inches.
The chances continued to arrive for the Reds with Baros shooting straight
at the goalkeeper when clean through on the Thai goal, and Murphy blazing
an effort over the bar when the ball fell kindly to him outside the area.
It came as no surprise when Liverpool added a third to their tally and
again it was Vladimir Smicer who hit the back of the net for his second of
the game. Riise created the chance with good play down the left and when
his cross found Smicer inside the area the Czech star made no mistake with
a low drive into the back of the goal.
Smicer's place in Liverpool's team this season would appear to be in
jeopardy following the signing of Harry Kewell, but he certainly used this
occasion well to serve notice that he's still around with an impressive
second half display.
In truth Liverpool could have added a further five goals before the final
whistle sounded, but three was more than enough to satisfy both manager
Gerard Houllier's hopes for another promising work-out and the local fans'
desire to see their heroes give them a performance to cherish.