After The Match 


Kaiserslautern-Liverpool 3-2 (0-0)      29.07.06           Friendly
Goals: Bellamy (60), Garcia (67)       Villar (56), Ziener (71, 87)
Team: Dudek, Peltier, Hyypia, Paletta, Traore, Anderson, Hobbs, Zenden, Gonzalez, Fowler, Bellamy
Subs: Aurelio, Finnan, Riise, Pennant, Garcia, Reina
Not used:
Yellow: None
Red: None
Attendance: 2,800
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Fouls conceded:
HEADLINES "I thought Jermaine Pennant did
a good job..."
     Rafael Benitez

3107: Benitez taking no risks on stars
2907: Rafa facing anxious wait over injuries
2907: Liverpool slip up


Benitez taking no risks on stars

By Neil Johnston - Daily Post

Rafael Benitez is ready to save Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso for the start of Liverpool's Champions League campaign rather than risk the duo in this week's friendlies.

Benitez had wanted to give the midfield pair a runout in one of the two games against Grasshoppers of Zurich tomorrow and FSV Mainz on Friday.

But the Liverpool manager looks set to change his mind in the wake of Luis Garcia's neck injury during Saturday's friendly with Kaiserlautern.

Garcia failed to finish against the Germans after sustaining the injury after scoring in his first appearance for the club since returning from the World Cup with Spain.

Benitez does not want to risk any more injuries to senior players on the eve of the season.

With that in mind he's likely to save Gerrard and Alonso for next week's Champions League third qualifying round first leg tie with Israel's Maccabi Haifa, although Peter Crouch and Jamie Carragher may play some part in this week's games.

"We must be careful with the rest of the players after what happened to Luis," said Benitez, following the 3-2 defeat in Liechtenstein.

"He has a neck injury and has been complaining of a sore neck in training three days ago.

"The most important thing now is that we keep the rest of the players fit."

Benitez has every right to be cautious after Garcia's injury towards the end of the game resulted in the bizarre spectacle of goalkeeper Jose Reina playing in midfield. Liverpool had used up all their outfield substitutes and with Jerzy Dudek starting, Reina was the only player left on the bench.

As well as Garcia's injury, Brazilian newcomer Fabio Aurelio also picked up a knock although both are expected to recover in time to feature when the season gets under way for real next week.

Despite going down to defeat there were positives for Benitez to reflect on three weeks before the launch of the new Premiership campaign. None more so than Jermaine Pennant's eye-catching debut performance.

The £6.7m signing from Birmingham marked his first appearance by climbing off the bench to play a part in both his side's goals.

Pennant admitted afterwards, he cannot wait for the season to begin for real.

"As a player you cannot ask for more than playing in the Champions League and it is something that really excites me," he said.

"I am happy with the way my debut went. I want to learn from the good players that are around me."

Rafa facing anxious wait over injuries

By Steve Hunter in Liechtenstein - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez faces an anxious wait to see how serious the injuries sustained by Luis Garcia and Fabio Aurelio are after the 3-2 defeat by Kaiserslautern.

The Reds manager says both players will be assessed further on Sunday at the club's training camp in Switzerland.

"It was a difficult game for us with the two injuries to Luis and Fabio and we made three mistakes which cost us the game," reflected Benitez.

"Luis had a problem with his neck and we decided the best thing would be to take him off. Fabio felt something in his calf and I think it's a more serious problem than Luis.

"Overall I thought it was a typical pre-season game and we used a mixture of senior and young players. I thought Jermaine Pennant did a good job and played well. He showed the quality that he has."

Benitez also offered words of sympathy to 17-year-old defender Jack Hobbs whose mistakes led to the Kaiserslautern goals.

"I always say to a player when you make a mistake you have to work harder and make up for it in the next game," commented Benitez.

"I will comfort Jack as he is a young boy who will learn from this."

Liverpool slip up

Evening Echo

Liverpool slipped up against second division German opposition and finished their match against Kaiserslautern with goalkeeper Jose Reina in midfield.

An injury to Luis Garcia left boss Rafael Benitez with little option other than to press Reina into action in an unfamiliar position with 11 minutes left of a match being played in Liechtenstein.

And while Reina twice came close to scoring, shooting narrowly wide and then over the bar, it was Kaiserslautern who clinched victory thanks to Marcel Ziemerís strike in the 87th minute.

After a goalless first half, Craig Bellamy looked to have given Liverpool the lead soon after the re-start when his shot hit the bar and appeared to cross the goalline, however the decision went against the Welshman.

Liverpool handed a debut to Jermaine Pennant in the second half and he looked threatening, however the German side went in front after 56 minutes when substitute Ricardo Villar fired past Jerzy Dudek, making the most of an error by Jack Hobbs.

Bellamy got the goal he deserved on the hour mark following good work from another substitute, Garcia.

It was Garcia who shot Liverpool in front after 67 minutes, Pennant and Bellamy having made the opening for the Spaniard, however Kaiserslautern were level four minutes later.

Ziemer pounced on another Hobbs mistake to strike their equaliser.

Reinaís introduction in place of Garcia, who suffered a minor knock, almost brought about a dramatic result as his shots caused Kaiserslautern concern.

But Ziemer had the final say, finding space behind the Liverpool defence and lifting his shot above Dudek for the winner.

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Thor Zakariassen ©