Robbie Keane made his LFC debut at Villerreal.
(Photo: LFC Official Website)
Keane excited by partnership
Liverpool new boy Robbie Keane admits he
cannot wait to get the chance to play alongside
The pair that Reds fans hope will prove their dream
strikeforce managed to avoid each other in the 0-0
pre-season friendly draw at Villarreal on Wednesday night.
Keane played only in the first half, and missed the best
chance of the match, while Torres came on for the last 20
minutes, his first action since scoring the winner in the
Euro 2008 final for Spain.
Reds boss Rafa Benitez has hinted the duo could be paired
together for the first time in Saturday's friendly with
Rangers in Glasgow.
Keane , who completed his £20million move from Tottenham
just 24 hours before the Villarreal game, feels he is
settling in quite well at his new club.
"I didn't get the chance to partner Fernando this time, but
I am looking forward to it when it does happen," Keane told
Sky Sports News.
"I'm settling in just fine and it was good to get 45 minutes
under my belt with my new team-mates.
"It has been a busy few days but I feel I am settling in
well. I have trained a little with the lads, got in some
match action and it is going fine.
"I know I did not get to play alongside Fernando but I am
sure any partnership will work well, but only time will
"He's a tremendous player and it will be great to play up
front alongside him. But it is up to the pair of us to make
Keane added: "We haven't had much chance yet to work
together, but over the next few weeks I am sure I will get
to know him better, and the rest of the lads.
"It was useful to get the first game out of the way. I have
only had a couple of 45-minute spells in build-up games with
Spurs against lower-league opposition, so it was good to
play against a good side like Villarreal. It was a good
work-out for me.
"There is massive potential here. Just look at the players
that were used in the first half, and then another fine
bunch after the break.
"There are a lot of quality players here and I am just
delighted to be amongst it all."
The game was overshadowed somewhat by the decision earlier
in the day by Aston Villa to pull the plug on the Gareth
Barry deal because the Anfield club had failed to meet a
deadline to match the £18million asking price.
Rafa: Keane showed his quality
By Steve Hunter at the El Madrigal Stadium - LFC Official
Rafa Benitez declared himself pleased with
the debut of Robbie Keane after the Republic of Ireland star
enjoyed a 45 minute run-out during the goalless draw with La
Liga runners-up Villarreal at the El Madrigal Stadium.
The new Kop number seven was paired alongside fellow signing
David Ngog for the first half, and Keane was unfortunate not
to make it a scoring debut when he came close with an effort
on 27 minutes.
"To see Robbie with the new lads out there was positive,"
said Benitez. "Robbie worked hard and he wanted to impress.
He played his part in some good movements in attack and
showed his quality."
The game also saw the return to action of the Spanish heroes
Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa and former
Villarreal favourite Pepe Reina, who all enjoyed their first
outing of pre-season in the second half.
And the boss gave a strong hint that he could pair Keane and
Torres for the first time in attack against Rangers in
Saturday's friendly at Ibrox.
"I want to see them together before our first game in the
Champions League qualifier," said Benitez.
"They will have enough games now to play together before the
start of the season and maybe they will have 45 minutes on
"Torres will play some games in a row now. He had some
chances tonight but he only played for 20 minutes which was
the idea in his first game back."
The boss also praised youngsters Ngog and Krisztian Nemeth
who joined Keane in making their Reds bow in Spain.
"Ngog doesn't know his teammates yet but he worked hard and
again it was positive for us," said Benitez. "Nemeth
deserved his chance and he showed his quality.
"The main idea for us tonight was to improve the fitness
level of the team and I think we did that."
Reds held in
This Is Anfield
An experimental Liverpool side were held
to a goalless draw by La Liga side Villarreal this evening
at the El Madrigal Stadium.
Robbie Keane made his Liverpool debut alongside fellow new
signing David Ngog in an attacking three alongside Andriy
Voronin. They played the first 45 minutes before seven
changes at half-time saw another forward grab his debut,
youngster Krisztian Nemeth joining Kuyt and Dani Pacheco up
Goalkeeper Pepe Reina, for whom the match was organised as
part of the deal which saw him transfer from Villareal to
Liverpool three years ago, played the last 10 minutes - the
man he replaced, Diego Cavalieri had put in an impressive
Fernando Torres saw his first action since Euro 2008,
replacing Nemeth on 70 minutes, while Xabi Alonso and Steve
Finnan also saw their first action of pre-season.
Liverpool were sporting their new grey away kit in the heat
of the El Madigral Stadium. Prior to kick off Liverpool’s
Spanish quarter of Reina, Alonso, Arbeloa and Torres showed
off the Euro 2008 trophy and received a heroes welcome,
along with Villareal’s three Spanish internationals.
Robbie Keane and David Ngog both had opportunities to open
the scoring on their debuts in the first half.