After The Match 


S. China FC-Liverpool 1-3 (1-2)   24.7.07              Pre-season
Goals: Riise( 9), Alonso (27), Agger (73)      Li Haiqiang (34)
Team: Carson, Arbeloa, Riise, Carragher, Agger, Alonso, Sissoko, Kewell, Benayoun, Crouch, Voronin
Subs: Kuyt (Crouch 55), Pennant (Kewell 55),
Finnan (Benayoun 65), Hyypia (Sissoko 72),
Threlfall (Alonso 74), Martin (Carson 83)
Not used:
Yellow: None
Red: None
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Attendance: 36,801
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Blocked shots:
Fouls conceded:

has started well for us."
    Rafael Benitez

2407: Benitez delighted by Voronin impact
2407: Victory and Final in Asia


Benitez delighted by Voronin impact


Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was full of praise for Andriy Voronin after he starred in the 3-1 Asia Trophy win over South China in Hong Kong.

The Ukraine international, a free transfer from Bayer Leverkusen this summer, completed his first full 90 minutes for his new club in front of 36,000 fans.

He won a penalty, put away by Xabi Alonso, and produced a work rate in intense heat that impressed Benitez, who witnessed further goals from Daniel Agger and John Arne Riise.

Benitez said on Sky Sports 1: "Voronin has started well for us. He has 'game', intelligence and he has fitted well into the side.

"It is early for him, but we knew he was a very good player and, when you have better players around, normally you play better."

Benitez also accepted second-choice goalkeeper Scott Carson could have done better with the first-half goal he conceded from fully 40 yards, while maintaining a 'wait and see' stance in the saga over the possible signing of Manchester United full-back Gabriel Heinze.

Benitez added: "Their goal was strange, Scott Carson was not expecting it, a shot from so far out that hard. It was a surprise, and I am sure he will be disappointed with that.

"As a keeper, when you concede any goal you are disappointed, but particularly when it is that kind of goal.

"I am sure he will bounce back from that, it is just one mistake, nothing important."

On the Heinze situation, with Liverpool having had a £5.8million offer rejected by United, Benitez said: "We sent in an offer for Heinze, and they rejected it. Now the lawyers have to talk. The agent has called in the lawyers, everybody knows the situation now all around the world."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been critical of the part played in the proposed deal by Heinze's agent, with the player and Liverpool claiming a letter exists stating the defender can leave Old Trafford if anyone makes a £5.8million bid.

United do not want to sell to their biggest local rivals, and Benitez said: "I would rather now wait and see what happens next."

Liverpool play Portsmouth in the final on Friday, the Hampshire club having won their match 1-0 against Fulham.

Victory and Final in Asia

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo with the Reds in Hong Kong

Liverpool maintained their one hundred per cent pre-season record with a hard-working 3-1 victory over South China in Hong Kong today.

Goals from John Arne Riise, Xabi Alonso and Daniel Agger secured Rafa Benitez’s side a place in Friday’s Asia Trophy final against Portsmouth.

However, there was disappointment for the legions of Hong Kong fans who were denied a chance to see the club’s multi-million pound new signings due to red tape.

Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel were forced to sit out the game because they’re still awaiting international clearance to play in a Premier League endorsed tournament.

Liverpool were also without skipper Steven Gerrard, who’s nursing a stomach injury.

There was a surprise recall, however, for Harry Kewell who’d joined the squad straight from the Asia Cup in Vietnam.

Riise maintained his impressive summer form with a trademark free-kick on eight minutes.

The Norwegian blasted into the roof of the net from 20 yards, giving keeper Zhang Chunhai no hope.

When Alonso coolly converted a penalty after the tireless Andriy Voronin was dragged down in the box on 27 minutes, a rout looked possible.

But the plucky Hong Kong champions stunned Liverpool with a 40-yard free-kick from skipper Li Haiqiang, embarrassing Scott Carson with a goal reminiscent of Ronaldinho’s against David Seaman in the 2002 World Cup.

The hosts enjoyed much of the possession for an hour as the humid conditions clearly took their toll on Benitez’s side.

The Liverpool boss tried to freshen his team up ten minutes into the second half when Dirk Kuyt and Jermaine Pennant replaced Crouch and Kewell. The changes worked.

Kuyt should have made an instant impact but shot wastefully over the bar after being found by Alvaro Arbeloa’s right wing cross.

Then the Dutchman nearly created a deserved strike for Voronin who headed over Kuyt’s cross from close range on 70 minutes.

Although 95 per cent of the enthusiastic crowd was supporting Liverpool, they displayed signs of fickleness as the game progressed.

Poor Sissoko was given an especially hard time after squandering possession on several occasions, and was eventually subbed for Sami Hyypia, playing an unfamiliar central midfield role.

Liverpool managed to put the game safe with the move of the match on 74 minutes. It was started and finished by Agger, who sent Riise clear on the left after dribbling the ball from defence.

Riise’s cross was neatly teed up for the Dane by Kuyt, and Agger hit an unstoppable left footer to secure Liverpool’s victory.

Kuyt, Voronin and Pennant nearly added goals in the closing stages as the gulf in class grew towards the final whistle.


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