We appear to have wasted no time in sorting out the Sebastian Leto situation by arranging for him to go on loan to Olympiakos. The loan period of two years is a long time but Rafa doesn’t rule out Leto’s future at Anfield.
“He has a long contract, and I think he can impress and next year will be a different situation”
On to last night’s game and the travelling continues. I don’t know if they still have Inter Rail passes these days but if they do Rafa could have done a lot worse than issue then to his squad. Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Scotland, Norway and then next week Belgium!
Although the game against Valerenga was at their Ullevaal Stadium one could be forgiven for thinking it was on these shores given the amount of Liverpool shirts in the crowd. A support built and nurtured via regular pre season trips to Norway over the years.
Rafa fielded his strongest side so far this season. Only Reina and Mascherano were missing otherwise it was, as near as dam it, his first choice line up.
Valerenga began brightly however it was not long before we assumed control. Our first goal was a well worked affair across the box. It ended in Alonso easily and powerfully converting Robbie Keane’s flick from around the edge of the “D” giving Valeranga keeper Troy Perkins (get that name!) no chance. Was Alonso’s sober celebration significant? His first half performance certainly gave the crowd and Rafa an indication of what they would be losing should he leave.
Elsewhere Torres went close with a long range effort and Valerenga nearly made it two for us with a “cool” headed clearance from one of their defenders that hit the post! Robbie Keane continued to work hard without reward. However, perhaps the most disturbing event was the substitution of Gerrard around the half hour mark with what looked like an injury. A precaution for Liege or something more serious? He certainly pulled up immediately and wasted no time in signalling to the bench to be substituted. Late Rafa revealed it was a thigh strain.
Valerenga equalised in the second half Zajic running through unmarked and planting the ball past a cold Reina with the defence all but still in the half time dressing room. Not good, we won’t want to be opened up so easily when it gets serious.
The gloom didn’t last for long as Torres seized on some hesitant defending to slide the ball home. On the hour Benayoun killed the game with a mazy run cross the face of the goal before chipping or lobbing it the other way over the keeper. The goals signalled a raft of substitutions which saw the younger players getting a run out. Ngog made the most of his opportunity scoring is second in two games by coolly finding the corner after an excellent reverse pass from Pacheco.
A good win but let’s not get above ourselves. I doubt we will be lucky enough to come across similar opposition in the Premiership. Lazio next but no doubt before this Rafa will be thinking about his midfield players. Will Gerrard will be fit enough to play, highly unlikely and, if not, will Barry replace him? It could be an interesting couple of days?