Aviva friendly ends in 4-0 win for Liverpool
Lack of stars on show does little to quell enthusiasm as Shamrock Rovers play their part
Liverpool fans may have been short-changed by the lack of star quality on show but it didn’t prevent them singing You’ll Never Walk Alone with gusto before the start of last night’s friendly at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Shamrock Rovers 0, Liverpool 4
There are still those who resist the growing significance of statistical analysis in football but sometimes there is simply no disputing that the numbers tell a tale; take for example the fact that the squad numbers of the Shamrock Rovers back four here added up to 27 which was 150 short of the corresponding figure for Liverpool. Want to make a stab now as to which team included the more first-team regulars?
Really familiar Liverpool faces were, in fact, few and far between. It had been strongly suggested that Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and Philippe Coutinho would all be involved but when it emerged yesterday that they had merely travelled nobody could quite remember the exact words that had been used when the message had been conveyed.
Anyway, with those three in the stand – out of politeness, half-time interviewee Robbie Fowler informed the crowd that they all been ruled out by “little niggles” – Joe Allen was the sole surviving starter from Sunday’s win over Newcastle.
It could have been worse; take him, Lucas and Iago Aspas out of yesterday’s team and you were left with a line-up that made a combined seven Premier League appearances for the Anfield outfit this season, all of them from the bench.
Fans of Sunderland, Sheffield United and Birmingham City, of course, might be pleased to hear that their just returned loanees Fabio Borini, Conor Coady and Jordon Ibe got their games and many of the more dedicated Liverpool fans, of course, may well have been interested to see the next generation. Still, it must have been a different story for the many kids who had come along and, of course, the parents who had brought them.
And yet almost nobody amongst the 42,517-strong crowd gave any discernable indication of caring too much. Borini did get by far the warmest send off when he was replaced late on but for the most part the Liverpool supporters just seemed intent on buying into the occasion.
They came, they sang You’ll Never Walk Alone with some gusto before kick-off and they nearly raised the roof when Skrtel and co were presented to them at the break. The full extent of the irrationality of it all finally became apparent, though, when a plane appeared overhead trailing a banner which read: “Giggs 13 Gerrard 0 MUFC 20 TIMES.”
Only, er, in Ireland.
In the midst of all this, the game, to be fair, was not the worst seen at the Aviva. Shamrock Rovers held up their end of things well enough throughout but they weren’t quite able for their opponents, where Borini and Ibe stood out a bit.