Okay, so it’s not exactly a pun but it’s still very cliche!
The headlines pretty much wrote themselves yesterday when Brendan Rodgers declared he would be bringing a whole lot of young players with him for Liverpool’s Europa League opener against Switzerland’s Young Boys. However, as the match showed us you don’t need experience to produce a quality match.
The scoring was opened by Young Boys who conceded a fourth minute own goal. They would storm back later in the first half, only to have Andrew Wisdom reclaim the lead for the Reds just before halftime. Then things really became interesting. The Swiss lads then proceeded to score twice in less than ten minutes before Sebastian Coates tied things up. Jonjo Shelvey then sealed the deal with a pair of goals in the 76th and 88th minutes.
There’s certainly a lot to be optimistic about. This was a genuine reserve squad that not only solved the first team’s greatest obstacle (scoring), but did so in a Europa League match against a legitimate Young Boys IN Switzerland. They kept their composure throughout a very back and forth match. Even better for Liverpool was the result of the group’s other match: a 1-1 draw between Udinese and Anzhi Makhachkala.
Take the result with a grain of salt though. The defense was still quite porous against the group’s weakest opponent. And even if Brendan Rodgers was crazy enough to play this same lineup on Sunday against Manchester United, they still wouldn’t have a prayer of duplicating their performance against the Red Devils. It’s great to know the reserves are capable of scoring in bunches, but it remains to be seen if the first team can do the same against a strong United defense.
The crowd will certainly be electric this weekend. A rivalry match in the first home match since the Hillsborough Report was released is sure to get the players excited and ready. Unfortunately, United will prove to be a tough nut to crack for Liverpool’s First XI.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”