In the clubs second game of their North American tour, Liverpool lost 2-1 to a stronger Roma side. The Italian squad fielded a stronger eleven overall compared to the players utilized by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers as well also being further ahead in their pre-season preparations than the Reds. Overall this game gave a glimpse of the playing style Rodgers is looking to incorporate and also a glimpse of some players can be used going forward.
There was a promising debut from the young Irish full back Ryan McLaughlin. Joe Cole worked a couple of opportunities, most notably when his good control allowed him time to chip Bogdan Lobont in the Roma goal only for his effort to hit the top of the crossbar. Jonjo Shelvey again made a positive stride towards staking a claim to be involved as a Liverpool player in the coming season. One player who seems to have shown his full capability is Jay Spearing. Sitting in the defensive midfield role, the pint-sized midfielder will be used sparingly as long as Lucas Leiva stays healthy. There are just too many deficiencies in his covering and passing ability in this role.
The exciting Raheem Sterling was closely monitored by the Italians as he looked to create on the left side of the three up top in the 4-3-3 deployed by Rodgers. Surprisingly enough he never switched wings with Joe Cole. Alberto Aquilani didn’t exactly grab the headlines in the first half but it will be interesting to see if the Italian gets a chance to play with the more experienced eleven as pre-season continues in Baltimore on Saturday against Tottenham Hotspur.
The second half livened up a packed Fenway Park. Erik Lamella found Michael Bradley in space between Danny Wilson and Daniel Agger and the American international rifled home his first goal for his new club via the post. Ironically enough Bradley was cheered from a good portion of Liverpool supporters in attendance as chants of “USA” could be heard. Although this was only a pre-season game, this may strike your average English football supporter as being quite strange. Roma were soon two nil up as Brad Jones done well to save from Erik Lamela but Allesandro Florenzi was on hand to smash home the rebound.
With Roma in control, Liverpool looked to increase the pace of the game as well as their overall movement. Fernandez Suso continually showed for the ball in his right side position and then drifted more central to allow Charlie Adam further forward. Adam Morgan was energetic and industrious early on but faded as the half progressed, however the young Liverpudlian’s desire to impress is clear for all to see. Dani Pacheco teed up Charlie Adam, who swept home a clinical finish to ensure it made for a frantic last ten minutes.
This was another useful exercise for Rodgers and his squad. It allowed the manager to get a closer look at his squad in competitive circumstances as well as see how each player is adapting to the new style of play. Transfer fees may be saved if an emerging talent like Jonjo Shelvey can contribute on a regular basis. Dani Pacheco has been the nearly man for so long in his Liverpool career, always on the outside looking in. This is his chance to impress or his future will lay elsewhere. Alberto Aquilani is no doubt a talent but whether or not Brendan Rodgers sees him in his long-term plans remains to be seen. The future of a host of other players will be decided at the end of pre-season or even before.
Lobont; Rosi, Burdisso, Castan (Romagnoli 46), Taddei (Heinze 46); Bradley, Tachtsidis, Pjanic (Florenzi 46), Lopez (Bojan 46): Osvaldo (Marquino 76), Totti (Lamela 46)
Goals: Bradley 63, Florenzi 68
Gulacsi (Jones 46mins): McLaughlin (Flanagan 46), Carragher (Agger 46), Skrtel (Sama 60mins), Enrique (Wilson 60); Aquilani (Suso 46), Spearing (Lucas 60), Shelvey (Adorjan 60); Cole (Adam 46), Eccleston (Morgan 46), Sterling (Pacheco 46)
Goal: Adam 80