Hearts 0-1 Liverpool Match Report

24 Aug

Hearts 0-1 Liverpool Match Report

 

 

Always great interest when an English club are drawn against a Scottish club in European competition, and this tie in the Europa League proved no different.

 

 

Liverpool travelled to Edinburgh for the first leg. Hearts won last season’s Scottish Cup against their city rivals Hibs, and Liverpool would not be underestimating the difficulty that Hearts would provide.

 

 

The Team

 

 

Liverpool sent a mix of experience and youth up north to face Hearts, but star players Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson did not make the trip as Brendan Rodgers decided to give them a rest before Sunday’s visit of Manchester City to Anfield.

 

 

Andy Carroll was due to start, but was not risked as he felt a twinge in his hamstring. Liverpool started with experience in the form of Reina, Agger and Jamie Carragher captaining the side.

 

 

Youngsters given a chance to shine were the talented Raheem Sterling, Martin Kelly, Jack Robinson, and Jonjo Shelvey.

 

 

Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Fabio Borini were also given a chance to impress Brendan Rodgers.

 

 

The Match

 

 

With a vocal and passionate home support roaring their favourites on, Hearts started on the front foot with intent on unsettling Liverpool out of their passing game.

 

 

Hearts made it difficult in the opening stages without really threatening Reina’s goal. As the half wore on Liverpool started to grow into the game, with Sterling looking the most dangerous.

 

 

The best chances in the first half for Liverpool were a drive from Sterling which stung MacDonald’s hands after he cut in from the left.

 

 

Borini was thwarted by the Hearts stopper after being played through by Shelvey. Then a lovely pass by Henderson put Borini through on goal but the striker missed his kick completely.

 

 

The best chance off the half fell to Borini just before half-time when he hit the post after a great interception on the half way line by Sterling before unselfishly squaring to Borini who should have scored.

 

 

The second half started with Callum Paterson volleying close from a tight angle for the home side. Liverpool responded with Charlie Adam shooting into the hoardings at the other end.

 

 

Liverpool looked to take the sting out of the game as they knocked the ball around in defence for most of the second half, with only the exciting Raheem Sterling looking to provide a threat.

 

 

It wasn’t long before Brendan Rodgers made changes with Stewart Downing coming on for Jack Robinson, then Spearing making way for Joe Allen.

 

 

With the game looking very likely to finish without a goal, Martin Kelly made a great run forward in the 78th minute, before delivering a low inviting cross along the 6 yard box, which the unfortunate Andy Webster diverted into his own net after Fabio Borini had failed to connect in front of him.

 

 

Liverpool was grateful for the good fortune and Sterling tried to make it 2-0 after a tricky run on the edge of the box, but his shot was weak.

 

 

Liverpool survived a late scare when a good effort from Paterson was brilliantly palmed away by Reina to keep Liverpool’s slender lead intact for the second leg at Anfield, next week.

 

 

Summary

 

 

As expected Brendan Rodgers mixed his team with youth and experience. The game never turned out as comfortable as some experts predicted, as Hearts made it difficult for Liverpool.

 

 

Liverpool never looked convincing all night, and never created enough chances with only Borini up front. Liverpool’s defence looked solid enough, with Agger and Carragher in commanding form. Kelly and Robinson looked assured alongside them.

 

 

Some of the passing in midfield from Shelvey, Adam and Henderson was poor at times, with attacks breaking down too often.

 

 

Borini worked hard on scraps, but poor finishing let him down on a few occasions, when he should have scored.

 

 

But the star of the night was Raheem Sterling, who looked to take players on at every opportunity. He was dangerous cutting inside and also made some good runs to the bye-line. Liverpool supporters will want to see a lot more of this kid, as he looks a tremendous prospect.

 

 

A good away win against a team that was well up for the fight, especially with Liverpool fielding a makeshift team.

 

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