Coutinho and Raheem Sterling were the scorers in a good testing workout against an Indonesian eleven. Coutinho scored early in the match before Sterling finished off the resilient Indonesian side late before an excited Indonesian support in Jakarta who enjoyed the visit from their heroes.
Liverpool must have felt like that they were back home at Anfield with the unbelievable support behind them in Jakarta. Steven Gerrard made his comeback from injury and was warmly welcomed by the tremendous support. Liverpool were inspired by the vocal and passionate support and scored an early goal when Brazilian Coutinho found the net after a lucky ricocheted ball allowed him into the box before sliding it in under Meiga. The match provided Liverpool with a more difficult test than the previous week against Preston, as they had to work harder to maintain their lead in the extreme heat against an industrious Indonesian side. Liverpool came close to extending their lead when Downing met an Enrique cross with a side-foot volley, but Meiga did well to smother. Moments later Luis Alberto beat Meiga but hit the woodwork.
Liverpool continued to threaten the Indonesian goal as Aspas created space for himself before smashing a shot off the top of the crossbar. The hosts nearly equalized when Sergio Van Dijk’s audacious strike called Mignolet into action. The striker drilled a 30 yard effort, which Mignolet did well to glance wide of his post. 10 minutes into the second half almost brought a second Liverpool goal, but as Aspas rounded Meiga, the ball bobbled up and the striker fired high and wide. Coutinho was having another impressive display and he almost scored his second goal of the match when Aspas created a chance for the Brazilian, but for once, Coutinho lacked composure as he scooped his effort over the crossbar.
Rodgers made wholesale changes with 25 minutes to go, as match fitness is so important at this stage of the season. Raheem Sterling was one of those introduced and made an immediate impact when he skipped past an opponent before firing a 30 yard effort that soared just wide. Sterling became the second player to hit the crossbar when he powerfully shot the ball after Borini had failed to make contact from Assaidi’s cross. Sterling was causing all sorts of problems for the Indonesian defense with his movement, and he later smashed an effort into the side-netting after running behind the Indonesian defense.
But the youngster wasn’t to be denied of his goal, when good work by Ibe found Assaidi with only Meiga to beat, but the Moroccan unselfishly slipped the ball to Sterling, who tucked the ball into the gaping net. The match proved a good test for Liverpool as they step up their pre-season, and now the squad move onto Australia, where they will face Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.
It was good test for Liverpool against an industrious Indonesian side in difficult conditions with the heat. Steven Gerrard’s comeback was very pleasing for Liverpool supporters, but he did look a little rusty as he began his pre-season, which could only be expected. Mignolet was more tested and looked impressive in what he had to deal with: a few good saves and commanding his penalty area at cross balls.
Toure was solid at the back and made some good interceptions. Coutinho was once again very impressive and picked out those defense splitting passes at will. Aspas is a good addition to the side and a tricky player that can conjure up chances on his own. Alberto showed some good work that presented his value to the team and was unlucky not to score. But like last weekend, Raheem Sterling impressed when coming off the bench with his energy, attitude, and directness to attack defenders with his pace. His goal capped a fine performance as he must be impressing Brendan Rodgers with his sharpness. Liverpool’s pre-season is gradually building momentum, and the trip to Australia will be another good test in this busy pre-season for the Reds.
Written by Jamie McLaughlin