Liverpool 2-0 Olympiakos: Reds Secure Victory in Steven Gerrard Testimonial

Steven GerrardAnfield paid tribute and showed their appreciation to one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players, Steven Gerrard, at his testimonial match against Olympiakos. Goals from Joe Allen in the first half and Jordan Henderson in the second half capped a superb day for the Liverpool captain.

Although the match commemorated Gerrard’s 15 years at Liverpool, it was still an important one in terms of match fitness for Brendan Rodgers and his squad as they prepare for the start of the new season. Rodgers started a team that looked like one that could start in Liverpool’s first game of the season. Mignolet, Enrique, Agger, Toure, Johnson, Lucas, Allen, Coutinho, Sterling and Aspas started alongside Gerrard. The Liverpool captain was welcomed by a guard of honor formed by both sets of players prior to kick-off and a standing ovation from the Anfield faithful as they saluted their hero. Liverpool enjoyed plenty of possession in the early stages with loud cheers every time Gerrard received a touch of the ball. Joe Allen flashed a shot wide in the game’s first real effort.

Moments later, Joe Allen pounced on a sloppy pass from the visitors before releasing new signing Iago Aspas, but the striker’s effort was blocked away. Gerrard had the crowd excited when he lined up a long range drive but his effort was off target. Then Gerrard had a joke with referee Hasey when the unfortunate referee intercepted one of his passes.

Aspas showed a lovely bit of skill when he cleverly beat his marker before shooting into the side-netting, with Joe Allen again providing the assist, as his attacking runs forward were providing a big threat to the Greeks. Liverpool continued to attack with Sterling and Coutinho combining in a counter-attack before Sterling’s weak shot was easily saved by the keeper.

Liverpool should have taken the lead when an extravagant flick by Aspas found Allen in the center of the penalty area, but the midfielder side-footed his volley over the bar. Fortunately for the Premier League side, Allen made no mistake just moments later in the when he tapped home an Aspas low drive across the face of goal, giving Liverpool a deserved lead on the 23rd minute.

Liverpool looked to be enjoying themselves with the goal, which certainly encouraged them even more. It was Glen Johnson who was next to try his luck from long range, but his strike just missed the far corner. Brendan Rodgers continued with the same eleven players to start the second half. Liverpool continued to attack their visitors as Coutinho glided past a couple of defenders before shooting towards the far post, but Olympiakos goalkeeper Balázs Megyeri saved comfortably.

Liverpool-v-Olympiacos-Steven-Gerrard-Testimonial-2120092The lively Raheem Sterling curled a shot wide, as he continued to impress this pre-season, before watching his lob go agonizingly wide of the post. The Anfield crowd showed great appreciation towards the introduction of Luis Suarez and Jamie Carragher.  Jordan Henderson also made his entry for Joe Allen, and within seconds, made it 2-0 for Liverpool after finishing off a move involving good work from Sterling.

Henderson almost scored his second goal moments later but shot straight at the keeper. Jose Enrique was thwarted by the keeper in the next attack after finding space in the box. With 15 minutes remaining, the Kop saluted a former favorite when Robbie Fowler was introduced, and the crowd was on its feet when Gerrard slipped the ball through to Fowler, whose quick strike was deflected wide for a corner.

With six minutes remaining, Steven Gerrard was replaced by Jay Spearing to a standing ovation as he left the field and finished off an emotional day for the Liverpool skipper. The match ended with the score of 2-0 in another impressive performance for Liverpool, but the day was all about Steven Gerrard.

The Liverpool supporters paid their respects with a tremendous turn out at Anfield for Steven Gerrard’s testimonial. Liverpool treated the match seriously as they showed great energy and commitment from the start as Olympiakos were pegged back for most of the game. Rodgers started the match with eleven players that will probably start the match against Stoke and he gave them an hour before making the expected substitutions.

Aspas looked lively up front and Sterling is showing great confidence in his play that lacked at times last season. Joe Allen was very impressive as he starred in an attacking midfield role and should have scored a hat-trick in the first half, but it was good to see him score and get into forward positions.

Lucas is looking back to his best as he thwarted countless Olympiakos attacks. A great finish by Henderson after just coming on, he could be an important player for Liverpool this season as he looks much more confident. Overall, it was a good performance by the team and a special day for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin