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Friday, 21 September 2012
Young Boys 3 Liverpool FC 5 - Young Boys of Bren shine
THE Europa League maybe a long way down on Brendan Rodgers’ list of priorities but it provided a welcome injection of positivity into Liverpool FC’s season last night.
The Kop kids did themselves proud against the Young Boys as the Reds got their Group A campaign off to a victorious start with a rollercoaster victory in Bern.
LFC celebrate in Bern
Young Boys Bern 3 Liverpool FC 5, Europa League (pics: Andy Teebay)
Rodgers’ gamble to leave virtually his entire first choice line up at home paid off handsomely, although the manager was put through the wringer at the Stade de Suisse before the points were finally wrapped up.
Liverpool marked their 100th appearance in the different guises of this competition by enjoying their most prolific night in Europe since Besiktas were thrashed 8-0 in the Champions League five years ago.
Of course delight was tempered by some abject defending which enabled Young Boys to lead 3-2 midway through the second half.
But an experimental line up dug deep to ensure LFC will go into Sunday’s league clash with Manchester United on a high.
Few of those involved last night will face United but Jonjo Shelvey certainly staked a claim for inclusion with a majestic double after coming off the bench.
Rodgers could also be hugely satisfied with the efforts of those who were making their senior bows.
Andre Wisdom more than justified his inclusion with a composed display at right-back.
The 19-year-old Academy graduate, who has climbed above Jon Flanagan in the pecking order in recent weeks, showed no sign of nerves on his big night.
Wisdom capped his memorable debut with a goal and further chances in this competition for both him and Suso, who showcased his qualities in an advanced central midfield role, are bound to follow.
Similarly, there was plenty to admire about Oussama Assaidi’s first outing for the club. The Morocco international, who was bought from Heerenveen for £3million this summer, was full of energy and invention down the flanks before understandably fading after the break.
In fact it was some of those senior players who Rodgers was looking to lead by example who failed to produce the goods and made this a more difficult evening than it needed to be.
Martin Kelly and Glen Johnson can rest easy after Jose Enrique’s erratic display at left-back, while Stewart Downing will surely be another asked to take a seat and watch Sunday’s showdown unfold.
As well as giving debuts to Wisdom, Suso and Assaidi, Rodgers handed Dani Pacheco his first start for the club since the Europa League game against Utrecht in December 2010.
Liverpool have bemoaned their luck in front of goal so far this season but there were no complaints last night as they were gifted the lead inside four minutes in farcical fashion.
When Downing delivered from the right, there was no Reds player in sight. However, in his efforts to clear Christoph Spycher powered a header into the face of team-mate Juhani Ojala and keeper Marco Wolfli was left helpless as the ball cannoned into the net.
That comedy of errors provided the perfect start for Rodgers’ side but they were soon indebted to Brad Jones for protecting their advantage. After Raul Bobadilla burst clear it took a fine finger tip save from the Australian to deny him.
With Nuri Sahin dictating the game in midfield, the Reds appeared in control and Assaidi went close when his 20-yarder was deflected just past the post.
by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
Sep 21 2012