Liverpool cruised past Steaua Bucharest in the reds first Europa League group game in a real tale of two halves at Anfield.
Many fans stayed away from Anfield in a continued cup match protest at Liverpool’s owners efforts at refinancing, and Roy also gave some of the reds bigger names a night off. Torres and Gerrard were amongst the players who spent the game in their suits, as opposed to their tracksuits.
Joe Cole, who has now also completed his Premier League suspension, took the game by the scruff of the neck when he latched on to some sloppy Romanian defending to send Liverpool into a 1-0 lead after just 27 seconds – his first, of hopefully many, Liverpool goals.
But despite this promising start the reds were lacklustre in the first half, with Steaua having the better of the play.
The reds defence was cleverly unpicked in the 13th minute when a slide through-ball found Tanase who flicked over Reina, the Captain for the evening.
Roy’s frustration was clear to see on the touchline, but the second half was an entirely different affair.
Heading towards the Kop, the reds regained a sense of vigour, and when Kyrgiakos was fouled David N’gog cooly dispatched the penalty to put the reds back in the driving seat.
Ryan Babel made way for Lucas Leiva, and three minutes after arriving on the pitch the Brazilian unleashed a brilliant shot and the goal of the night. The match was won.
The reds had time to add a fourth in injury time when N’gog grabbed his 2nd of the game, and his 6th goal in 7 starts for the reds this season.
Liverpool can play much better but it will be of some comfort that even without the players the press tells us we can’t live without, we actually can.
Team: Reina, Konchesky, Kelly, Agger, Kyrgiakos, Spearing, Meireles, Babel (Leiva 78), Rodriguez (Pacheco 85), Cole (Eccleston 88), Ngog
Subs unused: Jones, Carragher, Johnson, Shelvey
Ref: Muniz Fernandez