Liverpool drew with Valerenga in a pulsating encounter in the sunshine of the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo, Norway.
Valerenga are mid way through their season and would provide another stern fitness test, as Kenny reshuffled the pack – giving more of the senior players a longer run out than in previous friendlies.
Before the game a period of silence was held for the victims of the tragic recent events in Norway, and the Liverpool players laid flowers behind the goal.
Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Robinson, Adam, Henderson, Downing, Kuyt, Spearing, Carroll
The reds started brightly, with Downing on the right and putting some slick passing together in a good opening 10 minute spell.
Glen Johnson was one of the returning players, after an absence with injury, and he suffered with positioning and pace in a dramatic spell which saw the reds go 2-0 down.
A ball played through to the wing, saw Johnson too far away from his man, who slid the cross into the penalty area. Carragher couldn’t reach the ball and the Norwegian’s took an easy 1-0 lead.
Moments later, and an almost identical position saw Johnson beaten, and then Agger and Adam attempt to go for the block. Adam declared the culprit with the Valerenga player who was awarded a relatively soft penalty. They duly converted the penalty to take a 2-0 lead.
Downing, Adam and a thunderbolt from Agger were all good chances from Liverpool in the first half, and gradually the reds got themselves back involved in the game – after the initial shock of conceding twice against the run of play.
Shortly before half time the reds pulled one goal back, a great cross from Downing found Carroll who controlled with his chest and a little bit of arm before firing in with his right arm.
Reina, Johnson (Kelly 68), Carragher, Agger, Robinson (Flanagan 68), Adam (Shelvey 68), Henderson (Aquilani 78), Downing (Sterling 78), Kuyt, Spearing, Carroll (Ngog 78)
No changes in personnel during the half time break – although Liverpool altered formation, swopping Downing and Kuyt back on to opposing wings.
Adam went closest early on when he fired a 25 yard shot towards the goal.
Just before the 70th minute the reds made some changes, and Shelvey added some freshness to the midfield as the reds upped the tempo.
With just under 15 minutes left a further trio were sent on, Aquilani and youngster Raheem Sterling amongst them.
Aquilani made an immediate impact, a chest and a powerful swerving volley from him was tipped wide. From the resultant corner Aquilani found Agger’s head, and the Dane powered in the equaliser.
Liverpool took a brief lead moments later, from an almost exact replica. Aquilani shot forcing the corner, again the Italian took the corner, this time Kuyt heading on from the front post to find Agger smash in the reds third.
Into injury time though, a swerving shot from Valerenga unusually beat Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal to share the spoils in the reds penultimate pre-season friendly.
Plenty to take positives from, although the reds have now conceded 3 goals in all five pre-season clashes. Liverpool will be hoping to iron out some of these defensive problems ahead of the weekend’s friendly against Valencia.
Alberto Aquilani continues to provide food for thought – especially with the elongated absence of Steven Gerrard.