We should have anticipated that going from a MLS team, and a bottom-feeding one at that, that was treating that friendly as a chance to blood players that couldn't crack that lineup, to basically a full-strength Serie A one that might challenge for a Champions League spot was going to be rough. It was only going to get rougher as it was still Liverpool's deep reserves and Academy stars that were going out there against them. It wasn't disaster, but it was certainly a step back from Saturday north of the 49th.
-When the Spearing-Aquilani-Shelvey midfield was tossed out there to start, you knew there would be some issues as there was no natural ball-winner in it. God bless Spearing, he tries and tries, but he just seems to be a tweener. Whatever, only preseason, time to experiment. And what we did find out is that as the most advanced midfielder, Shelvey can create some things. Where did those feet and touch come from? Inventive, creative, dangerous. Good night for the bald Jonjo. At the same time, Aquilani took his time figuring out the slightly deeper role. Somewhere about the half hour mark he started pinging passes around and opened up chances for Cole and Shelvey. I'm sure Brendan Rodgers will be happy to know that Aqua doesn't always have to be the most advanced of the middle three.
-Let's stick with good performances, and that continues with Danny Pacheco. Not as much jinking runs as against Toronto, but not nearly as many ruined with a terrible final ball either. He set up Adam's goal as well with an intelligent layoff. At some point either Pacheco is contributing to the 1st team or he's not. I don't think another loan spell is going to help, and if he can be something of a dynamic sub off the bench this season, that would be ok with me. But we're still a long way from finding that out.
-I'm not going to get in a twist about the goals conceded, as they both came from an inexperienced defender playing out of position at left back. When up against Lamala and co, that was only going one way.
-Still, disconcerting that Michael Bradley, who could play all three central midfield spots when needed, was brought to Roma for a pittance compared to what Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, and probably Joe Allen will cost. And Bradley is better, or will be better, than all of them.
-Charlie Adam and Joe Cole were both better than they were at Rogers Center, but that doesn't mean they were necessarily good. We'll know more of what Rodgers thinks of them when the top of the squad starts getting games this Saturday, as you'd expect they would.
-I thought that McLaughlin kid at right back had a decent performance, and certainly got forward at every chance. Keep an eye on the next couple years?
-So....how many more awful Enrique performances in the preseason do we need to see before we worry about whether or not left back is settled?
-John Flanagan looked a lot more assured than he has in the past, but again, preseason. Making a mistake isn't the end of the world in these.
-Starting to get worried what happens if a couple injuries strike the front line this year. Because in Morgan and Eccelston, that ain't much. Yet another reason punting Carroll along doesn't make sense at the current time.
Should see something far more resembling the first team on Saturday, or at least I hope we do. I think I've had enough glimpses of the Expendable Reds for this season.