The Aviva Stadium was turned into red for a post-season friendly, one that had been announced pretty early on in the season. It gave a chance for fans to come and celebrate the achievements of a team that's done so well this year.
Though our players headed to the World Cup were given a rest and didn't travel, it gave fans a chance to see what was to come, with Brendan Rodgers taking mostly youth players with him to the Irish capital, with the only players involved with any sort of first team experience being Martin Kelly, Joe Allen and Lucas, while Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, and Phillipe Coutinho traveled, they were left out of the squad.
Brendan Rodgers claimed before the game that the players involved would "play themselves into contention" for places next season, and that was apparent with his selections. Ryan McGlaughlin and Brad Smith played right and left wing back respectively, while Conor Coady, and Jordon Ibe complimented Lucas and Allen in midfield, while Rafa Paez, who came last year from Real Madrid, made his first team debut, and Brad Jones was captain.
If Brendan's words were anything to go by, the players took it to heart, and it didn't take long for us to break the deadlock. We bossed possession and made it count, just eight minutes in, a great through ball from Brad Smith gave Jordon Ibe space to run at his defender on the left, who he beat to the byline and pulled the ball back for Iago Aspas, who had naught but a tap in from a few yards out to put us 1-0 up.
We continued to exploit that left side, mostly through Ibe but both Smith and McGlaughlin were getting high up into the box on either side.
Fabio Borini was on form as well, and was unlucky to score shortly after Iago's goal when he rounded the 'keeper, though cut off his own angle with a heavy touch.
Though we didn't have many other clear cut chances in the first half, we continued to have the edge in possession, and a second goal seemed inevitable. And it was Jordon Ibe turned provider again, three minutes after the break, as he slipped an excellent ball to Borini from the top of the box, and the Italian finished coolly into the opposite corner with a bit of help from the post.
Substitutions came shortly after that. Joao Carlos Teixera and Cameron Brannagan came on for Allen and Lucas at half time, but Connor Randall replaced Ryan McGlaughlin on 63.
And it was from a corner that we had a third. With about 15 to go, the first ball was cleared, but played back in, where Martin Kelly finished on the half volley at the back post, not dissimilar to a goal Martin Skrtel scored against Cardiff earlier in the season.
Jack Dunn, Kris Peterson, and Jordan Williams would get their debuts with 10 to go, replacing Iago Aspas, Borini, and Rafa Paez.
And it would be Jack Dunn who would make his moment, as on 82, just four minutes after his introduction, he was put through on the right by Connor Randall, and made no mistake as he put the ball into the left side of the net. This seems to be his M.O. however, with 10 goals in the U21 league this year, he's the team's top scorer, and one of the most exciting prospects of the youth team.
And so, that's how the match finished, with the reds officially ending their season on a high. Now the team can concentrate on the World Cup, our next match being in July in Boston to kick off their American tour.
Man Of The Match: Jordon Ibe. Two assists for the first two goals, and three missed half chances of his own, we seemed to have cloned Raheem Sterling, and judging on this game, and a few previous appearances, it's easy to see why they say he could be as good, if not better than Raheem himself.