Pre-season prognosis: Liverpool vs Guangdong Sunray Cave
As we patiently await the launch of FPL 2011/2012 – and by patiently await I mean desperately will – Liverpool have been in pre-season action in the Far East.
Their opponents, Guangdong Sunray Cave FC, who we might be forgiven for confusing with the staff team at Coleen Rooney’s favourite tanning salon, were expected to offer little resistance to a Liverpool team which included Big Andy, Daniel Agger, and, making his debut, former Blackpool ace, Charlie Adam.
But Sunray Cave, it turns out, are plucky little buggers (must be all that vitamin D), and two late goals saw them come away from the game with their pride intact, the final score being a respectable 4-3 in favour of Liverpool.
So what can FPL managers who are keeping their blood-shot eyes on potential Liverpool players take from this match, if they can take anything at all?
Well, from an FPL perspective, the first half was about as useful as an ejector seat in a helicopter, with fringe players like Ngog, Spearing and Pacheco obscuring Dalglish’s Premier League master plan. There was even an unlikely goal from Christian Poulsen – from an even unlikelier source, Joe ‘I love playing video games’ Cole – to further convince me that I should have been doing something more constructive at one o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon.
However, after a first half which ended 2-1 to the Reds, the more interesting figures of Andy Carroll and Charlie Adam were thrown into the dragon’s den – in this case the catchily-named Guangdong Provincial People’s Stadium (brevity it seems isn’t a Chinese strong suit) – and as the home team began to tire, Liverpool increased their dominance.
A well-taken goal from Conor Coady was the reward for this pressure, the youngster latching on to a nice little pass from the now bearded Andy Carroll.
Anfield’s answer to Grizzly Adams then popped-up with a fourth, five minutes from time, following good link-up play with Maxi down the left flank.
The Geordie’s 45 minute run-out therefore resulted in a goal and an assist, and serves to remind those of us who didn’t vote for him recently in the strikers poll, of the damage he is capable of inflicting in a short space of time.
And with the addition of Stuart Downing to the Liverpool midfield, we can see a potential for big returns as the quality of the supporting play can only aid Carroll in what will surely be a starting role as an old fashioned centre forward.
In other areas of the pitch, fantasy managers will also be pleased to see the injury plagued Daniel Agger get a half under his belt, and the centre back looks set to resume a starting role at the heart of the Liverpool defence in just a few weeks time.
Agger is a player who many have avoided in previous season due to a hefty price tag. But a poor season last campaign could see a more modest price tag this time round, and the big Dane is always going to be a threat from set pieces, especially with Adam and Gerrard on the scene. I’m tipping Agger for a good season, which now surely means he’ll be a massive flop. Sorry Dan.
Those conspicuous by there absence were the much improved Lucas and Luis ‘mad dog’ Suarez, who needed extra time to recover from the Copa America.
How these two will fit into things when Liverpool return from their tour will be interesting, and I’ll try and keep you posted, but it’s fair to say there are many of us who are expecting big things from Suarez next year, who will surely find a regular role in Liverpool’s attacking line up. Just hope he doesn’t bite anyone next season. Savage.