6th November 2023
Losing comeback as Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette (twice) and Bradley Barcola decisively score after Fábio Carvalho’s 40th second Liverpool opener in the Dubai Super Cup 2022.
The Three Lions’ FIFA World Cup 2022 2-1 quarter-final reverse to France coincided with The Reds’ return. Ibrahima Konaté is The Reds’ sole remaining representative after Darwin Núñez (Uruguay – group stage), Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Jordan Henderson (Netherlands and England – quarter-final) were eliminated. All were unavailable for this fixture.
Jürgen Klopp named his strongest available XI but Calvin Ramsay was still not trusted to start whilst James Milner deputised for Alexander-Arnold. The two sides last met in July 2019, memorable for a rare Alisson Becker mistake and Harry Wilson scoring from 25 yards. Lyon possesses a couple of familiar foes, namely Lacazette (ex-Arsenal striker) and their manager Lauren Blanc (Manchester United, 2001–2003).
Frustratingly, I could neither start a subscription to LFCTV GO nor watch LFCTV on Sky Go. Consequently, I missed Carvalho converting in the first minute. Dream start.
Roberto Firmino was upended in the 18-yard area and the referee awarded a penalty. Surprisingly, Mo Salah tamely shot centrally, and Anthony Lopes repelled with his legs. Casual. Immediately, (what minute roughly is this) Salah nearly redeemed himself but headed over the crossbar.
Harvey Elliott miscued. Incidentally, he was then replaced by Melkamu Frauendorf. Caoimhin Kelleher produced his first routine save, parrying from Moussa Dembélé.
Lacazette equalised after miscommunication between Andy Robertson and Kelleher. Robertson inadvertently played the ball beyond the onrushing Kelleher, presenting the former Arsenal forward with an open goal. Robertson was unimpressed.
Inevitably, there were six substitutions after the restart. Namely, Adrían, Ramsay, Nat Phillips, Kostas Tsimikas, Bobby Clark, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as Klopp assesses his squad with attention fixated on Qatar.
Instantly, Ramsay impacted the Dubai Super Cup 2022, as he dribbled the ball infield, and his left-footed effort was just wide of the far bottom corner.
There were three more substitutions on the hour. Strikingly, Ben Doak was handed a half hour after his impressive cameo in the Carabao Cup Third Round home tie against Derby County. Moreover, Naby Keïta returned from his latest injury.
Yet, the deficit was overturned by Barcola, finessing the ball into the left corner. Then, it was a mirror image as he hit the upright and Tetê could not adjust his feet for the rebound.
Liverpool was unlikely to equalise after senior attackers had been withdrawn
Adríán denied Saël Kumbedi with his feet, but Lacazette emphatically “roofed” the ball into the net to seal the victory.
A shootout followed for a bonus point.
Tsimikas dispatched The Reds’ first penalty, less pressure than in the 2022 Emirates FA Cup Final against Chelsea!
Crucially, Ramsay’s was saved. Oxlade-Chamberlain (same corner as Derby) and Keïta succeeded, but Lyon was perfect.
Adrián won Liverpool the 2019 UEFA Super Cup via spot kicks, but not this time.
Liverpool play AC Milan next and will hope for an improved result, and more importantly, performance. Manchester City away awaits on 22 December. Núñez may be in the squad. Your Christmas dinner always tastes better if you win your fixture before. Afterwards, the Premier League returns. If only it was a standing start…