Something a little different today as Jack Hallows was lucky enough to be at the ANZ Stadium for Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Sydney FC – here’s his ‘match day experience.’
What an experience. Living in Australia, it’s not often I get the chance to see the Reds play live in the flesh, so you can imagine how quickly I snapped up some tickets when this went on sale. I didn’t care what I had to pay, I just knew I needed to go.
To see a number of my favourite first team players – Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Jöel Matip all featured – while also being given the chance to see some of our brightest future talents – TAA, Ben Woodburn, Wilson – up close was absolutely awesome. Then, of course, to finally get to see the likes of Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and Steve McManaman themselves in the flesh. There are simply no words.
Admittedly, I was a little worried when I heard that Klopp had decided to bring a few legends down under with him. A game scheduled for just a couple of days after our final Premier League fixture with a bunch of legends thrown in just sounded like he wouldn’t be taking it at all seriously. You can imagine how happy I was then to see that only Grujic, Can and Coutinho of the fit first team squad would not be travelling to Australia due to upcoming international commitments.
The rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone that was belted out by almost 73,000 people was honestly spine-tingling. This is what football is about. To bring people together and unite them as one for 90 minutes. I’ve always wanted to go to Anfield to see the boys play – I’ve only ever seen them play away from home sadly – and this only served to fuel my desire to go when I’m next back in England.
The atmosphere was genuinely impressive by the time we finally kicked off and the gulf in class was immediately evident. While the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn and Harry Wilson all put in a solid first 45, Sturridge, Firmino and Gerrard just found it too easy. 1-0 up in the eighth minute courtesy of some dancing feet and a smart finish from Sturridge and it’s safe to say I was ecstatic.
Firmino and Sturridge continued to just toy with the Sydney defence and it wasn’t long before Moreno made one of his many marauding runs forward into the box. Firmino spotted him immediately and proceeded to dink a gorgeous, lofted, outside of the boot pass into his path and the Spanish finished it emphatically. 2-0 Liverpool.
The game slowed a little at this point as Sydney managed to overcome the initial shock of going two goals behind but there was still time for Sturridge to once again leave his defender for dead, this time putting the ball across the six-yard box for Firmino to flick past the stranded goalkeeper. 3-0 – game, set, match.
There were calls for a pair of penalties as Sturridge and Gerrard were both sent sprawling in the box by what looked to be fouls on both occasions but the referee waved play on for both occurrences. What a sight that would’ve been, a Stevie G penalty special just for old times sakes.
The second half wasn’t quite as entertaining as Klopp opted to make a number of changes. However, the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Woodburn, Matip and Rhian Brewster all impressed as the Reds looked to try and find a fourth goal to appease the crowd.
Woodburn and Connor Randall of all people both came close with Sydney’s goalkeeper making a pair of fine saves but in the end, it wasn’t to be. 3-0 to the Reds at full time.
Klopp ensured his team embarked on a victory lap around the entire stadium to say thank you to the fans who stayed but really, it was us who should’ve said thank you. Thank you for flying all this way for such a short time to give us an absolute masterclass of a performance and allowing us to see our favourite players – past, present and future – up close and personal.
Thank you, Liverpool FC. Thank you.