The Reds got off to a winning start in the Rotterdam Tournament when they beat Shanghai Shenhua 2-0. Fernando Torres opened his Reds account with a goal after twelve minutes of the game. Substutue Steven Gerrard then had an instant impact as he curled a superb goal on sixty three minutes.
The down side of the game was that it was played at a very slow pace and at this late stage of pre-season a faster work out is what's needed. Perhaps the second game against Feyenoord will be a better test for the players.
The Reds took the lead on twelve minutes. Benayoun played a lovely reverse ball through for Torres. He had beaten the offside trap and then as the keeper dived out he dinked the ball up and over them. A well taken goal in front of the travelling Reds fans.
The Reds continued to dominate the game after that without massively troubling the Shenhua back line. Torres had a half shout for a penalty on the half hour but it looked more like a stumble from the Reds' striker.
At the other end the Reds' back line were rarely tested although for me Paletta looked a little too easily beaten on occasions. On one such occasion Ricard sneaked in behind the Argentine to latch on to a long ball. Paletta just about got back to put him under pressure and the ex-Boro striker hit it over the bar.
The second half turned in to more of a training session with only one great bit of skill from Gerrard resulting in his goal worth remembering. Gerrard arrived on 61 minutes in place of Sissoko. Crouch was replaced by Babel at the same time.
Gerrard was on the pitch for three minutes before scoring. He got the ball out of his feet well on the edge of the box before curling a great effort up and round the keeper.
The home crowd wanted just one thing from the Reds and that was Dirk Kuyt. They still love the player and they got their wish on seventy three minutes when he came on for Torres. Mascherano replaced Leiva and Arbeloa replaced Finnan at the same time. Every Kuyt touch was cheered. On the opposite end was Babel due to his Ajax connections.
The best opportunity for a further goal fell to Benayoun who was played in by Kuyt but having switched the ball back on to his opposite foot the Israeli found his chance gone.
All in all a win is good for confidence and the game gave the Reds a chance to gel more but they will be hoping for a stiffer challenge on Sunday. With the result in the other game being a no scre draw the Reds also know that a win would allow them to win the tournament.