Reds maintain winning run
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Liverpool continued their 100 per cent pre-season with a 2-0 win over Auxerre.
Liverpool maintained their 100 per cent pre-season record as they secured a 2-0 win over Auxerre.
The Reds' victory is unlikely to live long in the memory, but it made it four wins out of four as they build up to the start of their Premier League campaign away at Aston Villa on August 11th.
Goals either side of the break from Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger earned Liverpool the victory in the final match of their pre-season tour of Switzerland.
The first-half had begun at a tepid tempo and this was to remain for the entire 90 minutes with both sides apparently content to give their opponents time to maintain possession in a drab affair.
It was Auxerre who threatened first when Toifilou Maoulida tested Liverpool's 19-year-old Bulgarian goalkeeper Nikolai Mihailov, who was making his debut, from range on 15 minutes.
The Reds looked disjointed and failed to threaten as a succession of scrappy passes went astray.
As always, Dirk Kuyt was all energy up front with Andrei Voronin, who showed signs of creativity, but the pair failed to stretch the Auxerre defence.
Rafa Benitez attempted to shake things up by switching the ineffective Ryan Babel and Yossi Benayoun, who were making their first Liverpool starts, on the flanks but this was to no avail.
Inevitably, it was Liverpool's captain Gerrard who woke the Reds from their slumberous performance when on the stroke of half-time he collected a Steve Finnan pass, which had been well dummied by Babel, to give his side the lead from 10 yards.
Benitez made numerous changes for the second-half with Fernando Torres and Peter Crouch coming on as the new strike partnership.
After the interval, though, Auxerre were again the first to threaten as the dangerous Maoulida broke the off-side trap, but Liverpool left-back John Arne Riise showed good awareness to make a well-timed recovery tackle.
The Liverpool defence was again exposed on 56 minutes when Agger was pulled out of position and Gabriel Paletta was out-paced by the swiftness of the Auxerre attack, but Maoulida rushed and wasted the opportunity.
Liverpool then made the game safe 21 minutes before the end when centre-back Agger arrived unmarked to head in from a Nabil El Zhar corner.