Liverpool, Toronto FC Draw 1-1 in Friendly

Liverpool, Toronto FC Draw 1-1 in Friendly Brendan Rodgers began his reign as Liverpool manager with a 1-1 draw against Toronto FC in their friendly at the Rogers Centre in Canada.

The Reds recovered from a goal behind to claim a draw with the Major League Soccer side, who took the lead through Quincy Amarikwa but were pegged back by Adam Morgan.

Brendan Rodgers took the opportunity to give 23 players a taste of the action during his first match as Liverpool boss, which also served as the opening fixture of the team’s tour of North America and Canada.

There was an early chance for the Reds when Dani Pacheco was found free on the left edge of the area by Nathan Eccleston after 2 minutes, but the Spanish forward’s cross was cleared.

The hosts, who are midway through their MLS season, had seen little of the ball during the opening seven minutes but created the first genuine opportunity of the match with their maiden attack.

Experienced German midfielder Torsten Frings found Luis Silva with a dinked ball forward and his header back was met by strike partner Ryan Johnson, whose placed shot was tipped around the post by a stretching Brad Jones.

Pacheco was proving to be an effective option for the Reds in a wide-left position, with both Charlie Adam and Alberto Aquilani showing their passing repertoire to find the 21-year-old on a regular basis.

A pinpoint through ball from Adam split the Toronto defence to find Eccleston free in behind but his header drifted wide of Freddy Hall‘s goal, before Pacheco produced a carbon copy run and delivery from the left which was claimed by the goalkeeper.

The Reds had a big claim for a penalty in the 34th minute after terrific work by Jose Enrique. The full-back dribbled past two challenges and saw his cross-shot strike Terry Dunfield‘s arm but the referee, Paul Ward, was unmoved.

Pacheco failed to make the most of more time and space after being found by another Adam pass, with his centre towards Aquilani lacking the necessary accuracy to set up the Italian midfielder.

With two minutes of the first half remaining, Pacheco tried to force his way into the Toronto area but both of his efforts at goal were blocked before the opening period concluded.

Rodgers completely changed his line-up at the break, introducing 11 different players for the second half, while Toronto coach Paul Mariner — a former England international — made 10 substitutions for the home side.

Raheem Sterling took Pacheco’s place on the left and set about emulating his teammate immediately, finding space for a cross but not finding a colleague in the area.

On 58 minutes, the Reds fell a goal behind after one of Toronto’s half-time substitutes, Amarikwa, found the net from close range to put the home side ahead.

Andrew Wiedeman made a driving run from midfield and was afforded too much room to drill a shot from distance towards goal which Peter Gulacsi could only parry into the path of Amarikwa, who tapped home an easy finish.

Suso, fresh from UEFA U19 Championship glory with Spain, tried to bring the Reds on terms immediately, showing excellent technique to beat two defenders and force a save from Quillan Roberts with a shot from the edge of the box.

Four minutes later, Liverpool were level through a goal created and finished by two of the young stars hoping to impress Rodgers during the Reds’ three-match tour.

Joe Cole picked out Sterling, whose superb skill took him past his marker and his shot beat Roberts and appeared to have enough power to reach the goal, but Morgan was on hand to make sure from two yards out.

Another well-timed run from Wiedeman on 81 minutes almost secured a second goal for the hosts, but his shot was saved by Gulacsi. Cole sent a free-kick from a promising position high and wide with two minutes on the clock and Suso tested Roberts in stoppage time, but neither side could muster a winner.

Picture via Twitter/@MostarLFC