Final, 1-0 Liverpool: It’s over at Soldier Field. Liverpool downs Olympiacos.
Travel and general rust seemed to take its toll on Liverpool’s players, as they failed to build on the lead Sterling gave them five minutes into the contest. Liverpool and Olympiacos were on equal footing in terms of possession and territory for most of the game. Aside from Sterling’s goal, both teams created a few chances but lacked the sharpness and composure to finish them off.
The silver lining is that many likely (week one) starters played valuable minutes in Liverpool’s first International Champions Cup game. They showed that Rodgers’ philosophy and principles remain firmly in place.
Liverpool joins Manchester City atop its group in the Champions Cup with three points. The Premier League rivals will meet Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in New York City.
That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.
90th minute +4, 1-0 Liverpool: Jones makes an important save.
The Reds counter-attack, and Allen misses from close range after Ibe slots a pass his way.
90th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: There will be a minimum of four minutes of added time in the second half.
85th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Olympiacos is enjoying the majority of possession as the game reaches its closing stages.
80th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Bouchalakis takes the ball from Allen in the midfield, surges into the Liverpool penalty area and evades Coates’ tackle.
Bouchalakis might have scored, but Jones raced off his line to break up play before he could set up his shot.
76th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Coutinho tests Olympiacos with a long-range shot but misses narrowly wide.
74th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Ibe and Lambert come on for Liverpool. Sturridge and Sterling depart.
Olympiacos makes some more changes, too.
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73rd minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Sturridge is dispossessed in the midfield by Andre Bouchalakis. The Greek midfielder turns, dribbles and shoots wide.
67th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: The Reds focused their attack on the right for much of the first half, but the opposite appears to be the case in the second period.
Coutinho (who is on the left of the front three) has been the focal point of several attacking moves.
62nd minute, 1-0 Liverpool: More changes for Liverpool.
Lucas replaces Gerrard. Coates is a substitute for Toure, and Kelly comes on for Johnson.
Olympiacos also makes more substitutions.
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57th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Papadopoulos shoots wide of Jones’ goal. It wasn’t far off.
57th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: After the Greek club set off some early fireworks, the second half is settling into a rhythm, which the teams appear to be able to manage.
Much of the play is confined to the middle third of the field, and neither team has opened up the opposing defense.
51st minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Olympiacos put more pressure on Liverpool’s defense, as winger Mathieu Dossevi dribbles into the Reds’ area but shoots wide.
50th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Olympiacos winger Gevorg Ghazaryan fires a shot off the crossbar. Olympiacos caught the Reds on the counter-attack and nearly tied the score.
46th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: The second half is underway.
Liverpool made three substitutions at halftime. Robinson, Allen and Coutinho enter. Enrique, Can and Markovic exit.
Olympiacos made four substitutions at halftime.
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Halftime, 1-0 Liverpool: That’s the end of the first half. Liverpool leads Olympiacos by one.
As expected, Liverpool showed some rust in the first half of its first International Champions Cup game, but the Reds also displayed some of the qualities that it used to take the Premier League by storm. The Reds were honest (albeit imperfect) defensively, and countered with lighting-speed. They created a few scoring chances, but lacked the sharpness to add to the scoreline.
Sterling showed great anticipation, speed and composure with his goal. Markovic showed similar qualities in a lively first 45 minutes of his Liverpool career.
Olympiacos is further along in its preseason and participation in this tournament. Its players are fitter and more willing to take a physical approach to the game, as the first half suggests.
45th minute +1, 1-0 Liverpool: Johnson is cautioned for a tackle he made before Olympiacos’ sweeping move.
The Liverpool fullback can’t believe he has been punished for it.
43rd minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Salino is cautioned for a hybrid tackle/drag-down on Sturridge.
39th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Diamantakos collects a short corner kick near the edge of Liverpool’s area, dribbles and shoots, but his effort goes wide of Jones’ goal.
37th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Markovic dribbles past two defenders into the Olympiacos penalty area but the Serbian misses the target with a right-footed shot.
35th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Saviola is cautioned for diving.
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A few minutes ago, the Argentine went down easily after Gerrard appeared to trip him. Gerrard was unhappy in that instance and told the referee how he felt about Saviola’s antics.
30th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: After a half-hour, we’re seeing glimpses of one of Liverpool’s primary systems.
When Olympiacos has the ball, the Reds are defending compactly with nine men moving as a unit. When the Reds regain possessoin, they look to break forward with speed.
Sturridge is the tip of the spear, while Sterling and Markovic blaze forward every chance they get.
The Reds haven’t been sharp enough in the final third to turn these breaks into scoring chances, but the danger is there for all to see.
28th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Sturridge bamboozles a defender with a dribble inside Olympiacos’ penalty area but he fires his shot high and wide.
22nd minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Sturridge shoots the ensuing free kick into the Greek wall. Gerrard arrives at the rebound and volleys it wide from 25 yards out.
21st minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Markovic surges forward with the ball, showing great pace, power and dribbling ability.
Siovas hacks down the Liverpool winger as he nears the Olympiacos penalty area. The referee cautions Siovas for the foul.
17th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: The teams have been about even in terms of possession and territory in recent minutes, and neither has created any scoring chances from it.
It’s a hot day in Chicago, and the temperature likely is taking its toll on the players, as the pace of the game remains in first or second gear.
Ninth minute, 1-0 Liverpool: After playing the role of passengers for most of the first 10 minutes, Olympiacos finally has its first spell of possession.
Fifth minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Sterling pounces on a deflection, slots his shot past Megyeri and puts Liverpool in front.
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Gerrard slipped a pass forward to Sturridge, and the Liverpool striker turn and shot from 20 yards out. Sturridge effort deflected off of Abidal, but Sterling darted into the box, arrived at the rebound and knocked it home.
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Fourth minute, 0-0: Once the Reds finally make a foray into the Greeks’ half, Johnson earns a free kick on the edge of Olympiacos’ penalty area.
A defender clears Gerrard’s ensuing free kick.
Third minute, 0-0: Liverpool is controlling possession in the early moments, but the Reds haven’t been able to carry that possession deep into Olympiacos’ half.
First minute, 0-0: Liverpool-Olympiacos is underway.
Pregame: Liverpool’s lineup against Olympiacos bears a lot greater resemblance to Rodgers’ first-choice 11 than the one the Reds’ boss used in the first game of his team’s 2014 U.S. Tour.
Gerrard will captain the team and play as as holding midfielder, while Can and Henderson join him in the center.
Markovic, a £20 million ($34 million) summer signing, makes his first appearance in a Liverpool jersey.
Olympiacos’ starting 11 includes former Barcelona players, Eric Abidal and Javier Saviola. Abidal joined the Greek club from Monaco this summer.
For those of you looking for the game, FOX Sports 2 will air the beginning of the game before FOX Sports 1 picks it up.
5:45 p.m.: Here are the lineups:
Brad Jones (1), goalkeeper
Jose Enrique (3), left back
Martin Skrtel (37), center back
Kolo Toure (4), center back
Glen Johnson (2), right back
Steven Gerrard (8), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Emre Can (23), midfielder
Raheem Sterling (31), forward
Lazar Markovic (50), forward
Daniel Sturridge (15), striker
Danny Ward (52), goalkeeper
Jack Robinson (49), defender
Sebastian Coates (16), defender
Martin Kelly (34), defender
Lucas Leiva (21), midfielder
Joe Allen (24), midfielder
Philippe Coutinho (10), midfielder
Jordon Ibe (33), forward
Kristof Peterson (54), forward
Connor Coady (35), striker
Rickie Lambert (9), striker
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3 p.m. ET: Liverpool begins its participation in the International Champions Cup on Sunday when it faces Olympiacos at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Liverpool continues to build its fitness and sharpness, as the start of the 2014-15 season nears. The Olympiacos game marks an inflection point in the Reds’ preseason because some players who represented their country at the 2014 FIFA World Cup could see their first action of the preseason.
This group includes the likes of England’s Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Glen Johnson and Raheem Sterling as well as France’s Mamdou Sakho and Spain’s Pepe Reina.
Olympiacos will be the first of at least three opponents Liverpool will face in the International Champions Cup. The Reds also will take on Manchester City in New York City on Wednesday and AC Milan in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday. If Liverpool wins its group, it then will travel to Miami where it will compete in the final on Aug. 2. For Liverpool, it all starts with Sunday’s contest against the Greek powerhouse, Olympiacos.
The game kicks off at 6 p.m. Join us right here for all the action from Soldier Field.
Photo via Twitter/@IndoStevieG