Harry Kewell scored for Liverpool in his reserve comeback last night as Liverpool Reserves beat Newcastle Reserves 2-1 in Warrington.
The Aussie international has had his career blighted by injury under Rafael Benitez, and his last game in the Red shirt had been during pre-season. He looked amazingly sharp in the 45 minutes he was on the field, and took his goal like a player who’d never been away.
The Halliwell Jones Stadium once again saw a good-sized crowd for the fixture, 3,171 turning out to see some of Liverpool’s hopeful stars of the future alongside Liverpool’s hopeful star of, well, as soon as possible.
Kewell only played the first 45 minutes, seeming taking a knock shortly before half-time, and it’s not clear whether his substitution at half-time was pre-planned or as a result of that knock. Knowing Harry’s luck it won’t have been planned. Harry’s half-time replacement was Dutch youngster Jordy Brouwer, who went on to score Liverpool’s second.
Sebastian Leto looked impressive all night, save perhaps from occasionally holding onto the ball a little too long, and it was from his corner that Kewell scored. A powerful cross into the box saw Kewell arrive right on cue with a thundering header past the Newcastle keeper.
The Newcastle keeper was powerless to stop Kewell’s goal, but will not want to see replays of the one he let Kewell’s replacement Brouwer score. Brouwer couldn’t believe his eyes as the keeper fumbled Craig Linfield cross, allowing him to score into an open goal.
Just as Liverpool’s lead had been restored due to an error, so had it been lost in the first place. The Newcastle equaliser came after Ronald Huth slipped on the wet surface, giving Newcastle’s Jonathon Godsmark his opportunity. It was a rare blip in what had been an otherwise good performance from Huth.
After the game the Liverpool keeper David Martin spoke to the local paper the Warrington Guardian. He said: “Last time out we were a bit unlucky against Sunderland but it’s nice to get a home win in front of good support.” He says the turnout of fans really helps the players: “It makes such a big difference having the support. With the atmosphere, when you do something in a game you get appreciated. I know it shouldn’t really be about that but you do get a buzz, it makes a difference.”
He continued: “I only had a few crosses to deal with tonight and as a goalkeeper you can only do what’s in front of you. I thought we did well on a slippery pitch.”
Martin was pleased to see Kewell back in a Liverpool shirt: “It was good to see Harry back and he looked so sharp. He was good getting the goal and he made such a difference.”
He also gave a little insight into the differences between reserve and first-team football, which he noticed more having Kewell in the dressing room: “You can see that the professionalism is a level up. You learn off Harry. He brings the best out in other players around him. You can see when he’s playing that he’s getting it and giving it and I thought tonight he brought the best of Craig Lindfield and Spearo.”
Liverpool Reserves: David Martin, Stephen Darby, Emiliano Insua, Martin Kelly, Ronald Huth, Damien Plessis, Nabil El Zhar, Jay Spearing, Craig Lindfield, Harry Kewell, Sebastian Leto.
Subs: Jordy Brouwer, Dean Bouzanis, Daniel Pacheco, Mikel San Jose Dominguez, Ray Putterill.
Newcastle Reserves: Fraser Forster, Mark Bertram, Celestine Babayaro, Mark Doninger, David Edgar, Callum Morris, Kazenga LuaLua, Matthew Pattison, Foluwashola Ameobi, Jonathan Godsmark, James Troisi.
Subs: James Marwood, Alex Patterson, Alex Francis, Darren Lough, Frank Danquah.