Liverpool's manager, Rafael Benitez, introduced two more South Americans to his first team yesterday at Crewe, but it was Craig Lindfield, a teenager from the Wirral, who made his mark on his debut for the Anfield club.
Fabio Aurelio and Mark Gonzalez both got their first taste of English football, with variable success. Aurelio looked a tidy, and neat left-sided player but the winger Gonzalez looked to be trying too hard and flying runs down the left produced little.
Liverpool made eight second-half changes, including the introduction of Craig Bellamy, but it was the 17-year-old Lindfield who had scored what turned out to be an excellent winner after just 13 minutes of this friendly at Gresty Road. Robbie Fowler, who produced a fine cameo of football intelligence, created the chance for his young sidekick to blast home.
With Liverpool having lost out on Damien Duff, reportedly agreeing a £10 million fee late in the week only for the Irishman to opt for a £60,000-a-week pay packet on Tyneside, Benitez tried the likes of Paul Anderson and Darren Potter on his troublesome right flank, but it is believed he will try again to sign Birmingham City's Jermaine Pennant this week.
The second period saw Gonzalez's only real input being a header off the line to clear an effort from Crewe's Julien Baudet, as Liverpool toiled in vain to add further goals. They had to make do with one from Lindfield, who was the top scorer in the youth team last season and a star of their FA Youth Cup triumph. Lindfield benefited greatly from Fowler's quality and experience alongside him.
Fowler showed what value he can be for the coming season with a 45 minutes spent setting up the youngster with neat flicks, measured passes and clever distribution. It worked when Bolo Zenden's long pass was met with a perfect Fowler back-heel in the box for Lindfield to fire his shot into the top corner of the goal from 12 yards. Aurelio later fired over when Fowler had put him clear and Lindfield also forced Crewe's goalkeeper, Ben Williams, into two fine saves.
Throughout Crewe produced their brand of passing football and their Welsh international David Vaughan could have scored with a first-time connection on a cross from the ex-Liverpool defender Jon Otsemobor.Reuse content