Liverpool and Spurs in friendly stalemate
Liverpool and Tottenham played to a scoreless draw in sweltering heat on Saturday in a friendly before 42,723 fans at the home stadium of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel preserved his side’s clean sheet with a leaping catch of a shot by Martin Skrtel in the 54th minute.
Brad Jones played the first half in goal for Liverpool and Peter Gulacsi took over after halftime.
“We played extremely well under these conditions,” said Andre Villas-Boas, who replaced Harry Redknapp as Spurs’ manager after last season. “It was very, very hot. I understand for American sports this may not be something new, but for us to come from different conditions, it is very hard for the body to adapt to play at this level and intensity.”
The Ravens play on artificial turf, but the pitch consisted entirely of natural grass laid in place on top of the carpet.
Workers installed more than 500 rolls of grass to cover the field for the match between the English Premier League sides.
Tottenham, which finished fifth in the Premier League last season, started the brighter in the first half and fired five shots at the Liverpool goal, though only one was on target.
Tottenham dominated the time of possession during the opening 45 minutes and had the best scoring chance. Minutes before halftime, Aaron Lennon fired a shot from the left side that eluded Jones and bounced low off the right post.
In the 27th minute, Liverpool’s Adam Morgan took a left-footed shot from the left side that Friedel smothered at the corner of the net. Both teams substituted liberally in the second half.
Liverpool, coming off a disappointing campaign in which the 18-time English champion finished eighth in the league, is hoping for an improved performance under new manager Brendan Rodgers.
On a hot and humid day, Rogers initially rested Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who was given a rapturous applause when he came on in the 61st minute. But his introduction failed to turn the game as the sides settled for a draw.
Liverpool appointed Rodgers as manager in June, and the Reds are in the process of adjusting their game to his style before their Premier League opener at West Bromwich Albion on Aug. 18. After losing an exhibition to Italy’s Roma 2-1 on Wednesday at Boston’s Fenway Park, Rodgers was pleased with Saturday’s draw.
“Of course we want goals. Everyone does. We all do,” he said.
“But whether it’s a preseason game or a league game or a Cup game, if you can’t win it, make sure you don’t lose it. That is something that is important for your mentality as a group, even in preseason.”
And he had no complaint about his team’s effort.
“In the heat, you can either sit back and be comfortable or you can be uncomfortable, because success hurts,” Rodgers said. “For me today, the players hurt. They got uncomfortable. And that’s how it will be for us this season. Hopefully the consequences will be positive results.
“I thought the players were outstanding to stay that focused and organized in that heat,” Rodgers added. “It really shows their concentration and the fitness levels that they maintained. I was very pleased.”