A brave Brisbane Roar led English Premier League giants Liverpool FC for 11 minutes at Suncorp Stadium tonight but eventually went down 2-1 in an impressive first performance under new Head Coach John Aloisi.
A stirring rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone by the near-sellout crowd just before kickoff generated an atmosphere rarely seen in a pre-season fixture.
But a 17th minute goal to Dimitri Petratos stunned the vocal Liverpool fans, with the Roar striker burying a shot from inside the box into the bottom left corner of the goal past the outstretched arms of Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana equalised for the visitors 11 minutes later, curling his shot into the top right corner of the goal from near the edge of the box.
While going into the break at 1-1, the Roar were unable to hold the pressing Liverpool team, with England international James Milner scoring the winner in the 75th minute, scoring despite attention from Roar defenders in a crowded box.
The Roar played a fearless and expansive game, with marquee player Thomas Broich and holding midfielder Luke Brattan heavily featured.
Keeper Jamie Young was outstanding, turning away what looked to be certain goals with several brilliant reflex saves.
Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers, who coached Young while at Reading FC, praised the keeper's performance after the game.
“He’s a great attribute to the team here. He’s grown up a bit [from our time at Reading], but he’s a wonderful boy. He’s a top-class professional and made some really good saves,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers also saw the quality of the Roar as a testament to the growing level of football in the A-League.
“It was a very good game, Brisbane were very good technically. It’s a real mark of Australian football the improvements you see.”
Aloisi also saw promising signs from his charges, showing good structure and an expansive passing game despite being only two weeks into preseason training.
“I thought the first half, especially the first 25 minutes, we were pretty good, in terms of our structures,” Aloisi said.
“We were playing a little bit differently in our patterns and structures [from last season]. We tired in the second half and lost our shape, then we were trying to hang in against a very talented Liverpool team.
“It was a good experience for our players, particularly our young players. We’ll take a lot of confidence out of this.
"There were periods where we played from one side to the other and opened Liverpool up. If we can do it against Liverpool we can do it against anyone.”
There is still a lot of room for improvement, with the Head Coach looking at turnovers as a key factor in tonight’s match.
“The only disappointing thing is we lost the ball twice to give Liverpool two goals. The players know I wasn’t happy about that.”
The Roar’s strong performance will be a strong confidence boost as the team continues its preparation for FFA Cup tie against Western Sydney on 8 August at Penrith and an A-League season opener also against the Wanderers on 11 October at Pirtek Stadium.
Brisbane Roar 1 (Dimitri PETRATOS 17’)
Liverpool FC 2 (Adam LALLANA 28’, James MILNER 75’)
Friday, 17 July 2015 at Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Hiroyuki Kimura
Brisbane Roar: 3. Shane STEFANUTTO (6. Jerome POLENZ 45’), 8. Steven LUSTICA, 9. Jamie MACLAREN (26. Nicholas D’AGOSTINO 62’), 13. Jade NORTH (c), 15. James DONACHIE, 18. Luke BRATTAN (16. Devante CLUT 57’), 19. Jack HINGERT (14. Daniel BOWLES 72’), 21. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22. Thomas BROICH (Abrahim YANGO 72’), 23. Dimitri PETRATOS (35. Mitchell HORE 90’), 28. Brandon BORRELLO (20. Shannon BRADY 72’)
Substitutes not used: 5. Corey BROWN, 29. Patrick THEODORE, 34. Luke PAVLOU, 55. Denver CRICKMORE (gk)
Yellow cards: 6. Jerome POLENZ 68’
Red cards: Nil
Liverpool FC: 2. Nathaniel CLYNE, 7. James MILNER, 12. Joe GOMEZ (57. Joe MAGUIRE 62’), 14. Jordan HENDERSON (c), 17. Mamadou SAKHO (4. Kolo TOURE 62’), 20. Adam LALLANA (33. Jordan IBE 62’), 21. Lucas LEIVA (46. Jordan ROSSITER 69’), 22. Simon MIGNOLET (gk), 27. Divock ORIGI (40. Ryan KENT 62’), 28. Danny INGS (9. Rickie LAMBERT 76’), 37. Martin SKRTEL
Substitutes not used:, 6. Dejan LOVREN, 18. Alberto MORENO, 24. Joe ALLEN, 34. Adam BOGDAN (gk), 47. Andre WISDOM, 50. Lazar MARKOVIC, 53. Joao TEIXEIRA, 54. Sheyji OJO, 56. Harry WILSON, 58. Dan CLEARY, 68. Pedro CHIRIVELLA,
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil