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International Champions Cup
28 July 2014
• Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
Thanks for joining me today. I hope you have enjoyed the action. Farewell until next time.
There we have it. The referee blows his whistle to end the match and Liverpool get off to a winning start in the International Champions Cup, coming out 1-0 victors thanks to Sterling's early goal. In truth, the Premier League side are probably lucky to earn a victory, with Olympiakos looking the more dangerous for long periods, but Rodgers' men converted their best chance, while Michel's side did not.
90' + 5'
90' + 4'
CHANCES AT BOTH ENDS! Samaris does brilliantly for Olympiakos as he shows good control to jink past Allen and then shoot from 25 yards, but Jones palms it away. Liverpool break with speed as Ibe is released into the final third by Allen, but the attack ends as the Wales midfield clips his team-mate's low cross wide.
90' + 3'
Olympiakos are seeing more of the ball, as you'd expect, but are not creating an awful lot. Nevertheless, they now have a free-kick in an advanced position on right flank as Robinson fouls Elabdelloui.
90' + 2'
Liverpool are being kept in their own area at the moment as Olympiakos press for a late equaliser to earn a penalty shoot-out, but Rodgers' men are standing firm at the moment.
90' + 1'
There's a surprise, considering this is a friendly. The officials have announced a minimum of four minutes of stoppage time.
Could that be Olympiakos' final chance? Liverpool cleared the Greek side's free-kick out to the edge of the area and Samaris ran on to the end of it, hitting a first-time effort towards goal. However, it went comfortably wide.
Frustrated, crude tackle from Lucas as he sticks his foot in on Samaris after the Olympiakos man released the ball. A couple of players exchange words with the Brazilian, who ultimately escapes a yellow card.
Dominguez ultimately wates the opportunity, though. The Argentinian played the corner short and swiftly received the ball back again. He cuts a pass back to Kasami, who lofts a cross into the area, but his delivery is poor and goes straight over the goal.
Olympiakos don't look ready to concede defeat just yet. They are still piling men forward and they look ready for a late battle. This corner certainly won't hurt their chances, as Dominguez wins the set-piece on the right.
Following that let-off, Liverpool look to net again and double their lead as Coutinho peels off to the left with the ball. He feeds a good pass into the area for Ibe, but the youngster he held off well by Manolas.
SO CLOSE TO AN EQUALISER! Bouchalakis does really well as he charges down Allen's clearance and appears to be in on goal. He then skips away from Coates and then pokes the ball past Jones, but Allen covers well and mops up before the forward can retain possession behind the keeper.
Coutinho goes close! Allen takes the free-kick quickly and plays it short to Coutinho. The Brazilian disguises his thoughts as he shapes to feed the Wales man down the wing, but he cuts inside and hits a fierce effort agonisingly wide of the bottom-left corner.
Liverpool deal with another Olympiakos attack down their left flank, clearing the ball following a right-wing cross and they swiftly launch a counterattack. Allen charges down the left flank and eventually wins a free-kick from Samaris.
More changes for Liverpool now. Jordan Ibe and Rickiet Lambert trudge on to the pitch, replacing Sturridge and Sterling.
Michel has made a few more changes to his side. Siovas, Damiantakos and Dossevi head off, with Avlonitis, Papazoglou and Bouchalakis getting introduced.
Kasami takes the corner and his deep delivery is nodded back into the danger zone. Manolas then controls the ball and tries to work an overhead attempt, but he just ends up on his backside.
Olympiakos win themselves a corner now as Dossevi manages to work space for himself just outside the penalty area before shooting, and his effort is deflected wide.
Liverpool look to attack through the middle as Allen roams forward. The former Swansea man passes out to the left for Robinson and he quickly receives the ball back again. However, he gives possession straight to Olympiakos as his attempted backheel doesn't come off as he planned.
Despite the number of second-half subs, this match has remained fairly competitive and entertaining. Both sides have looked lively at times, while the general football has been relatively fluid.
Good play by Liverpool as they appear to awaken as an attacking threat. Robinson manages to get in behind the Olympiakos full-back after good work by Coutinho. The defender gets to the byline and crosses, but a header takes the ball out of the reach of a couple of Liverpool men.
Manolas, Kasami and Kolovos are on for Olympiakos, meanwhile, with Papadopoulos, Ghazaryan and N'Dinga heading for the bench.
Lucas, Kelly and Coates entire the fray as Gerrard, Johnson and Koure are replaced.
The fourth officials are going to be busy now as both sides ready multiple changes.
More good play by Olympiakos. This time Elabdelloui plays a one-two with Dominguez down the right, taking Robinson out of the equation. However, the wing-back's cut-back in not impressive and Gerrard intercepts.
Very good effort from Papadopoulos. The centre-back was given acres of space and invited forward as he marched into the Liverpool half. With no-one closing him down, the defender tries his luck from at least 35 yards, firing just over.
Risky play in his own half by Dominguez. The former Rayo man tries to produce a clever turn to get away from Sterling, but the Liverpool star gets a toe in and steals possession. He then plays a lofted pass in towards the middle for Henderson, but he and Sturridge get in each other's way and the attack peters out.
Liverpool have the ball in the net, but it won't count. Samaris' dreadful pass across his own half is cut out by Sturridge, who plays a first-time pass through for Sterling. The attacker knocks the ball past Megyeri, but he was offside.
Liverpool have seemingly tempered Olympiakos' positive start to the second half, enjoying a brief spell of possession in their opponents' half.
Dominguez gets his first involvement and after Liverpool fail to deal with an Olympiakos attack, the ball drops at the Argentinian's feet and he sees a low shot deflected just wide of the left-hand post. The corner is well overhit, however, curling straight round for a goalkick to Liverpool.
GHAZARYAN STRIKES THE BAR! Olympiakos had a fair amount of joy down the flanks in the first half and they do again as Ghazaryan cuts in from the left and hits a powerful effort with his right foot, with the crossbar coming to Jones' rescue.
Olympiakos, meanwhile, have introduced Dominguez, Samaris, Elabdelloue and Masuaku, with Saviola, Maniatis, Salino and Abidal going off.
Coutinho, Allen and Robinson are on for Liverpool, with Enrique, Can and Markovic going off.
We are back underway for the second half. Both sides appear to have made a few changes and they will be confirmed as soon as possible.
Liverpool take a 1-0 lead into the break thanks to Sterling's early goal, but there has not been too much to get excited about since. Olympiakos find themselves behind at the break, but they would argue that they probably just edged the first period, seeing more than their fair share of the ball. However, they were not particularly impressive in the Liverpool penalty area and have not really troubled Jones. Hopefully we will be treated to a little more goalmouth action in the second half.
45' + 1'
Nevertheless, Olympiakos fail to capitalise on the corner as Liverpool clear and then Ghazaryan fires well wide from 25 yards.
Olympiakos are finishing the half strongly here and they get another corner, as Dossevi runs at Enrique and wins as a corner, with his cross deflected behind.
Liverpool clear the corner fairly swiftly and look set to spring a counterattack, but Salino puts pay to that as he cynically fouls Strurridge and gets a yellow card.
Dossevi is involved again, this time in open play. He picks up possession in a deep position and then bears down on the Liverpool area, but the ball is poked away from him and out for a corner.
Damiantakos goes fairly close this time. Dossevi's corner is played short and Damiantakos takes up possession on the edge of the area, before skipping past one tackle and shooting just wide.
ENRIQUE DENIES SAVIOLA! Dossevi finally delivers a good cross and the ball is nodded down into Saviola's path by Damiantakos, but Enrique pokes the ball away from the Argentinian at the very last second.
MARKOVIC GOES CLOSE! Can does well to squeez between a couple of defenders and keep the Liverpool attack alive. He pokes a pass in towards the area for Markovic to run on to and the Serb jolts past two Olympiakos plays. He then tries to curl an effort into the top-far corner, but he narrowly misses the target.
Saviola angers the Liverpool players once again with his antics. An Olympiakos attacks looks capable of bearing fruit as Salino's cross from the right is controlled well by Damiantakos. The ball is worked out to the left side of the area and Saviola tries to trick his way past Johnson, before throwing himself to the floor for a penalty. He rightly receives a yellow card.
Olympiakos have done well to come back into this match, but they are still struggling to carve open good chances. Michel's side may be seeing their fair share of the ball, but they aren't doing much with it.
Dangerous counterattack now as Markovic bursts into the Olympiakos half to join a couple of team-mates. He pokes the ball forward to Sturridge, who cuts on to his left foot and plays a throughball into the area for Henderson. Papadopoulos covers well, however, getting rid of the danger.
Enrique appears to be caught daydreaming at the back and is bundled over by Salino. He calls for a free-kick, but the referee ignores his protests. The ball falls to Dossevi, who crosses into the area, but again his delivery is poor.
Excellent play by Sturridge. The forward races down the right to latch on to Johnson's throughball and then cuts inside towards the edge of the area. However, he flicks the ball back towards the byline when shaping to shoot and his eventual right-footed effort is blazed over.
Dossevi's delivery from the resulting kick is terrible, though, with the ball flying over everyone in the penalty area and straight out for a goalkick.
Saviola twists and turns over on the right and side and he just about manages to keep the ball away from Gerrard, before winning a free-kick from the former England captain. Gerrard is not impressed, however, with contact appearing to be minimal.
Sterling appears to be getting a little frustrated. He tries to chase down a high ball from Johnson, but the wind holds it up. Abidal shields the ball while is bounces and Sterling fouls the experienced Frenchman.
Strurridge fires his effort straight at the Olympiakos wall and then Gerrard blasts an effort high and wide from the resulting rebound. That was a let-off for Michel's side.
Debutant Markovic finally bursts into life as he charges in towards the Olympiakos penalty area, but he is cynically hacked down by Siovas, who picks up a yellow card for his efforts.
Olympiakos take the free-kick quickly as Damiantakos slips a clever pass into the area for Saviola, who takes a touch and then fires goalwards. The goalkeeper makes a save, but the former Barcelona forward is flagged offside.
The Greeks win themselves a free-kick in an advanced position as Sterling hauled down Abidal, giving Olympiakos a good opportunity to pull one back.
Lovely play by Sterling as he skips past one challenge in attack and, although he then trips over the ball, he is somehow quick enough to get himself back in control before a defender can get a foot in. The England international then plays the ball back to Johnson, who delivers a poor cross.
Olympiakos craft another good opening. A high ball is clipped into the area by Dossevi, searching for the run of Saviola. The Argentine brings the ball down well and then tees up Damiantakos, who sees his low half-volley blocked by Skrtel.
N'Dinga is constantly looking to pick out lofted passes towards the left flank and he does so again, as Ghazaryan appears to find space behind Johson, but the pass ultimately goes straight out of play.
Very poor defending by Johnson as the full-back tries to cut inside and beat Ghazaryan, but the midfielder easily shrugs him off the ball and marches towards the goal. He tries to guide a curling shot into the top-right corner, but the ball sails just wide.
Liverpool are currently camped around their own penalty area, but they do not look duly bothered. Olympiakos are stroking the ball around with intent, but they are not showcasing a great deal of cutting edge, with their passing not looking overly incisive.
Olympiakos are starting to see a little more of the ball and they finally get into the attacking third, but Abidal's cross from the left is pretty poor, as Toure nods away unchallenged.
GOAL!!! LIVERPOOL BREAK THE DEADLOCK! Liverpool's movement in attacking during these early moments has been excellent and it is once again. Sturridge is unlucky as he slips over while shooting, but the ball actually squirms through to Sterling in the danger zone, with the youngster able to calmly steer past Megyeri.
Goal Raheem Sterling
Olympiakos, however, have started rather sloppily. Papadopoulos passes the ball straight out of play on the right with a very poor pass, while Siovas tripped Johnson on the edge of the area. Gerrard's free-kick come to little, however.
Liverpool have started positively, getting the ball forward quickly. The Olympiakos defence will certainly expect to have their work cut out for them today, with Sturridge, Markovic and Sterling operating in attack for Liverpool.
We are underway in Chicago!
The action will kick-off in about 10 minutes. The match has been delayed due to the brief suspension of Manchester City's clash with Milan following a thunderstorm. Television deals and agreements dictate that neither match will overlap the other as they have been marketed as a double-header.
This will be Olympiakos' second match in this competition after comfortably beating Milan 3-0 in their opening match and they will be hoping to at least match their performance levels of that match.
The major talking point from Liverpool's perspective is the presence of Lazar Markovic, who makes his debut following a move from Benfica. The attacker lines up alongside Sturrdige and Sterling, who both make their first starts of the pre-season following involvement in England's disappointing World Cup campaign. Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson are all also involved from the start.
Information regarding the Olympiakos bench is not currently available. Details shall be relayed as soon as possible.
Olympiakos starting XI: Megyeri; Salino, Papadopoulos, Siovas, Abidal; N'Dinga, Maniatis; Dossevi, Saviola, Ghazaryan; Diamantakos.
Liverpool substitutes: Ward, Coutinho, Coates, Lucas, Allen, Ibe, Kelly, Coady, Robinson, Lambert, Peterson.
Liverpool starting XI: Jones; Johnson, Skrtel, Toure, Enrique; Gerrard, Henderson, Can; Sterling, Sturridge, Markovic.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Hello and welcome to the LIVE text commentary of the pre-season International Champions Cup meeting between Liverpool and Olympiakos. Soldier Field, Chicago is today's setting as Liverpool prepare to make their bow in this tournament and I, Ryan Benson, shall be describing the action for you today.
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