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Rafa Benitez's men did not fare well in Spain this evening.


Liverpool were in Catalunya this evening to help Espanyol celebrate the opening of their new stadium, and they certainly turned out to be the perfect party guests for their hosts, as goals from Luis Garcia and Ben Sahar saw the Reds tumble to a 3-0 defeat in the Estadi Cornella - El Prat.

Garcia opened the scoring for the hosts after 19 minutes, and, despite Steven Gerrard hitting the frame twice, the Reds went in at the interval facing a one goal deficit. Former Chelsea forward Sahar then administered the killer blows in the 63rd and 87th minutes.

Los Periquitos were in a buoyant mood after the pre-game celebrations, and went close in the 12th minute, with 'Pool center-back Jamie Carragher heading a corner wide of his own post.

Gerrard nearly opened the scoring with a 25-yard effort, but Espanyol keeper Carlos Kameni was left relieved as it bounced back off the crossbar. Soon afterwards, Garcia, who bears no relation to the former Liverpool player of the same name, put his side into the lead with a low shot.

At the other end, Fernando Torres was cynically stopped from going through on goal by Daniel Jarque, and Gerrard hit the woodwork again from the resulting free-kick.

Liverpool had responded well after going behind, and Yossi Benayoun almost equalized after a goalmouth scramble.

Espanyol then had an effort in the net, but it was ruled out for offside, and they went into the break leading by only one goal.

Both sides then went close in the early part of the second half, before a raft of substitutions disrupted the flow of the occasion somewhat.

Former Chelsea forward Sahar then put the ball through Pepe Reina's legs to double the home side's advantage with 25 minutes remaining, prompting Benitez to withdraw stars like Fernando Torres from the action.

Joan Verdu then went close for Los Periquitos, with Reina keeping his effort out, only for Sahar to step up to slot the rebound into the net.

He almost completed a hat-trick in the dying seconds, but Martin Kelly cleared his goal-bound effort off the line. That effort did little to spoil the party mood in the Catalans' new stadium though.

Zack Wilson, Goal.com


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