I always find it hard to understand fans who try to analyse pre-season friendlies as some sort of indication of what lies ahead in the coming season. Especially as the friendly against Galatasaray saw us basically playing a second string, I don’t really feel there can be a just cause for either criticising the team or making sweeping judgements on the poor performance.
Of course, there could be legitimate questions as to what benefits the friendly had in Istanbul, especially with the absence of so many first team players. Much of our starting line up has yet to play 90 minutes together so far in pre-season and that is a concern when we are only two weeks away from the start of the season. The Valerenga match on Monday night will go some way to addressing this but there was little that could be taken from our performance against Galatasaray, with many fringe players failing to impress once again.
Anyone who was concerned by the performance though should look at the players who didn’t start the game. Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Skrtel, Aurelio, Henderson, Adam, Lucas, Meireles, Gerrard, Downing, Kuyt and Suarez all were absent yesterday, which probably contains nine of our starting eleven who will expect to play on Saturday week against Sunderland.
For Kenny Dalglish and the coaching staff, the Galatasaray looked to be a fitness exercise for the likes of Andy Carroll and Dirk Kuyt, while it was also a chance for the likes of Philipp Degen, Christian Poulsen and Joe Cole to show King Kenny they have a future at the club. Needless to say, not many boosted their cause last night with their displays.