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Suarez-less Liverpool lose

11 August 2013, 10:35

Dublin - Without wantaway striker Luis Suarez, Liverpool wrapped up preparations for the English Premier League season with a 1-0 defeat to a fringe Celtic side on Saturday at Dublin's Lansdowne Road stadium.

The Reds failed to get past a Hoops side that ended the game with eight players aged 21 or under. Stewart Downing, Iago Aspas and sub Daniel Sturridge all failed to hit the net and it was Amido Balde who took the plaudits for the Glaswegians, grabbing his first goal since joining from Vitoria Guimaraes in the summer.

Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers has insisted Suarez is not for sale, and after this performance, it's clear the Irishman fears for life after the Uruguayan.

While the Reds fielded a near full-strength side, Neil Lennon had to make to with a near reserve Celtic side, with his sights firmly on the crucial Champions League playoff against Shaktar Karagandy in two weeks' time.

Just two players that started for Celtic against Elfsborg in last Wednesday's European tie made the starting line-up in Dublin.

As expected, Liverpool created the better chances in the opening period with Aspas, Downing and Coutinho showing plenty of neat touches in and around the Celtic box to keep Hoops stopper Lukasz Zaluska on his toes, while Steven Mouyokolo, yet to make a competitive appearance for Celtic, was in the right place to deny Liverpool twice in any many minutes.

Celtic then showed the way to goal when Balde pounced on a poor back pass, cut smartly inside Andre Wisdom and fired home underneath Simon Mignolet.

Liverpool looked to bounce back immediately, but found Mouyokolo and Zaluska once more blocking their path, with Downing almost enjoying a personal duel with the Polish keeper.

Kayal blocked a Gerrard shot as the break approached to maintain Celtic's lead, while Anthony Stokes saw yellow for a lunge on Coutinho.

The half-time introduction of Daniel Sturridge almost had an immediate impact with his first touch a shot that went narrowly wide.

Kolo Toure had the ball in net ten minutes after the break, only for it to be ruled off for offside, and then Henderson's one-two with Enrique created a goal opportunity on 75, but the England midfielder failed to trouble Celtic's England goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

Jordon Ibe looked to be through on goal for Liverpool, but once more a green and white shirt was there, with substitute Stuart Findlay in the right place to block his shot.

Sturridge had the crowd on their feet with a deft chip from another Coutinho through ball, but it went wide of Forster's goal, as did a thumping long range shot.



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