LIVERPOOL’s greatest ever goal-scorer Ian Rush put his name on the scoresheet and Spanish wizard Luis Garcia bagged a double as their Legends side crushed the Australian Legends 4-0 at ANZ Stadium.
In front of a sea of red a collection of Liverpool’s greatest ever players treated the 40,815 strong crowd to a wonderful exhibition of football.
The loudest cheer of the night came when Rush, who scored 346 goals in 660 first team appearances for Liverpool, bundled home a sharp cross unchallenged in the 74th minute.
“When I saw the pass coming my first instinct was to shoot,” John Arne Riise, the man who set up both Rush and 57-year-old John Aldridge for Liverpool’s third and fourth goals, told foxsports.com.au
“But I had a look up and saw Rushy and John making the runs and thought, ‘I have to give it to them’
“Luckily they scored because if the had missed I would have been fuming!”
Liverpool Legends manager Gerard Houllier admitted Seeing Rush and Aldridge score gave him an immense sense of pride.
“I told Rushy and Aldo that it was the right time for them to come on with fresh legs and their old heads,” he said.
“It was special and it shows you can get old but their talent was to score goals for Liverpool and it’s still there.”
But Rush and Aldridge could have found themselves needing to do a lot more work than putting the icing on the cake after a very even first half
Goalkeepers Zeljko Kalac and Sander Westerveld keeping their respective sides in the contest with a string of spectacular one-on-one saves, with Kalac brilliantly denying Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard shortly before the half time whistle.
But by that time the Australians were already a goal down thanks to Luis Garcia, undoubtedly the player of the first half.
The Spaniard opened the scoring in the 27th minute after latching onto a delightful Patrick Berger through ball and beating Kalac at the near post.
The Australian Legends were unlucky not to hit back almost instantly, with Sander Westerveld twice denying Steve Corica in one-on-one situations.
The second half was far more one sided as the ‘home’ outfit asserted its superiority.
Garcia effectively put the game to bed shortly before the hour mark, heading home a well weighted cross from Gerrard to make it 2-0, before Rush and Aldridge sealed the deal late in the match.
While there was no goal from Gerrard, the man the crowd had come to see, it failed to dampen the atmosphere reminiscent of those achieved in Liverpool’s previous visits to Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne.
After the match Houllier stressed how impressed he was with the the manner in which his team approached the match.
“We wanted to make a point to be focussed and do things seriously. We always take pride and satisfaction when we do the job right for the team,” Houllier said.
“I would say that I enjoyed seeing them play because it was a great performance.
“They won, that’s one thing, but they won in style. As a manager that’s what you always want your team to do.
Riise admitted he felt like his side was the home team on the day and showed his appreciation for Liverpool’s supporter Base in Australia.
“It’s normal,” Riise said of the lopsided support towards Liverpool.
“We come here and there are 40,000 Liverpool fans. This is why Liverpool is so amazing.
“Wherever we go in the world so many people come to watch us play and for us that’s why we want to come.
“It was a 24 hour trip, it’s a long way, for the first 20 minutes I was jet-lagged and my legs felt so heavy, but I loved every minute of it.”
Zeljko Kalac, Scott Chipperfield, Tony Vidmar, Craig Moore, Brett Emerton, Ned Zelic, Jason Culina, Robbie Slater, Steve Corica, Mile Sterjovski, David Zdrilic. Subs: Stan Lazaridis, Alex Tobin, Josip Skoko, Jason Culina, Craig Foster, Ante Milicic, Coach: Graham Arnold
Robbie Fowler, Vladimir Smicer, Patrik Berger, Steven Gerrard, Didi Hamann, Luis Garcia, Jason McAteer, Phil Babb, Stephane Henchoz, Jamie Carragher, Bruce Grobbelaar. Subs: Ian Rush, John Aldridge, Gary McAllister. Coach: Gerard Houllier