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Shelvey shines for five-goal Reds

20 Sep 2012 20:18:02

Shelvey shines for five-goal Reds

Liverpool escaped with their 41-year unbeaten record against Swiss teams intact but a sloppy defensive performance almost cost them in a thrilling 5-3 victory over Young Boys in the Europa League.

That Brendan Rodgers' second-string side, which included a trio of debutants - two of whom were teenagers - scored five times was something of a surprise considering the struggles of the first-team this season.

They were given an early helping hand thanks to a comical own goal from Juhani Ojala and Andre Wisdom scored on his debut after Raphael Nuzzolo had equalised. But Ojala then headed in at the right end and Gonzalo Zarate made it 3-2 before the match turned around again when Sebastian Coates headed in and then Jonjo Shelvey scored twice.

Rodgers wanted to give his younger players a chance to prove they were good enough and while they may not have convinced him he will not have to make 11 changes for Sunday's visit of Manchester United - having left the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez at home - they at least displayed the character he was looking for.

The comedy started in the fourth minute when the Young Boys' defence got themselves in a tangle for no discernible reason. Stewart Downing's right-wing cross did not look to be threatening but Dusan Veskovac headed the ball back across goal and his central defensive partner Ojala headed in.

Jose Enrique's decision to dribble away from the hands of Brad Jones in the 38th minute was bad judgement as he passed straight to Nuzzolo - who drilled in a first-time shot before Jones had time to recover properly.

Wisdom, however, came to his defensive colleague's rescue two minutes later when he produced a huge leap to head home Nuri Sahin's corner.

The second half was less than 10 minutes old when Raul Bobadilla was given far too much room on the right to pick out the run of Ojala to head in at the far post. When Bobadilla outmuscled both Carragher and Suso, another debutant, to send Zarate down right the Argentinian neatly dinked over Jones.

Liverpool needed a quick response and it came within four minutes as Coates' looping header crept in at the far post with substitute Fabio Borini claiming a touch which was barely - if at all - there.

Borini had a more decisive influence on the winner as he picked out Jordan Henderson's run and the midfielder cut the ball back for Shelvey to fire home - and the same player added a similar second late on.


PA

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