Home » EPL, Latest » Pre-season Friendly: Valerenga 3 Liverpool 3

Liverpool conceded three goals for the fifth successive pre-season game as they were held to a 3-3 draw by Valerenga in Oslo.

The Reds appeared to be heading for a third straight defeat when they trailed 2-0 inside 20 minutes to goals from Lars Iver Strand and Fegor Ogude.

However, Andy Carroll volleyed home just before the break and Kenny Dalglish’s side were much improved in the second half.

When Daniel Agger struck twice inside five minutes late on they looked set to secure a morale-boosting victory.

However, they were denied by the mid-table Norwegian outfit in stoppage time when Mohammed Fellah worked his way into space and fired past Pepe Reina from the edge of the box.

After seeing a largely second string side hammered 3-0 in Galatasaray last Thursday, Dalglish fielded a much stronger line up against Valerenga.

There were first pre-season appearances for Reina and Glen Johnson, while Agger also returned from injury.

New signings Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing all started with Dirk Kuyt and Andy Carroll partnered together up front.

It was an emotional occasion at the Ullevaal Stadium, just 10 days on from the horrific terrorist attacks which rocked Norway.

Before kick-off there was a poignant rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone followed by a minute’s silence in memory of the 77 people killed.

“If one man can show so much hate, imagine how much love we all can show together,” read a message across the advertising hoardings.

Liverpool’s players and coaching staff each lay a rose behind the goal to a standing ovation from the packed national stadium.

Despite Valerenga having home advantage, their fans were heavily outnumbered by the hordes of Scandinavian Reds who roared on Kenny Dalglish’s men.

They were rewarded with a bright start with Downing impressing on the right flank. The £20million threatened with a low strike early on but then the wheels came off in worrying fashion.

Valerenga took the lead against the run of play from their first meaningful attack in the 14th minute.

Lars Iver Strand found Havard Nielsen on the left and continued his run into the box. Nielsen picked him out and Strand gave Reina no chance with a cool finish.

Liverpool have made a habit of giving cheap goals away in pre-season and they did it again just six minutes later.

Charlie Adam’s clumsy challenge upended Yssouf Kone in the box and Nigerian Fegor Ogude tucked away the spot-kick.

It was Johnson’s first pre-season appearance and it showed as the England right-back was frequently left trailing by teenager Nielsen.

The Reds could easily have fallen further behind but Reina came to their rescue with a smart save to deny Kone.

The Burkina Faso international raced through again soon after only for skipper Jamie Carragher to thwart him with a fine last ditch tackle.

Liverpool finally awoke from their slumber and regained control in the closing stages of the first half.

Agger galloped forward to test keeper Lars Hirschfeld from long distance before the deficit was halved two minutes before the interval.

Downing was bought to provide quality from the flanks and the England international showed what he can do by picking out Carroll at the back post. The striker accepted the gift as he controlled and dispatched a volley past Hirschfeld.

Liverpool started where they left off in the second half and Adam almost restored parity with a blistering 25-yarder which was deflected just wide.

The Reds got themselves into some great positions but too often the final ball was lacking.

Valerenga weathered the storm and as the visitors ran out of attacking ideas the home side threatened to add to their lead with Reina saving well from Adnan Haidar.

Midway through the second half Dalglish turned to fresh legs as a triple switch saw Martin Kelly, John Flanagan and Jonjo Shelvey replaced Johnson, Robinson and Adam.

Substitute Sidoine Oussou should have settled the contest but when clean through he fired straight at Reina.

That let-off sparked Liverpool into life with Carroll’s header well kept out by Hirschfeld.

The Reds continued to press and got their reward seven minutes from time.

Alberto Aquilani’s crisp volley was clawed behind and from the ensuing corner the substitute whipped in a great ball which Agger rose to nod into the corner.

That double act combined again in the 88th minute to fashion a winner. Valerenga made a hash of dealing with Aquilani’s corner and Agger was on hand to convert at the back post.

Jonjo Shelvey went close to grabbing a fourth but was denied by Hirschfeld’s finger tips.

Liverpool were just seconds away from victory when Fellah blasted a shot past Reina to ensure it finished honours even.

Dalglish has just one more chance to fine-tune his preparations for the Premier League season with Valencia due at Anfield on Saturday.

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