Roma ran out 2-1 winners when the two sides met at the home of the Boston Red Sox in July 2012. On this occasion, last season’s Serie A runners-up probably just about deserved to win what was a listless pre-season friendly at times.
Both managers fielded strong starting line-ups, but with their players in the midst of intensive training regimes, it was no surprise that the quality on show was well below the sides’ normally high standards.
One player who didn’t disappoint, however, was Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, whose trickery in possession provided at least some excitement for the over 37,000 spectators who attended the Football at Fenway event.
The Brazilian received a warm ovation from the crowd when he was substituted with five minutes remaining. When asked to evaluate the 22-year-old’s performance, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers told reporters after the game that Coutinho is now “the brain” of the team.
Rickie Lambert and Emre Can were the only two new signings to feature for the Merseysiders. Striker Lambert forced a fine save from Roma goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski early in the second half before being substituted on the hour mark.
German U21 midfielder Can replaced the injured Fabio Borini after 12 minutes, and the recent acquisition from Bayer Leverkusen produced an all-action performance that bodes well for the future.
There was concern initially that Borini’s shoulder injury could be serious enough to scupper any hopes of selling the Italian attacker, who has been the subject of a $24 million offer from Sunderland. It later emerged that he had only sustained “bruising”, with Rodgers confirming that the 23-year-old was still considering his options in relation to any possible move.
There was more than a dollop of good fortune attached to Roma’s late winner. Agger did well to get to a corner before striker Marco Borriello, but the centre-back could only look on as the ball bounced off him and into the net through the legs of team-mate Jack Robinson.