Atletico disappoint Liverpool
Liverpool's patchy pre-season form continued with another defeat, despite a late flurry and a rare Lucas Leiva strike. Atletico Madrid were two ahead at the break and deserved their 2-1 win, as Liverpool's injury worries worsened as Jamie Carragher limped out of this sell-out friendly.
Anfield's most experienced defender lasted just 12 minutes against the Spanish club before suffering an ankle injury. A touchline conversation with club doctor Mark Waller was followed by the 31 year-old disappearing down the tunnel for treatment.
Considering manager Rafael Benitez's injury crisis in defence, losing the vice-captain and defensive leader was the last thing he wanted. Initial diagnosis was a "turned" ankle, and his departure was precautionary. Certainly in the current situation, his recovery for next week will be a priority, as he will be needed for their opener next weekend with Tottenham Hotspur.
Benitez has seen Sami Hyypia depart, while Martin Skrtel [hamstring] and Daniel Agger [back] are doubtful for the trip to White Hart Lane. Alvaro Arbeloa has also gone, while Fabio Aurelio will not play until nearer Christmas due to a knee injury, leaving Liverpool's defensive numbers diminished.
Liverpool spent the rest of the match with untried Spanish youngsters Danny Ayala and Mikel San Jose, fresh faced from the reserves, confronting the likes of outstanding Argentina talent Sergio Aguero, who soon started to take advantage. He dived to head home a cross from Simao, and then produced the back-heel that set-up former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan for a second before the break.
Lucas was given the unenviable job of replacing Xabi Alonso, £30m worth of midfield artistry now at Real Madrid, while England full-back Glen Johnson made his home debut. While all this disruption was going on behind them, Fernando Torres, against his old club, and Steven Gerrard started where they finished last term. The pair were in full flow and Torres could have had a couple before hitting the post from 20-yards as he played against his former club.
Paulo Assuncao and Johnny Heitinga were both booked for fouls on Yossi Benayoun and Gerrard. Liverpool, too, picked up a booking when Johnson was cautioned for cutting down Simao. Ryan Babel replaced Dirk Kuyt and another young defender, Martin Kelly, took over from Johnson, but Liverpool could not fashion much of a comeback.
Fourth in La Liga last term, and facing a UEFA Champions League play-off tie with Panathinaikos for a chance to join Liverpool in the group stages, Atletico looked more than a decent side. They introduced former Liverpool forward Florent Sinama-Pongolle with 15 minutes left to a rousing reception from the Kop.
Liverpool responded with Jay Spearing and Andriy Voronin coming on for Javier Mascherano and Benayoun, with David Ngog replacing Torres soon after. Lucas finally pulled one back for Liverpool after 81 minutes, side-footing home from a Gerrard through ball.