Anfield played host to a charity match on Sunday that doubled as Steven Gerrard’s testimonial before he heads to Los Angeles this summer. Gerrard and former teammate Jaime Carragher picked their squads and got a head start on the banter a couple weeks ago, but it all came together over the course of 90 thoroughly enjoyable minutes during the international break.
These were the teams:
Gerrard’s XI: Brad Jones, Anthony Gerrard, Glen Johnson, John Terry, John Arne Riise, Kevin Nolan, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Ryan Babel, Thierry Henry, Jerome Sinclair.
Gerrard’s substitutes: Scott Dann, Ashley Williams, Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres, Charlie Adam, Jay Spearing, Stephen Warnock, Joao Carlos Teixeira.
Carragher’s XI: Pepe Reina, Jon Flanagan, Jamie Carragher, Alvaro Arbeloa, Martin Kelly, Harry Kewell, Stewart Downing, Lucas, Jonjo Shelvey, Didier Drogba, Mario Balotelli.
Carragher’s substitutes: Peter Gulacsi, Luis Garcia, Craig Noone, Alberto Moreno, Gael Clichy, Fabio Borini, Craig Bellamy.
Gerrard tried to convince Luis Suarez to go to the LA Galaxy with him…
Brendan Rodgers made people uncomfortable, as per usual…
And Raul Meireles told anyone who would listen that he was “into Steven Gerrard before it was cool.”
Mario Balotelli had perhaps his best day at Anfield since joining Liverpool, scoring the first goal for Carragher’s side and linking up well with Didier Drogba.
Of course, Drogba had to score one of his own, leaving goalkeeper Brad Jones to tell himself that it’s only a charity match while paralyzed in the fetal position behind him.
Gerrard, meanwhile, scored both of his team’s goals from the penalty spot, prompting hugs from his two favorite strikers, Suarez and Fernando Torres, while Charlie Adam stood by and watched, unfamiliar with the concept of making human contact without inflicting pain upon someone else.
Thierry Henry and Ryan Babel demonstrated what happens when Thierry Henry and Ryan Babel are teammates (dazzling skill followed by Ryan Babel).
But the match ended in a 2-2 draw and a good time was had by all, especially Gerrard.
Torres, who had Liverpool fans burning his shirt when he left the club for Chelsea in 2011, was a close second though. After the match, he posted a photo to Instagram with the caption: “Thank you Liverpool supporters for everything you gave me in my career , you are just different class . It was a privilege to play in front of you again. Today I feel in peace with myself , hearing you singing my name is something I will never forget. From the bottom of my hart thank you very much Liverpool!!! #YWNWA”