Liverpool have won, but even high school teams did not do mistakes, how will play Liverpool against Manchester United Sunday evening with this defense system.
Schoolboy defending was the order of the day as the Young Boys took on Liverpool’s next generation.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers watched his youthful side produce some comedy moments at the back, before a powerful late surge gave them the victory in Switzerland.
Four of Liverpool’s five goals came from players aged 21. That would normally bode well for the future and ease the manager’s concerns that he does not possess a squad capable of coping with the rigours of Thursday-Sunday football.
But Young Boys were often so poor in defence – starting with a slapstick own goal after three minutes – that it is hard to know how good the Reds really were.
Rodgers, though, was keen to take the positives from this high-scoring thriller.
“We have come away with a young team into a European game and I want to talk about the five goals we scored which were absolutely magnificent,” he said.
“Of course we could have defended better and there is no question the three goals we gave away were disappointing.
“But to draw positives from tonight the young players were brave to show such confidence and my senior players were very much together and kept the young guys going.
“All round it was very pleasing. It was an opportunity for the young players and they seized it.”
Andre Wisdom became Liverpool’s fourth youngest scorer in Europe at 19 years 134 days with a powerful header to cap an assured debut at right-back and midfielder Suso offered mouth-watering glimpses of his talent.
Sebastian Coates scored a towering header of his own to restore parity at 3-3 after Young Boys had been allowed back into a breathless Europa League tie before Jonjo Shelvey showcased his improvement with two classy finishes.
The first of the eight goals came when Christoph Spycher’s clearing header hit his team-mate Juhani Ojala in the face and rebounded backwards beyond the unsuspecting Marco Wolfli. It was a farcical goal but the build-up had everything Rodgers craves.
Playing out of defence through Jamie Carragher, possession went forward, back, sideways, from right to left, and eventually back again with the likes of Suso and Dani Pacheco showing the neatness of touch expected from players schooled in Spain.
Stewart Downing’s cross created the confusion and no wonder Rodgers punched the air at the mix-up given the stream of passes that had preceded it.
But there was just as much trouble at the back for Liverpool when Jose Enrique tried to dribble away from goal only to squirt a clearance straight to Raphael Nuzzolo. He steered a shot into an unguarded net for an equaliser.
From there a blizzard of goals – and mistakes – was unleashed.
Wisdom combined poise and power to leap above defender Dusan Veskovac to restore Liverpool’s lead.
That was wiped out when Ojala profited from an error by Coates to reach Bobadilla’s centre and provide a header he knew more about.
A third for the hosts arrived on 63 minutes as Gonzalo Zarate sped on to Bobadilla’s pass and dinked an exquisite finish beyond Jones, who remained rooted to his line.
Coates headed in Downing’s corner, with substitute Fabio Borini later confirming he had not applied a touch, before Shelvey added a touch of class.
He swept home a Jordan Henderson pass, before hammering home the fifth goal after a driving run through midfield.
YOUNG BOYS: Wolfli, Sutter, Veskovac, Ojala, Raimondi, Zverotic (Frey 81), Spycher, Zarate (Gonzalez 65), Farnerud, Nuzzolo (Schneuwly 69), Bobadilla. Subs: Benito, Vitkieviez, Costanzo, Lecjaks.
LIVERPOOL: Jones, Wisdom, Carragher, Coates, Enrique, Henderson, Sahin, Suso, Assaidi (Shelvey 66), Downing (Sterling 77), Pacheco (Borini 61). Subs: Gulacsi, Wilson, Yesil, Robinson.
Referee: Michail Koukoulakis (Greece).
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