Liverpool cruise in friendly win over Auxerre

July 20, 2007

Liverpool eased to a 2-0 victory over French side Auxerre in a low-key friendly in Switzerland.

Recent signings Ryan Babel and Yossi Benayoun were handed their first starts for the Reds while young Bulgarian goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov also came in, but both sides struggled to muster any cohesive football in a poor first half.

But Liverpool managed to go into the interval ahead when Steven Gerrard finished off the game's first flowing move just seconds before half-time.

Babel cleverly dummied a ball in from the right, leaving the Reds skipper to fire home clinically from the edge of the box.

Xabi Alonso entered the fray as a second-half substitute but Rafael Benitez's men struggled again early on as Auxerre missed a string of gilt-edged chances to level.

But Daniel Agger was left completely free with a little over 20 minutes remaining to head home from eight yards.

There was still time for England striker Peter Crouch to fluff a simple headed chance of his own as Liverpool held on comfortably.