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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul, 22, 2008

Liverpool keep unbeaten run with Herta draw

Andriy Voronin had a second-half penalty saved but Liverpool maintained their unbeaten record so far in pre-season with a draw against Hertha Berlin.

In front of 51,641 fans in Berlin's Olympic Stadium, Liverpool's starting line-up included just three players who could consider themselves first choice come the start of the season.

But they showed enough effort, fitness and strength - particularly at the back - to encourage boss Rafael Benitez.

But this was very much the final dress rehearsal as far as Benitez was concerned.

The Anfield chief has been denied his big-hitters so far this pre-season and that has given the support cast their chance to shine.

He has discovered that in youngsters Stephen Darby, David Martin and Jay Spearing there is plenty of potential for the future, and all three would benefit from a spell now out on loan.

But Benitez will bring his squad back to Melwood tomorrow and has a week of intense work before they fly to Spain for a friendly with Villarreal next Wednesday, followed by a demanding trip to face Rangers at Ibrox four days later.

Benitez will hope by then to have made headway on the possible deals involving Gareth Barry and Robbie Keane while welcoming back to training Liverpool's Spanish heroes Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Jose Reina and Alvaro Arbeloa - all return to training at the end of the week.

By then decisions may well have been made over the futures of Jermaine Pennant, Andriy Voronin and Sebastian Leto.

They have all had plenty of chances over four friendlies so far, but the pace of preperation will hot up now with a Champions League qualifier three weeks away.

Liverpool will face that without Javier Mascherano, who is bound for the Olympics and played his last game for the club for a month in Berlin.

Along with Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger he showed how strong this central axis will be next term.

Elsewhere Spanish teenager Daniel Pacheco again showed clever flashes of talent and almost got on the end of an Emiliano Insua cross.

Hertha came closest in the first period with two efforts from full-back Sofian Chahed.

Liverpool changed their complete back-line at the break, Martin Skrtel, Sami Hyypia, Philipp Degen and Andrea Dossena taking over.

And the visitors should have scored after 49 minutes after Voronin was pulled down in the box by Kaka, who was tugging his shirt, but the Ukrainian striker saw his spot-kick saved by Christian Fiedler.

Cicero saw a downward header saved well by Diego Cavalieri, who was then replaced by Martin, with Jack Hobbs, Dirk Kuyt, Spearing and Yossi Benayoun all getting second-half run-outs.

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