Full-time: Liverpool 2-0 Melbourne Victory
That's your lot. And is that Luis Suarez's lot? We shall see. For now, Liverpool can savour a third successive pre-season win thanks to goals from Steven Gerrard and Iago Aspas. Melbourne Victory were solid opponents but Liverpool were never about to lose this one. Whether they'll lose Suarez is a more pressing concern. Expect Arsenal to return with a bid of £40m plus £1 plus 1p. Thanks for reading. Bye.
GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Melbourne Victory (Aspas, 90 min+3)
Luis Suarez sets up Iago Aspas with a moment of brilliance. He took a short corner from Downing on the right, wriggles into a pocket of space that wouldn't exist for other players and then toepokes the ball into the six-yard box, the ball deflecting in off Aspas's shin. Suarez doesn't exactly look overchuffed, mind you.
90 min+2: Suarez threads a pass through to Aspas, whose shot is turned behind by Coe. And then...
90 min: Two minutes of stoppage time.
88 min: "I quite like the cut of this John Henry fella's jib!" says Eddie Pulford. "If only more owners spoke their minds? I'd have loved to have seen a tweet from Gazidis last summer saying "RVP? To utd?... ARE THEY ON CRACK?......and just look how well that saga turned out... Oh."
85 min: Aspas takes too long to shoot from six yards out and Leijer deflects it behind for a corner. Downing swings the corner in and Agger's header is pushed behind. "Is Suarez on?" says Stephen Yoxall. "It’s the only reason anyone is reading the blog, risking their livelihoods by neglecting the jobs they are paid to do. You imply he’s coming on, yet you haven’t said. Shoddy."
I understand it must be hard to decipher that he's on from the sentence "Suarez gets a motivational handshake from Rodgers before coming on" and the mentions of him since then. Reading's fun!
83 min: Nabbout is off, Francesco STELLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA is on.
82 min: A Suarez backheel releases Downing on the right. He cuts back on to his left foot but his shot's blocked and so is Aspas's follow-up.
79 min: Martin Kelly appears to have grown his hair a bit long. He looks rather like Milan Baros from behind.
78 min: Is it a hate crime to get John Flanagan and Jack Robinson mixed up?
77 min: "Is it just me, or has there never been anyone who looks less interested in playing football than Suarez does right now?" says Simon Hoyle. I reckon Kate Middleton isn't really up for a game right now.
76 min: "At 71min you neglected to mention that Allen absolutely ballsed up from a comfortable position near the centre circle to give Melbourne that chance," says Michael Brown. "But at least he isn't Jonjo Shelvey I suppose." In my defence, I wasn't looking.
75 min: "Actually took the tour of the MCG (known simply as ‘The Gee’ to hipster, black-clad Mebournites) some years ago, as they were starting the refurb for the Commonwealth Games," says Luke Williams. "The guide was a young Ocker, and he led us out into the middle. ‘See that stand over there?’, he asked, rhetorically (you’ll have to do the accent, I’m afraid). ‘It holds more than the Sydney Cricket Ground on its own!’. Man, was he proud…."
72 min: Suarez gets a motivational handshake from Rodgers before coming on. You can't teach management like that. Meanwhile just about every other Liverpool substitute is on, including the one and only Jay Spearing. "All the subs to come on?" says Matthew Scott. "That will create enough confusion for Suarez to do an escape to 'victory' (via a complex underground tunnels) to the Emirates?"
71 min: Pain drags a ball across the area from the left. It almost reaches the man at the far post but Wisdom just gets it clear.
70 min: It looks like every Liverpool substitute is about to be introduced.
68 min: Borini has his third effort in eight minutes. This time it's a shot from long range but a deflection takes the sting out of it and Coe saves easily. Meanwhile, excitement: Downing is about to come on. That's what this crowd has come to see.
66 min: Geria has coped quite well with Sterling, as it goes. The right-back is a difficult obstacle to get round.
64 min: Amsell clatters Ibe, who had beaten him for skill and pace again. If it wasn't a friendly, he would have been booked.
63 min: Lucas replaces Gerrard.
62 min: Suddenly Borini has come alive. Enrique drills a low cross into the area which reaches the Italian striker. He has his back to goal and although his first touch loops up in the air, his second is almost a beauty, an overhead kick which drops not too far wide.
60 min: This is the first moment of promise from Borini. He seemingly has nowhere to go on the right of the area but in a flash he hooks an outstanding volley over his shoulder with his right foot. It's straight at Coe though. Victory immediately break and Pain locates some space on the left of the area. He strikes the ball firmly and it moves in the air, making it a difficult save for Jones, who had gone the wrong way initially.
57 min: "I assume Suarez has put his shinpads on in case Melbourne Victory assistant coach Kevin Muscat tries to kick him while his warming up," says Ian Burch. What a guy.
56 min: Pain whips a cross into the six-yard box, looking for Nabbout, and Skrtel has to turn it behind for a corner. Makarounas's corner is cleared.
54 min: A wee pre-season lull.
51 min: Another corner for Victory. The hulking Geria heads well over.
50 min: A loose pass by Gerrard - we are informed this is extremely rare by Jim Beglin - gives Victory a half-chance; Pain's shot is deflected wide for a corner which Jones flaps clear.
48 min: LUIS SUAREZ HAS PUT HIS SHINPADS ON!!!!!!
47 min: Liverpool are quickly on the attack. Gerrard drifts a corner to the near post where Skrtel glances a looping header goalwards. Coe pushes it over. The second corner's cleared.
46 min: What we've got ourselves here is a second half. "Talk of the MCG always makes me think of that (in)famous director, and relentless purveyor of Hollywood cheese, McG," says Jack Stevens. "Come to think of it, he'd be an ideal choice to oversee the big budget sequel to the smash hit comedy Being: Liverpool, no?" I'm waiting for Being: Brendan. Let's really get to know the man.
"Lovely goal to Stevie "MC" G, by the way," says Simon Hoyle. "(Sorry - couldn't resist that one!)" Don't apologise. It is A Good One.
"I get berated any time I break the shorts out in work," says Kevin Comber. "After so many years of taking from people, I feel it's only fair I give everyone the sight of my sexy calves/horribly white knees."
If you can wear shorts, why wouldn't wear shorts? Unless you're Ben Bradshaw.
"Hi Jacob - why no names on the Liverpool shirts do you reckon?" says Simon Hoyle. "Is it to stop a riot among the Victory players at the end of the match as they all try to get a Joe Allen shirt?"
Half-time: Liverpool 1-0 Melbourne Victory
Peep! Peep! Liverpool lead thanks to Steven Gerrard's goal. It's been entertaining enough.
45 min: Sterling tees up Gerrard on the edge of the area but his side-footer floats over the bar. "Of course the MCG was, as all Australian football fans will never forget, the venue for that qualifier against Iran," says Andrew Shillito. "Sob."
44 min: Henderson plays a reverse-pass through to Ibe, who's through on goal ... but offside. "Shorts, oh yes!" says Luke Williams. "Not worn longs for weeks now, even at work. California lifestyle here in Central Europe (35 degrees predicted for the weekend). And my alter ego The Incredible Pedant is mumbling in his sleep that, Australian or no, the pitch cannot be an oval according to FIFA rules."
41 min: "While Australian Football has it's place at the famous MCG it has also hosted some (as Australians like me call it) 'real' football," says Matthew Thomsett. "The last match was the Socceroos v Greece in 2006 where Josip Skoko scored this belter."
40 min: "Absolutely loving this," says John Rouffas. "95000 at the mcg and everyone supporting liverpool and applauding victory. The noise is deafening. And both teams have YNWA as their theme. Hope they do this every year. It's fantastic."
39 min: "Boba Fettz - au contraire mon ami," says Andrew Danson. "Off the top of my head I can think of goals scored by Liverpool from corners last season against Man City and Chelsea, and a quick review of the stats shows that Liverpool scored 10 goals from corners and 9 from free kicks. Pretty good wouldn't you say?" Isn't scoring from a corner a bit much for Brendan?
37 min: Henderson has a dig from 25 yards out. It's straight at Coe. "Wearing shorts today?" says Simon McMahon. "In my house, the months of April to October are known as 'shorts season'. It takes more than a thunderstorm to change that." Looking round the office, there are three of us in shorts.
36 min: This could have been a second for Gerrard. The tricky, speedy Ibe rolled past Broxham on the right and drilled a cross-shot which Coe pushed out as far as Gerrard, who could only hoick the rebound over the bar. It came at him too quickly and at an awkward height.
35 min: Borini slashes one high and wide from 25 yards. "You know, it's not really that odd to be playing football at the MCG," says James Coventry. "It's hosted Australian footy since 1858... five years before you lot scribbled the rules for the round ball one." Right. It's still odd to see it.
GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Melbourne Victory (Gerrard, 31 min)
Steven Gerrard scores in front of his people. From around 35 yards out, Allen rolled a pass towards the area. It might have been intended for Borini but it drifted past him, into the space and into the path of the onrushing Gerrard, who stormed into the gap and placed a firm low shot into the bottom-left corner with his right foot from 15 yards out. Classic Gerrard and a timely goal, because Victory had been growing in confidence.
28 min: Joe Allen suddenly shimmies past a couple of challenges in the Victory area but scuffs his shot straight at Coe from 15 yards out.
26 min: Ah, the first picture of Luis Suarez, sitting happily on the bench. I think he might be growing a beard.
21 min: A fine save from Coe! Gerrard finds a bit of space outside the area and lets fly. His shot takes a deflection on its way through and Coe has to react quickly to soar to his left and beat the ball away. "There's a surprise, a Liverpool corner comes to nothing, surely only Newcastle are worse at set pieces?" says Boba Fettz.
20 min: It's come to my attention that the Melbourne Victory formation might not be correct. That's based on someone who's jotted down at centre-back popping up on the right wing, nutmegging Jose Enrique and firing a 20-yarder which Jones has to get down well to save. Strong work from the Mighty Boosh's Nabbout.
19 min: Who's wearing shorts today? I'm clinging on to the dream.
18 min: Sterling moves the ball on to his right foot and shoots from 25 yards out but although it's struck firmly, he cuts across the ball and achieves too much swerve.
17 min: Allen dinks a pass towards Henderson but a defensive header ends up almost letting in Borini. It's eventually headed behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.
16 min: Having started nervously, Victory are starting to settle and have just enjoyed a period of possession, which was handy enough for their confidence but ultimately harmless as far as Liverpool were concerned.
15 min: Nothingness.
12 min: Pain looks like he might have a bit of talent. He's certainly nippy.
10 min: Liverpool's defence looked pretty shaky against Indonesia and it wasn't too clever here either. A pass is played in between Skrtel and Wisdom, neither of them bothering to deal with it, instead leaving it to Jones. One problem: he's fast asleep, allowing Pain to race through and beat him to the ball. He's forced too wide though and without support, he can't capitalise on the situation. Moments later, though, he's streaming past Johnson and cutting back an inviting ball which was begging to be turned home.
9 min: "Can I assume from the MBM coverage that only teams in red have been having pre-season games?" says Duncan Smith. "I know numbers are vital for revenue, but it really aids the hegemony of the Sky 4 to only cover those teams (and Bournemouth)." Er, Melbourne Victory play in blue.
7 min: Victory are struggling to keep the ball for any sustained amount of time.
6 min: This is a good attempt from Sterling. Gerrard pings a lovely ball over the top of the dawdling Ansell, who's left Sterling onside. The ball just won't sit down for Sterling, though, allowing Ansell to get back and eventually the winger has to improvise from an awkward angle and hook a clever left-footed volley past the far post.
4 min: Liverpool are passing and moving, as is their groove.
3 min: A low-key start. It's a bit odd seeing a football match in a cricket ground. The pitch is an oval. "Combining Piers Morgan with the word "embarrassment" is almost as ludicrous as doing so with "humility"- or for that matter "talent"...," says Simon Adelman. "As a lifelong Liverpool fan what's truly depressing about this is that he's able to talk positively about Arsenal spending a large amount money on good players, whereas Liverpool... well, we might pick up a continental castoff or two."
And we're off! Melbourne Victory, in their blue and white kit, get the game underway and are on the attack straight away. They fail to score. "Seeing as there are concerts and NFL games held at Wembley, I guess the Australians have given up on cricket in the same way we've given up on football," says James Galloway. "We know about it, but it's just something that happens to other people these days."
A rousing rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone. It's like Gregg Bakowski's wedding all over again.
The stadium is packed and the fans are decked out in their Liverpool garb. Imagine the excitement of seeing Joe Allen for the first time. "Talking of contracts, are Premiership teams contractually bound to tour Asia and the Far East during the close season?" says Simon McMahon. "It appears Spurs are about to play Sunderland at water football in Hong Kong."
West Ham have been in Hamburg. It went well.
Out stride the teams at, er, the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Have Australia totally given up on cricket then?
"The Guardian website really is the gift that just keeps giving," says Simon McMahon. "More MBM pre-season fare to keep us live commentary junkies going in these lean days when we have to content ourselves with cricket, tennis, golf and cycling before proper football returns. Are you doing the world famous Dundee United FC's game at Dunfermline tonight?"
I think that's one for Scott Murray.
"So Pere Guardiola thinks this clause triggers a sale, Liverpool think we just have to tell Suarez about the bid," says Richard Powell. "I can see the words ‘Court of Arbitration for Sport’ being uttered shortly."
Does Suarez really need Liverpool to tell him about the bid? He could just take a look at his beloved English media.
CONTINUING A LONG-RUNNING GUARDIAN SERIES: PIERS ON SOCCER
Doesn't he ever get tired of embarrassing himself?
Liverpool come into this game after a stunning 2-0 win over an Indonesia XI on Saturday. Coutinho, who's out with a knock, and Sterling, who's one of eight changes from Saturday's win, got the goals. Liverpool are looking to make it three wins in three friendlies, having also beaten Preston 4-0, although they are up against a team with Pain in their midfield. And that means bread.
Fair play to Arsenal. For years their comedy has been decidedly slapstick, Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny veering into Laurel and Hardy territory and each other, Emmanuel Eboue conceding an equalising penalty in the 11th minute of stoppage time, the entire team throwing away a four-goal lead at Newcastle and Arsene Wenger spending cash money on Gervinho. But not this time. They've put some thought into this one: it might be the funniest thing a football club has ever done. They might not even need a laughter track to accompany it. Ok, it's a bit closer to Punk'd than it is to Curb but offering Liverpool £40m plus £1 for Luis Suarez in order to trigger a supposed clause in his contract is an expert piece of trolling. You've got to hand it to them. Unless you're Liverpool. They're fuming. Their owner, John W Henry, has even taken to Twitter to ask what Arsenal are smoking. It's Arsenal: they'll be smoking cigars.
Liverpool, featuring Gnasher on the bench: Jones; Johnson, Skrtel, Wisdom, Enrique; Gerrard, Allen, Henderson; Ibe, Borini, Sterling. Subs: Mignolet, Kelly, Coates, Agger, Flanagan, Spearing, Lucas, Downing, Alberto, Aspas, Suarez, Robinson, Assaidi.
Melbourne Victory: Coe; Ansell, Broxham, Nabbout, Celeski; James Jeggo, Pain, Makarounas, Leijer; Galloway, Geria.
Kick-off: 11am BST.