Match Report: LFC Foundation Legends Charity Match 2018

Report: Xabi Alonso nets in 10-goal thriller between LFC Legends and Bayern

Xabi Alonso marked his return to Anfield with a goal, but in the colours of Bayern Munich, as the Liverpool Legends played out a 5-5 draw with their counterparts in Saturday's charity clash.

Eight strikes were traded in a frantic first half as the Reds went three ahead through Dirk Kuyt, Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler, only for Der FCB to storm into the lead via efforts from Luca Toni, Paulo Sergio and a brace from Alexander Zickler.

Fowler’s deflected free-kick made it 4-4 before the interval, but a set-piece from Alonso – who switched sides during the break – restored Bayern’s lead with 18 minutes remaining.

However, Bjorn Tore Kvarme ensured the spoils were shared as he lashed in a late equaliser to cap a highly entertaining afternoon at Anfield as vital funds were raised for the LFC Foundation in support of its charitable programmes and partnerships.

The Liverpool line-up was one to really whet the appetite as Alonso linked up with Gerrard in midfield, while Kuyt made his debut for the Reds legends in attack.

Meanwhile, it was fair to say the visiting teamsheet had a fair few stand-out names of its own as the likes of Lothar Matthaus, Bixente Lizarazu, Toni and Roy Makaay donned the Bayern jersey once again.

But it was the hosts who seized the early initiative as they took the lead with just five minutes played. Steve McManaman’s corner was half-cleared towards the edge of the area, collected by Alonso, fed to Owen and crossed for Kuyt to nod in from six yards out.

And the Dutchman had a sizeable influence on the Reds’ second goal just four minutes later as he pounced on Ze Roberto’s wayward pass and carried possession forward 40 yards before laying it wide to Gerrard.

The No.8’s ball in was initially collected by Hans-Jörg Butt; however, the goalkeeper inadvertently allowed it to slip from his clutches, presenting Owen with a tap-in.

The sprightly nature of Liverpool’s attacking thrust was causing Bayern a whole host of problems, but only a fine save from Jerzy Dudek prevented Toni from reducing the arrears with a near-post thump.

Soon, though, it was 3-0 to the home team. Again Kuyt was instrumental; this time crossing from the right to present Fowler with the simplest of tasks to nudge in after Martin Demichelis had misjudged his attempts to clear.

However, three goals in 10 minutes levelled up the scoreline before the half-hour mark as Toni looped in a header from Ze Roberto’s excellent delivery and Zickler nodded in after Sergio’s ball towards the back post.

Then, Sergio deftly steered in a low curling effort from 20 yards to complete Bayern’s comeback.

And they weren’t finished there, either; after Owen’s header had crashed against the bar, the German club took the lead, albeit in ironic fashion as Alonso’s attempt to clear from inside the Reds box only succeeded in finding the forehead of Zickler, who diverted beyond Dudek first time.

Butt then thwarted Owen at point-blank range while Toni scooped onto the roof of the net at the other end.

However, Liverpool ensured the teams returned to the dressing room at the halfway stage on level terms as Fowler’s free-kick from the corner of the box took a deflection off the Bayern wall and wrongfooted Butt to find the net.

Alonso switched allegiances during the break, while Luis Garcia, Dietmar Hamann and Vladimir Smicer entered the action for the Reds.

Once back under way, Gerrard was denied a goal at the Kop end by a combination of Butt and Demichelis after bursting into space, and Daniel Agger glanced over the crossbar from a Jason McAteer cross.

Garcia then nudged narrowly off target and Kuyt whacked the side-netting as Liverpool looked to edge back in front.

Matthaus left the field to a standing ovation from all inside Anfield on the hour, before Ian Rush’s entrance into proceedings prompted similar decibel levels.

Alonso attempted a trademark effort from inside his own half soon after, but it didn’t catch substitute custodian David James off guard.

However, the popular Spaniard did find the net on 72 minutes when he swung a sweet free-kick around the wall and into the corner from the edge of the box to put Bayern 5-4 ahead.

Zvjezdan Misimovic somehow spurned the chance to further the Germans’ advantage after rounding James, while the hosts threatened to restore parity through opportunities for Garcia and Smicer.

Gerrard’s acrobatic chest, spin and volley almost brought the house down before the end, but the scoreline was levelled up with three minutes left to play when Kvarme pounced on a loose ball and crashed an effort into the roof of the net.

There was still time for Gerrard to smack the crossbar with a half-volley, but a draw was a fair reflection on an enjoyable – and important – afternoon at Anfield.

Liverpool Legends: Dudek, McAteer, Carragher, Agger, Riise, Alonso, Gerrard, McManaman, Kuyt, Fowler, Owen.

Subs: Rush, Aldridge, Smicer, Berger, Babb, James, Kvarme, Garcia, McAllister, Hamman.

Bayern Munich Legends: Butt, Lizarazu, Demichelis, Ze Roberto, Tarnat, Matthaus, Makaay, Zickler, Sergio, Toni, Elber.

Subs: Zimmermann, Van Buyten, Pflugler, Witezcek, Gospodarek, Alonso, Ottl, Sternkopf, Misimovic.