Benjani marked his return to action in the best possible way in City’s win over Liverpool at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The Zimbabwean striker pounced just before the break to score what turned out to be the winning goal, meaning that Glyn Hodges’ young side have now done the double over Gary Ablett’s talented team in the space of a month in the Barclays Premier Reserve League.
Darius Vassell & Michael Ball, along with Benjani, increased the average age of the Blues team as the trio put 45 minutes under their belts before the side reverted to a more traditional, Academy-based eleven.
Paul Marshall opened the scoring after just nine minutes, pouncing on an error by Huth on the edge of the area and drilling the ball past Gulacsi.
The rest of the half was largely without incident until two goals inside two minutes just before the break changed the face of the match. Firstly, El Zhar levelled the scores when he drove the ball in from 20 yards out, but the Blues hit back almost immediately through another error in the Reds’ defence. Benjani had nearly latched on to McDermott’s through ball but looked to have been denied by Huth, however Gulacsi fumbled the chance to save and Benjani did not need to be asked twice, quickly pouncing on the rebound to net from close range.
The experienced senior City trio made their exit at the break, after which the game went quiet with neither side coming too close to adding to the score. James Poole skied a good chance over the bar on 65 minutes, while at the other end Brouwer dragged a shot well wide.
Liverpool: Peter Gulacsi, Stephen Darby, Emiliano Insua, Daniel Ayala (Mikel San Jose 71), Ronald Huth, Damien Plessis, Nabil El Zhar, Jay Spearing (Vincent Weijl 71), Jordy Brouwer, Daniel Pacheco (Andras Simon 81), Gerardo Bruna. Unused Subs: Dean Bouzanis, Steven Irwin.
City: Tobias Johansen, Shaleum Logan, Michael Ball (James Poole 46), Ben Mee, Clayton McDonald, Adam Clayton, Vladimir Weiss, Paul Marshall, Darius Vassell (Sam Williamson 46), Benjani (Ian Daly 46), Donal McDermott. Unused subs: Greg Hartley, Scott Kay.