Liverpool warmed up for next weekend’s Premier League opener against Southampton with an emphatic victory over Borussia Dortmund, with Philippe Coutinho in sensational form and Dejan Lovren scoring on his Reds debut.
Liverpool 4-0 Borussia Dortmund
Friendly / Anfield / Sunday, 10th August 2014
By Henry Jackson
Brendan Rodgers named arguably his strongest possible side for Liverpool‘s final pre-season game of the summer, as the Northern Irishman prepared for next Sunday’s Premier League opener at home to Southampton.
Javier Manquillo, Dejan Lovren and Emre Can were all handed their Anfield debuts, in a side also containing key players Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.
It was a total of four changes from the side that lost to Manchester United at the start of the week, with Martin Kelly, Mamadou Sakho, Joe Allen and Rickie Lambert making way for Manquillo, Lovren, Can and Sturridge.
Sterling had Liverpool‘s first decent effort on goal, testing Mitchell Langerak following a typically incisive pass from Coutinho.
The brilliant Brazilian then made the opening goal of the contest after just nine minutes, producing a sensational touch to find Sturridge, who finished clinically. It was another standout moment in an outstanding pre-season for Coutinho.
Four minutes later the lead was doubled, as Lovren enjoyed a moment he will never forget. The £20m signing powered home a header from Gerrard’s corner to make it 2-0, as the Reds showed signs of continuing their remarkable goalscoring form of last season.
Coutinho continued to dazzle, first firing wide from a Sterling pass then returning the favour which a terrific ball which the young Englishman failed to make the most of.
Dortmund started to enjoy more possession as the half progressed, but did little with the ball. Gerrard tested Langerak with a free-kick just before half-time, and the two sides left the pitch at the break with the hosts in total control.
It took just three minutes for Liverpool to add a third, and unsurprisingly it was Sterling and Coutinho who were again involved. The former found the 22-year-old with a clever ball, and he fired home from the angle.
The quality of the Reds’ football was a joy to watch, with slick passing, pace and creativity on display in abundance.
On the hour mark it was 4-0. Sturridge’s endeavour to keep the ball in play- it actually went out- eventually saw him find Jordan Henderson, who finished from close-range in front of the Kop.
The intensity of the game died a little once numerous substitutes began being introduced. Coutinho was deservedly given a standing ovation as he left the pitch after 71 minutes.
The match continued to peter out, but as Martin Atkinson blew the final whistle it signalled the end of a terrific all-round performance by Liverpool, and the perfect way to prepare for their assault on the 2014/15 season.
Man of the Match: Philippe Coutinho
Rodgers opted for the 4-3-3 formation from the start, with Johnson at left-back and Manquillo on the right. Can and Henderson pushed forward from midfield with Gerrard sat deep, while Coutinho and Sterling supported Sturridge from wide areas.
The high-intensity pressing and fluent football was out in full force at Anfield, and Dortmund simply couldn’t cope.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Manquillo (Kelly 84), Johnson (Enrique 62), Skrtel, Lovren, Gerrard, Can (Lucas 46), Henderson (Allen 78), Sterling, Coutinho (Ibe 71), Sturridge (Lambert 74)
Subs not used: Jones, Toure, Sakho, Coates, Suso.
Borussia Dortmund starting XI: Langerak, Piszczek, Ginter, Papastathopoulos, Schmelzer, Kehl, Jojic, Kirch, Mkhitaryan, Aubemayang, Ramos