With the domestic season over and international football taking centre stage, Ben Twelves takes a look at how the selected Reds performed for their national teams this weekend.
Brazil overcame Mexico on Sunday night as they warmed up for the Copa America that starts next week with a 2-0 win – a game that saw Coutinho start and score his first international goal.
Philippe Coutinho with an actual Golaço https://t.co/f5gPen00Ax
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) June 7, 2015
The Magician opened the scoring with an outstanding effort on the half hour mark, when a sublime turn left his marker for dead and he fired inside the near post into the far corner of the net from an almost impossible angle, deceiving the Mexico goalkeeper.
Coutinho completed 70 minutes of the clash before being withdrawn after a productive night’s work and he will hope to be rewarded with a successive start on Thursday night after his eye-catching performance, when Brazil take on Honduras in their final warm up game before the tournament commences.
Philippe Coutinho celebrating his first ever goal at international level for Brazil. pic.twitter.com/De0C1cjBW6
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 7, 2015
The Liverpool four including new-boy James Milner all took part for England in their appalling friendly against Republic of Ireland ahead of their looming Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia next Sunday.
Henderson and Milner formed the midfield three ahead of deep-lying Jack Wilshere from the beginning for Roy Hodgson’s side in a truly uninspiring clash, in which Henderson later moved to the controlling role himself when the Arsenal man was replaced by Ross Barkley.
The energetic pair both played the full 90 minutes with Henderson one of England’s better performers with some impressive distribution at the Aviva Stadium, where Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling lined up in the three man attack either side of Wayne Rooney.
Sterling – who was subjected to boos from the home crowd throughout – endured a largely ineffective afternoon in a right side position continuing his poor finish to the campaign, before he was replaced just after the hour mark by Andros Townsend.
Lallana lasted longer, playing up until the 82nd minute when he was withdrawn for Theo Walcott, and the creative midfielder – like Sterling – also struggled in a poor game, enduring an extremely unproductive match in which he was very much on the fringes of the action.
The Reds’ attacking midfielder came on a second half substitute and scored for Serbia in their 4-1 friendly victory against Azerbijan on Sunday afternoon.
Entering after 56 minutes into a left side attacking midfield role– a position that Markovic has played at Anfield all too rarely this season – he notched when he fired a powerful effort inside the near post from the edge of the box, after skipping a challenge well and stepping inside onto his favoured right foot.
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) June 7, 2015
Having made a positive impact with his goal a minute from time, the 21-year-old will be hopeful that he is rewarded for his exploits with a return to the starting XI next Sunday, when Serbia take on Denmark in their Euro 2016 qualifying fixture.
Liverpool’s best centre back was forced to watch on from the bench as his France side were beaten 4-3 by Belgium on Sunday night.
Sakho started amongst the substitutes with Raphael Varane and Laurent Koscielny Didier Deschamps preferred central defensive pairing on the night, and that’s where he remained for the duration of the eventful fixture in Paris.
After watching his side ship four goals, the France boss could recall Sakho to his starting XI next Saturday when they face Albania.
— Simon Mignolet (@SMignolet) June 6, 2015
Liverpool’s Belgian duo watched on from the other dugout for the full 90 minutes in Paris as Belgium came out on top.
Chelsea’s Thiebaut Courtouis was the preferred choice between the sticks on the night over Mignolet, and Liverpool’s reported number one transfer target Christian Benteke – who played an hour in the fixture – was Marc Wilmot’s chosen man to lead the line ahead of Origi.
Belgium take on Wales in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday night and both Reds will be hopeful of involvement in the fixture. [td_ad_box spot_id=“custom_ad_3″]
After a strong end to the season with Sunderland, Coates has been included in Uruguay’s squad for the Copa America.
In preparation for the competition, Uruguay faced Guatemala on Saturday night where they strolled to a comfortable 5-1 success, without the need for talisman, Luis Suarez.
The Reds centre back – one of six defenders called up to Oscar Tabarez’s squad for the tournament – was an unused substitute for the convincing victory however, which set his side up nicely ahead of next Sunday’s opening tournament game against Jamaica.