England continued their preparations for Euro 2016 with a 2-1 win over Australia on Friday night, we assess how the Liverpool players performed on the night.
The Three Lions’ penultimate friendly before Euro 2016 saw Roy Hodgson’s side defeat the Socceroos in the North East.
Rashford’s goal, coupled with Daniel Sturridge‘s calf injury, means the Liverpool striker is now in potential danger of missing the tournament in France. That may not be a bad thing for Liverpool.
As was left-back Brad Smith for the Socceroos.
Here’s how the England quartet fared:
Having not been a part of England’s 2-1 victory over Turkey last weekend, due to Liverpool’s excursions in the Europa League final, Clyne was restored at right-back on Friday evening.
The 24-year-old remains in a straight fight with Kyle Walker for a starting berth at Euro 2016, and he did his chances no harm against Australia.
This was a typically solid showing from Clyne, but there were also some attacking bursts that we saw become more prominent at Liverpool as the season progressed.
His positional sense was invariably immaculate, and on the rare occasion when he was called upon defensively, he did his job well. Socceroos wide man Aaron Mooy was kept very quiet.
On the ball, Clyne wasn’t always as reliable as he can be, losing possession cheaply on a couple of occasions, but he was still neat and tidy.
He provided plenty of non-stop energy down the right flank, linking up effectively with Liverpool teammate Henderson on occasions.
One fierce long-range effort missed the target midway through the second-half, further highlighting his confidence in the final third.
Like a large majority of international friendlies, it was tough to properly gauge Clyne’s performance level – Australia were a limited opponent, despite causing England a few problems – but he should be pleased with his evening’s work.
With England looking susceptible in the centre of defence ahead of the Euros, playing the more defence-savvy Clyne over Walker makes total sense.
He may lack the explosiveness of his international teammate, but when it comes to being consistent and reliable, there is no comparison.
For a while, it looked as though Henderson would miss this summer’s Euros, but the Liverpool skipper has seemingly done enough to prove his fitness.
Despite being far from his most influential, the 25-year-old will see Friday’s game as another important run-out, at the home of former club Sunderland.
In typical Hodgson fashion, however, the ex-Reds manager decided to start Henderson completely out of position, in a move that baffled many.
He was deployed on the right-hand side in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Arsenal‘s Jack Wilshere and Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater starting centrally.
Predictably, Henderson didn’t always look at home out wide, with a preference for the easy ball and inability to beat his man both apparent.
It is not a role where he will naturally shine, though, so he should not be overly criticised for his failings.
A decent strike forced goalkeeper Mathew Ryan into a save shortly before half-time, although his shooting was otherwise disappointing.
One classy piece of link-up play with Lallana was a moment that caught the eye, and Henderson also displayed his ability to interchange with the likes of Wilshere and Drinkwater on occasions.
An excellent searching pass for Rooney early in the second-half outlined his quality on the ball, while a clever back-heel to Clyne highlighted his underrated craft.
By this point, he had returned to a more central role, and he looked far happier there. Henderson was still going strong in the final stages, making some trademark lung-busting runs forward.
Question marks do remain about his place in England’s starting line-up, however, with plenty of competition for places in midfield.
There were times when he looked lacking in creativity and guile, but as is the case for Liverpool, his off-the-ball work was impressive, and he did the understated things well.
Lallana has been a favourite of Hodgson’s in recent times, with the 28-year-old tipped to start the Three Lions’ first game of Euro 2016, against Russia on 12th June.
Having not featured against Turkey, Lallana came back into the side on Friday, taking up a slightly different position to the one he has adopted at Liverpool this season.
The former Southampton man was used as a No. 10, instead of the right-sided role he has become accustomed to, with Henderson and former Liverpool man Raheem Sterling either side of him.
Despite not setting the world alight during his 45 minutes on the pitch, Lallana took his impressive club form with him to the international stage, looking a lively presence throughout.
His work-rate and intelligence came to the fore for much of the half, and his silky quality on the ball also helped England look more polished than they often have under Hodgson.
Lallana had a good chance to double his side’s lead near the half-hour mark, having been found by man-of-the-moment Rashford, but he was thwarted by former Liverpool target Ryan. He must add more goals to his game.
There wasn’t always a huge amount of substance to Lallana’s play, as has been labelled at him by some Reds supporters, but he still ensured he will be a key part of Hodgson’s plans in the coming weeks.
It would be a surprise if Lallana was kept in a central attacking role, though, with his floating style more effective in wider areas.
With changes made at half-time, Milner was introduced in place of Wilshere, and the 30-year-old took up the central midfield berth he made his own at Anfield towards the end of the season.
It was a cameo that perfectly summed up Milner in many ways – dependable, unspectacular, reliable but slightly limited.
The match felt like a training session at times in the second-half, and in truth, Milner really did have very little to do.
Everything that was asked of him he did effectively – one late shot wide was as exciting as it got – and he will know as much as anyone that he won’t feature heavily at the Euros.
His versatility is always a bonus, however.