Liverpool produced a comprehensive victory over their National League opposition to kick off pre-season, thrashing Tranmere Rovers 4-0.
Tranmere Rovers 0-4 Liverpool
Pre-Season Friendly, Prenton Park
July 12, 2017
Milner 34′ (pen) (assist – Ojo)
Grujic 44′ (assist – Ojo)
Chirivella 50′ (assist – Solanke)
Woodburn 78′ (pen) (assist – Kent)
The Reds kicked off their pre-season campaign with a trip across the Mersey to Birkenhead, taking on Micky Mellon’s National League hopefuls in a domestic friendly clash.
With the majority of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad now back in training ahead of 2017/18, the German was able to name a strong starting lineup for Liverpool’s maiden summer outing.
However, Mohamed Salah missed out due to work-permit issues, while Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane were also unavailable as they continue fitness work at Melwood.
Still bolstered by a formidable unit, the Reds will have taken to Prenton Park confident of a productive runout, and it proved to be just that.
- Klopp names two XIs, Karius only player in both
- Milner opens scoring with penalty after Ojo fouled
- Grujic nets second with 30-yard scorcher
- Chirivella scores on first appearance after loan
- Woodburn seals victory with late spot-kick
Liverpool lined up in a 4-3-3 formation from kickoff, with Daniel Sturridge in the central role up front, flanked by Sheyi Ojo and Roberto Firmino.
The striker almost laid on the opening goal within the first minute, channelling Steven Gerrard to send a long, lofted ball through for the onrushing Ojo, who sent his shot wide of the post.
Joel Matip was next up with a great chance, but the centre-back hammered his close-range effort over the bar after Lucas Leiva had cleverly flicked on James Milner‘s corner.
While Ojo and Trent Alexander-Arnold were bright throughout, it was another of Klopp’s youngsters, Marko Grujic, who forced a save from Scott Davies on the half-hour mark, with Sturridge scuffing the rebound.
Davies was at fault shortly after, however, bringing down the onrushing Ojo to concede a penalty, which Milner duly fired into the bottom corner.
Grujic was not to be outdone, and the Serbian made it 2-0 before half-time with a bending 30-yard strike that once again underlined his potential as a first-team midfielder.
Klopp made 10 changes at half-time, including a first appearance for summer signing Dominic Solanke, who replaced Sturridge to take up the centre-forward role.
Solanke came close to marking his maiden outing with an early goal, but Davies was on hand to parry his close-range effort, leaving Pedro Chirivella with a simple finish in the six-yard box.
With the game taking a slower pace after the hour, Klopp took the opportunity to replace Loris Karius with 18-year-old academy goalkeeper Kamil Grabara, whose first involvement saw him watch ex-Reds youngster Jack Dunn’s free-kick sail wide.
With the game looking set to trail out to a 3-0 win, a fine burst from Ryan Kent saw the winger lay the ball through for Ben Woodburn, who was brought down in the box for a second penalty kick.
The young Welshman converted his effort, securing an emphatic victory on Liverpool’s return to action this summer.
TIA Man of the Match: Alexander-Arnold
Referee: Mike Dean
Tranmere Rovers: Davies; Buxton, McNulty, Sutton, Ridehalgh; Duggan, Harris, Hughes, Norburn; Cook, Norwood
Liverpool: Karius (Grabara 67′); Alexander-Arnold (Clyne 46′), Matip (Gomez 46′), Lucas (Klavan 46′), Milner (Flanagan 46′); Henderson (Stewart 46′), Grujic (Chirivella 46′), Wijnaldum (Woodburn 46′); Ojo (Markovic 46′), Firmino (Kent 46′), Sturridge (Solanke 46′)
Subs not used: Randall
Next match: Wigan Athletic (A) – Pre-Season Friendly – July 14