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Gomez injured, Oxlade-Chamberlain in central role – How the Liverpool players performed vs. Netherlands

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England earned a deserved 1-0 win away to the Netherlands on Friday evening, with five Liverpool players involved from the start.

The two nations went head to head in a friendly at the Johan Cruyff Arena, with Gareth Southgate’s side preparing for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

There is no place for the Netherlands, however, and Ronald Koeman’s first match in charge heralded the start of a new era following their failure to qualify.

In the end, it was the Three Lions who got the victory after an impressive display, with Jesse Lingard firing home a second-half winner.

Adam Lallana had to make do with a place on the substitutes’ bench, but every other Liverpool player started.

Here’s how they fared, with some flourishing, others disappointing and one suffering an injury scare…

 

Joe Gomez

England's Joe Gomez in action during the International friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London . Picture date: 14th November 2017. Picture credit should read: David Klein/Sportimage via PA Images

Joe Gomez was rewarded for an excellent season with a start in Amsterdam, although he wasn’t used as a right-back, as has been the norm in 2017/18.

The 20-year-old earned his third cap for England as a left-sided centre-back in a 3-5-2 system, alongside John Stones and Kyle Walker, with Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose at wing-back.

Unfortunately, his night was to end in very premature fashion, as an ankle injury forced him off inside the opening 10 minutes.

There is no news yet on the severity of the problem, and one man waiting with bated breath is Jurgen Klopp.

The injury will be of real concern to the Liverpool manager, ahead of the upcoming Champions League quarter-final with Man City, and an important Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace next Saturday.

Nathaniel Clyne may have to be called upon sooner than expected.

 

Jordan Henderson

SEVILLE, SPAIN - Monday, November 20, 2017: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Sevilla FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Harry Kane injured, Jordan Henderson was given the captain’s armband, with one of the two set to skipper the Three Lions in Russia.

Deployed in the defensive midfield role that has seen him both flourish and struggle in equal measure for the Reds, a commanding performance was delivered.

The 27-year-old made an imposing start to the game, producing three excellent passes that outlined his underrated quality on the ball.

Some hounding of Reds teammate Gini Wijnaldum also displayed his energetic nature, and he came very close to opening the scoring with a flicked header.

https://twitter.com/curtiswoodhous8/status/977296950751121408

That’s not to say it was all perfect, however, with a couple of wayward passes under little pressure proving to be frustrating.

There was an authority to his game that really stood out, though, and his solidity allowed those further forward to express themselves.

He made important interceptions and showed leadership, and while much of his play wasn’t the easiest on the eye, it was impossible to deny he did well.

Henderson will never be a world-beater, but as he showed against Holland, he is an effective individual who does far more good than bad.

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

PARIS, FRANCE - Tuesday, June 13, 2017: England's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in action against France during an international friendly match at the Stade de France. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Perhaps a surprise inclusion in the starting lineup, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came into the side, and was used in the central midfield berth that has reignited his career this season.

He was unquestionably one of England’s more lively players on the night, and fully justified his place ahead of Dele Alli.

There was a crispness to his play that worked nicely with Lingard in the two attacking midfield positions, with plenty of one and two-touch play catching the eye.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pace helped give the visitors a dimension they often lack in midfield, and he never shied away from receiving the ball in tight areas.

It is clear that the 24-year-old is a player who needs to start matches well in order to thrive – he is famously self-critical – and he never looked back after a good opening.

He is maturing all the time as a footballer, and has now jumped ahead of Adam Lallana in the midfield pecking order for club and country.

This was an eye-catching all-round midfield performance.

 

Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk of Holland during the friendly match between Austria and Netherlands on June 4, 2016 at the Ernst Happel stadium in Wien, Austria. (VI Images/VI Images/PA Images)

Koeman has selected Virgil van Dijk as his new captain, so it was a special occasion for Liverpool’s record signing in his homeland.

The 26-year-old played as a left-sided centre-back in a back-three, like Gomez, with rumoured Reds transfer target Stefan de Vrij next to him.

In truth, this was far from a vintage Van Dijk display, who despite never really looking troubled, didn’t appear at his sharpest.

A few passes went astray, which is very unlike him, and he didn’t quite carry the same aura that has been so evident in his first few months at Anfield.

He looked like someone playing within himself, well aware that an international friendly was taking place, and that won’t be in Russia in June.

Most importantly for Liverpool supporters, he came through proceedings unscathed.

 

Gini Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum of Holland during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match between The Netherlands and Luxembourg at the Kuip on June 9, 2017 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Wijnaldum has struggled for fitness of late, having been struck down by illness, but Koeman still saw him as a key cog in the wheel on Friday.

He came up against both Henderson and Oxlade-Chamberlain in an intriguing midfield battle, dovetailing with Roma’s Kevin Strootman in the middle of the park.

The former Newcastle United man has often been accused of going missing in too many Liverpool games, and this was another such occasion.

The influence of the English Reds pair was far more noticeable, and Strootman for that matter, and while he did nothing wrong, more was required.

Wijnaldum does often do the thankless, unnoticed work that doesn’t receive praise, but that can’t always be used as an excuse for such lifeless performances.

Like Van Dijk, there wasn’t a huge amount of urgency on show.

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