Five goals for five-star Reds – 5 talking points from Liverpool 5-0 Napoli

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Liverpool put five past Napoli in a convincing pre-season win, just a week before the Premier League season starts.

Liverpool 5-0 Napoli

Pre-Season Friendly (8), Aviva Stadium
August 4, 2018

Goals: Milner 4′, Wijnaldum 9′, Salah 59′, Sturridge 73′, Moreno 77′


Alisson Attack

DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Saturday, August 4, 2018: Liverpool's new signing goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the preseason friendly match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at Landsdowne Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Brazilian goalkeeper was given a generous reception as he emerged onto the pitch for the pre-match warm-up, with Loris Karius and Caoimhin Kelleher in tow.

A similar welcome greeted him as he took his position between the posts for the start of the match, and it wasn’t long before he was making an impact.

Obviously comfortable on the ball, outfield players will happily involve him in the build-up play. A stark contrast to the nervousness seen in this area in the past.

His first involvement was to ping a pass behind the Napoli defence for Mohamed Salah, and the position it put Liverpool in produced the first goal.

More neat passing followed, with only one chipped pass to the touchline going out of play over the head of Andy Robertson.

He was called upon to do some goalkeeping when Napoli had their first shot on target late in the first half, which he turned behind for a corner.

He made another decent save at his near post in the second, and will be pleased with his day’s work, as will the fans who saw him make his first appearance for Liverpool.

 

Milner & Midfield Dynamics

CHARLOTTE, USA - Sunday, July 22, 2018: Liverpool's James Milner during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC at the Bank of America Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have a number of options in midfield this season, thanks to the additions of Naby Keita and Fabinho during this transfer window.

While the new duo may seem like shoo-ins for the starting XI, the pair which started alongside Keita here in Dublin made a good case for their inclusion on the opening day of the season—James Milner especially.

With club captain Jordan Henderson returning late following England’s World Cup exploits, vice-captain Milner could wear the armband on the opening day of the season.

His performance here suggested he’s ready to go. He scored the first, lurking on the edge of the area to tuck away Mane’s pull-back, and assisted the second with a cross to Wijnaldum.

His celebrations following both events were non-existent. The model pro knows this is just a friendly and the real work starts next week.

If the injury he picked up following a clash of heads is serious, then he will be a big miss in that opener.

 

Gomez Cements His Place Alongside Van Dijk?

DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Saturday, August 4, 2018: Liverpool's players line-up for a team group photograph before the preseason friendly match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at Landsdowne Road. Back row L-R: Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, new signing goalkeeper Alisson Becker. Front row L-R: Georginio Wijnaldum, Naby Keita, Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner, Andy Robertson. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With just a week to go before the first game, Jurgen Klopp will no doubt have an eye on his starting XI.

The team which started in Dublin could very well be the one which starts at Anfield a week later, which means Joe Gomez will take his place alongside Virgil van Dijk in the centre of defence.

The young English defender missed out on a place in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad in order to undergo surgery on his ankle, but the summer break could mean he has the opportunity to make a case for continued first-team inclusion.

Dejan Lovren is one of the club’s World Cup stars who will arrive back late, while Joel Matip picked up an injury in the friendly against Borussia Dortmund.

Luck has been against Gomez for much of his time at Liverpool so far, but things could finally be going his way.

 

Shaqiri Striker

DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Saturday, August 4, 2018: Liverpool's new signing Xherdan Shaqiri during the preseason friendly match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at Landsdowne Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Swiss international showed yet again why the club’s recruitment team have tracked him for so long, and why they finally took the opportunity to sign him after his former side, Stoke City, were relegated.

He came on at half-time to replace Firmino, and after receiving some animated instruction from Klopp, he took up the centre-forward position.

He played it as Firmino does, dropping deep to link play, spraying passes long and short, and pressing intensely.

It was his cross from the left which eventually resulted in Salah’s goal, and when the Egyptian was taken off, the new signing slotted in on the right.

From here he was able to send Divock Origi through on goal, and though the Belgian’s shot was saved, Daniel Sturridge was on hand to slot home.

This versatility, plus his ideal fit for Klopp’s system, is what made the signing a no-brainer.

It will mean he’ll feature regularly this season from the bench, or start games should one of the front three be unavailable or need a rest.

 

Dublin Embraces Liverpool

DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Saturday, August 4, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has to be pulled away by security after spending 30 minutes signing autographs for supporter after the preseason friendly match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at Landsdowne Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dubin was awash with red in the days building up to this game as Liverpool fans descended on the city, joining the army of fans already based in the Irish capital.

Despite donning their purple away kit, this was very much a home game away from home for Liverpool, and red shirts filled the stadium to capacity, with 51,512 announced as the official attendance.

You’ll Never Walk Alone was sung with a gusto this arena is used to hearing when the Irish national teams play here, as fans took the opportunity to see the Reds live in their hometown.

At full-time, the squad held a banner for Irish Red Sean Cox who was attacked before the Roma game, then handed out gifts to the fans, taking selfies and signing autographs.

Liverpool will make the short trip back across the Irish sea to prepare for the season proper with a game against Torino on Tuesday, but this was very much a taster for the new players on what to expect at Anfield.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Fan Comments