Liverpool made a positive start to pre-season with a resounding win over Tranmere, scoring six without reply on a warm evening at Prenton Park.
Tranmere 0-6 Liverpool
Pre-season friendly (1), Prenton Park
July 11, 2019
Clyne 5′ (assist – Brewster)
Brewster 37′ (assist – Wilson)
Brewster 45′ (assist – Milner)
Jones 53′ (assist – Woodburn)
Origi 59′ (assist – Matip)
Duncan 66′ (assist – Glatzel)
Forty days on from being crowned Champions of Europe, Liverpool are back in business.
Jurgen Klopp took his team to Tranmere for the first of the summer friendlies and it was a pleasing night all round.
Having picked two teams to play 45 minutes apiece, as is usual for the early pre-season games, the mixed nature of the sides gave young players an opportunity to impress alongside senior names.
In the midst of those two groups of Liverpool players were those with more uncertain futures: a trio returning from loans and hoping to either prove to Klopp they can contribute at Anfield or else win a move elsewhere.
Above all else, though, this first summer run-out was to increase fitness and match rhythm in the players, and in that regard it was a success with 22 seeing game time.
The result was also a positive one for the Reds as they put Rovers to the sword with a relentless and ruthless display in the final third.
- Larouci, Phillips and Brewster all start from U23s
- Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lallana among seniors to start; 11 changes at half-time
- Clyne’s early strike puts Reds ahead; Brewster scores brace before interval
- Jones, Origi and Bobby Duncan add second-half strikes
It took just five minutes for Liverpool to open the scoring—and it was the unlikely figure of Nathaniel Clyne who struck first.
A surging run from Joe Gomez found Brewster, he fed it wide to Clyne who was bursting into the box and the right-back let rip to finish inside the near top corner.
Tranmere had an immediate chance to equalise after a mistake from Gomez, but the centre-back recovered to produce a big block as Jennings looked to shoot.
Yasser Larouci then showed his attacking instincts down the left, bombarding forward from defence, and two shots forced saves from the Tranmere keeper. It was the 18-year-old who caught the eye early on, bursting into the final third at every opportunity and doing well with a couple of defensive challenges too.
Adam Lallana and James Milner alternated as the deepest midfielder in the Reds’ centre, though both also got themselves into the area at times, trying to latch onto through-balls or knock-downs.
Understandably, the football was disjointed at times and slightly out of sync with the off-the-ball movement, but there were a few nice moments of link-up between Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Harry Wilson and Brewster.
As the half-time break crept closer Liverpool upped the tempo again, doubtless with the players knowing their time on the pitch was almost up, and the second goal arrived in some style.
Milner found space on the left, crossed low, Wilson did well to divert the ball back into the centre and Brewster reacted brilliantly to rise and direct a header past the ‘keeper.
The celebrations from the young striker were a clear indication of how much it meant to him to be back in action and scoring for the first team and he impressed with his movement and first touch in his 45 minutes—and looks to have filled out in the chest and shoulders somewhat, too.
His predatory instincts were on show minutes later once more, as he followed in a saved Milner shot and bounced home his second goal for 3-0 before half time.
A full 11 changes at half-time saw Divock Origi handed the captaincy; he played through the centre of the attack, with youngsters Paul Glatzel on the right and Bobby Duncan on the left.
It didn’t take long for the changed side to rediscover a scoring touch; Origi’s run down the right saw him tee up Ben Woodburn and his cross was guided home by Curtis Jones at the far post.
The very young second-half side was full of energy and willing to press, perhaps spurred on by not being chosen to start the first game of the summer.
Adam Lewis and Jones caused problems down the left flank, Vitezslav Jaros made a routine save or two and Glatzel made some nice runs between the lines—so it was almost a surprise when two seniors combined for the fifth goal.
Joel Matip sent a pass from deep, Origi showed great pace, produced a brilliant first touch and then finished below the ‘keeper as he rounded him.
Liverpool’s dominance was rewarded with another close-range goal, a finish from Duncan, but the build-up owed much to the endeavour and skill from right-back into the penalty area from Ki-Jana Hoever—a reminder that these youngsters will be hoping to provide backup options to the regular starters if Klopp doesn’t delve into the transfer market.
Jaros was beaten by a fierce Tranmere strike which was ruled out for offside, but the bigger disappointment was Glatzel going off injured after 70 minutes, a twisted knee seemingly the problem after attempting to close down the goalkeeper.
With only one sub named, goalkeeper Dan Atherton came on to play as an attacker—the second time such an incident has occurred in recent pre-seasons, after Shamal George did the same.
That injury was the only downside to the evening, though, as the Reds got back to work in style and left fans looking forward to the rest of the seniors returning to training over the next few days.
TIA Man of the Match: Rhian Brewster
LFC first half: Mignolet, Clyne, Phillips, Gomez, Larouci, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Kent, Wilson, Brewster.
LFC second half: Jaros, Hoever, Matip, Johnston, Lewis, Fabinho, Jones, Woodburn, Duncan, Glatzel (Atherton), Origi.
Referee: Mike Dean
Next Match: Bradford (away, Sunday 14 July)