There was plenty of praise for an on-fire Rhian Brewster after his brace ensured Liverpool walked away from the pre-season clash at Salzburg with a 2-2 draw.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men were put through their paces for the final time in Austria at the Red Bull Arena on Tuesday, with Salzburg offering a stern test for the season ahead.
The manager had anticipated an intense and strong opponent, one which would cause a myriad of problems but the Reds arguably got more than they bargained for.
A sloppy start saw Salzburg rifle in two goals within 13 minutes of the opening whistle, with Liverpool caught on their heels with the hosts sharper in mind and body.
The fixture, of course, came following intense training sessions of their own for Liverpool with it still being in the midst of pre-season, ensuring heavy legs all around.
However, while a strong starting XI struggled to find the net, a host of changes after 63 minutes saw the game-changer enter the fray – with Brewster’s calm composure seeing him net twice in nine minutes.
And Gini Wijnaldum was “not impressed” by the 20-year-old as he’s witnessed his quality up close for a number of years now.
But speaking to LFCTV post-match, the midfielder credited Liverpool’s strength in depth for turning the game around, quality which will prove vital throughout a congested 2020/21 campaign:
“A really tough [game] first of all and also a difficult game. The way they play is a little similar to how we play.
“We didn’t start the game well but we finished it good with the substitutes which came in.
“That’s how it should be [strength in depth]. We all know with the fixtures that it’s going to be a really difficult season with a lot of games so a lot of players will play a lot of games.
“So if you have the players who can bring quality to the pitch it makes it even better for the team, so we’re really happy that the guys who came in, the young players, made a difference.
“I’m not impressed [by Brewster] because I know already the quality he has, we’ve trained together for a few years and he’s shown his finishing is unbelievable so I’m not really impressed.”
The result ensures Liverpool leave Austria with an unbeaten record this summer, with their latest outing following on from a 3-0 win over Stuttgart.
But more importantly, Klopp was able to have nearly his entire squad at his disposal in the summer for the first time since he arrived at Melwood, with their training blocks laying the foundations for the relentless season ahead.
And for James Milner, the outing marked “another good workout” to bring close to a “productive 10-day camp,” but it was his assessment of his younger teammate which caught the eye.
The vice-captain provided the assist for the “goal machine’s” first and his hashtag game remained strong with “#brewsteronflames”:
For the man himself, it was “good to get more minutes in the legs” and “score in the shirt,” where he will no doubt be aiming for more when the Reds next play on Saturday:
Finally, Curtis Jones and Wijnaldum viewed the friendly as a fierce contest which will only help Liverpool “get stronger” as they move ever closer to the opener against Leeds United:
Now, all attention turns to Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley on Saturday for the first shot at silverware this season – with Klopp vowing that his team will “play better.”