Liverpool looked scintillating in attack as competition for places ramped up, but defensive frailties were also on show in a 4-3 friendly defeat against Bayern Munich.
Liverpool 3-4 Bayern Munich
Pre-season Friendly (4), Singapore National Stadium
August 2, 2023
Gakpo 2′ (assist: Jota)
Van Dijk 28′ (assist: Robertson)
Diaz 67′ (assist: Salah)
The penultimate friendly of the summer offered a strong hint as to what we could see at Stamford Bridge in 11 days, and we would not be opposed to seeing only a similar start on August 13.
Fast and direct, the Reds were quick to find space behind Bayern’s defence and Cody Gakpo had his name on the scoresheet inside just two minutes following a brilliant one-two with Diogo Jota.
The Dutchman had a handful of defenders on his tail but converted for 1-0 with a confident and clinical finish – suspect we will see that often in the coming season.
First half XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Jones, Mac Allister, Szoboszlai; Jota, Salah, Gakpo
The occasion was the first match since Virgil van Dijk was officially named captain and the first time Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister started together, with Curtis Jones acting as the No. 6.
With this side closer to the one we will see on the opening day, the German champions offered a timely test, with probing passes and second-ball scenarios from set-pieces.
Though Van Dijk needed only the first to steer his header into the back of the net from Andy Robertson‘s corner to make it 2-0.
The two-goal lead was then wiped out in the space of nine minutes, with Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane capitalising on attacks on the right side of Liverpool’s defence – a vulnerability that has been present throughout pre-season.
HT: Liverpool 2-2 Bayern Munich
Alexis Mac Allister was one of the departees after a knock to the knee, hopefully, it is nothing serious.
Despite the humidity, the intensity remained and it was Mohamed Salah and Diaz who combined with devastating effect for goal No. 3, with the new No. 7 starting the move on the halfway before finishing with precision only seconds later.
Second half XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold (Gomez 62′), Matip (Konate 46′), Van Dijk (Quansah 75′), Robertson (Tsimikas 62′); Jones (McConnell 75′), Mac Allister (Nunez 46′), Szoboszlai (Clark 75′); Jota (Diaz 46′), Salah (Doak 75′), Gakpo (Elliott 62′)
Subs not used: Adrian, Kelleher, Mrozek, Scanlon, Frauendorf, Koumas
As the half progressed, the manager introduced a number of his young players after seven of the starting lineup played at least 60 minutes.
But the defensive frailties continued as Josip Stanisic helped Bayern get on level terms again before Frans Kratzig unleashed a superb shot from distance that looped over Alisson to see the German side walk away as victors in the final moments.
That is now 15 goals scored and 10 goals conceded in four pre-season matches, we have turned back the clock to the early years under Klopp!
The match brings the overseas portion of pre-season to a close, a productive time for Klopp and his men who now head back to England for the fifth and final friendly.
Next match: Darmstadt (Deepdale) – Monday, August 7, 7pm (BST)