Of course a special meeting between two european giants of old, not quite the reunion of two heavyweight foes you’d have expected back in 2005 after Liverpool’s unforgettable comeback in the champions league final. This time a friendly affair of the pre season kind, and Liverpool’s dominant performance showed how much times have changed with AC Milan offering very little in goal threat. Starting very similar to the Chelsea game, loads of possession but lacking end product in the first half, but the difference with this game is we saw the game out in the second half, scoring twice. Origi’s clever curled effort, followed by Firmino’s sliding tap in assisted by Ojo.
Liverpool’s first half team: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klavan, Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Coutinho, Mané, Sturridge.
The first half saw Sadio Mané expose the right wing with pace to burn, coming close with a close range effort and surely is only a matter of time before he hits the back of the net for us, promising signs. Also a debut start for new signing Georginio Wijnaldum, who played well and created a couple of opportunities for Sturridge neither taken, but as a first half debut goes he looked very comfortable in the team.
Adam Lallana impressed with a energetic first half, pressing and chasing down every second ball. Ragnar Klavan could suprise a few this season after a very solid showing again, tackling Niang after he’d shaken off Lovren. As reported in the week James Milner started at left back, and to be fair looked quite good there. Not the new lefty we’ve craved but he proved he can certainly cover that position, gets foward to help the attacks, plenty of energy, likes a takle. Perhaps not his preferred position but may be very helpful to our 2016/17 campaign, plus not as easy to get in his original place after all our new boys arrived.
Liverpool’s second half team: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno, Stewart, Milner, Henderson, Marković, Firmino, Origi. Used subs: Ojo, Wisdom, Randall, Brannagan.
Divock Origi’s first pre season appearance, and what a forty five minutes the young Belgian had, after clever movement he was spotted by Moreno and skilfully curled the ball into far corner. Proving he’s been adjusting his runs, nearly nicked another minutes later with some panicking defenders just scraping away the ball. Then hitting the back of the net again only for it to be ruled offside, his impact setting off debates, on who should be our starting front man. Not a bad thought considering strikers in abundance is something we’ve lacked since 13/14, please stay fit.
Jordan Henderson also showed signs of returning to his best days, his form that suffered due to his heel problems seemed irrelevant, playing slightly deeper his passing, pressure and gritty work was back in his game. We should not write our in and out captain off, this deeper role as a more of a holding midfielder could prove a revelation. Patrolling the back lines, hard work ethic and good fast distribution of the ball, hope to see more in the Roma game. Henderson spoke after the game saying it’s the best he’s felt going into pre season in a long, long time.
On came Ojo and really took the limelight for the last half hour with pace, trickery, direct play. Very similar to Sterling when he first broke into the first team, but Ojo looks to have the end ball in his game already. Ojo’s cross finding Firmino in the box and the Brazilian poking it home to kill the game off. 2-0 a finish to a good game for Liverpool, lots of possession, complete control and intelligent, interlinking attacking, with a plus of promising youth. As most of the players have reported that training is more intense than they’ve experienced before, let’s hope to see the first team go up a notch in preparation for the 14th of August. My man of the match has to be Divock Origi, massive impact on the game, clever movement and clinical in front of goal.
Jürgen Klopp’s post match presser saw him explain now is not the time to talk about individual performances or players, but more of a team effort and how well we played together. As a Liverpool fan you have to be excited at the moment, we’ve got depth, team spirit and new coaching methods that look like we’ll be ready for a weekly marathon!! Pep Lijnders”we win the fitness, we win everything”.
written by Ben Webb