It’s our final American tour match and Liverpool v AS Roma is a fixture that takes us way back 32 years to 1984, UEFA cup final in Rome of all places, ending 4-2 on penalties sealing Liverpool’s famous fourth European honour. Thinking about past pre season run in’s with the Italian outfit, we’ve lost the last meetings losing 2-1 in 2012 and 1-0 in 2014! Surely not a hatrick? Were playing in the Busch stadium, in front of 30,000 fans for the first time in our history. Sweeping aside the fact it’s pre season, the reality is these rehearsal games will soon be over as the 14th of August looms, expect competitiveness as neither will want to lose momentum in preparation for a new campaign, whatever the outcome.

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No Origi due to minor groin injury and Grujic rested as a precaution after suffering a concussion in the Chelsea game.

Liverpool’s first half team: Manninger, Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner, Can, Wijnaldum, Ojo, Mané, Firmino, Sturridge.

(Subs): Mignolet, Benteke, Coutinho, Henderson, Moreno, Lallana, Brannagan, Ings, Stewart, Wisdom, Markovic, Randall, Alexander-Arnold, George.

In a very decent first half, they started with fast attacks and to be fair we could’ve conceded a few in the early stages, thankfully Dźeko and El Shaarawy fluffed their lines. We was set up in a 4, 2, 3, 1 system with a Can, Wijnaldum midfield. I was quite unsure with the new signing Wijnaldum, on where his role is? But his willingness to get foward actually got him a goal disallowed because of Ojo handling in the box. Though time will tell on where his best position is. Going foward i very much like the give and go approach, quickly lay a pass off and overlap to set attacks off. Our 39 year old, 3rd choice goalkeeper Manninger showed he can still pull off a decent save or two, edging out a good effort to his right early on. Unfortunately the defenders failure to deal with Dźeko only had one outcome, who was a constant threat throughout the first half, 1-0 AS Roma. The ease they opened up our defence was a concern and times our defense looked slightly nervous, but with the change in personnel its more about adjustment. Sturridge had a great effort on goal, a lovely dink that somehow their goalie managed to get a hand to, created mostly down to the unpredictable trio behind him. Sadio Mané’s pure pace, directness and link up play, especially with Clyne is something I’m extremely pleased we have at our disposal this season. Mané pulled off a lovely back heel to put through Firmino, but was just offside. Along with Ojo who is just as direct in driving the ball foward, add in a bit of Firmino trickery, an exciting mix of attacks to look foward to.

Despite going a goal down, we seemed fairly calm in control of the ball, as we settled more into the game. In the last match James Milner was our stand in left back and to be honest nearly every attack was started by him. Milner used his technical ability to its best, they Couldnt seem to stop him getting up the pitch. Plenty of overlapping, dropping his shoulder at the box, providing great distribution for a well crowded box. Eventually paying off, Lovren getting his head to it and knocking the ball back across goal for Ojo to cushion home the header.

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Liverpool’s second half team: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Wisdom, Moreno, Stewart, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Lallana, Coutinho, Markovic, Ings.

used subs: Brannagan- Wijnaldum, Randall-Moreno.

The second half was the complete opposite of the first half, obviously with it being pre season, lots of changes and not really going full throttle, it was lacklustre to say the least. After Mignolet’s well saved close range shot from Salah, he and Wisdom both went into ball watching mode neither attempting to clear away the danger, leaving Salah to easily tap in the lead. 2-1 AS Roma. The tempo dropped as the game carried on, with flashes of our magician Coutinho, who was often crowded out. Markovic who struggled is not having the best pre season, and in a team full of competition for places i believe he’s already under Ojo in the pecking order. Jordan Henderson continued his fight back from injury, nearly picking out Alexander-Arnold who’d made a intelligent run down the right and impressed. Lallana and Ings had the work rate but no real creativity was going on. Late on Ings got on the end of a Coutinho free kick and was very close with a header, if not for a good save. On the whole a bit of a shame after playing well in the first half, a silly bit of confusion between keeper and defender and a real training game vibe, but i must remind myself it’s only pre season. Roma probably deserved the win to be honest.

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Reasons to be happy:

Pace, pace, pace. Mané, Ojo, Firmino, Origi, Sturridge,Coutinho, Ings, Lallana, Wijnaldum, Can, Henderson, Clyne, Moreno. The whole team is based around speed and goal threat, in that first half the signs were there, if not for the fact of maybe holding back abit, that we could be lethal when we go up a gear. With the proper first team on the pitch and let of the leash, we potentially could really do some real damage, so don’t be too disheartened by the scoreline.

Still need cheering up? Well the Reds are coming home and have an action packed weekend ahead of them. We’ll be having a reunion with our past Kop idol, Luis Suarez and gang at Wembley, where were up against Barcalona on saturday. Not a bad test run before the season opener. Then sunday Mainz will get a reunion with one of their past idols, our Jürgen Klopp. A meaningless loss against a half decent side, still plenty to look foward to in pre season, premier league football literally round the corner. Let’s not forget as keen as we all are for instant success, Jürgen said “if we’re patient and stick together, we can have a bright future!”.

written by Ben Webb

@benwebblfc

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