Preston 1: Brownhill 45'
Liverpool 2: Suso 74', Peterson 77'
A more experienced and exciting eleven started for Liverpool at Preston in the final friendly before heading off to the US, with Rickie Lambert and Emre Can making their respective debuts. Brad Jones once again started in goal, with Martin Kelly at right-back, Martin Skrtel and Andre Wisdom in central defense, and Jon Flanagan in the left-back role he played to great effect last season. Lucas, Joe Allen, and Philippe Coutinho rounded out the diamond midfield with Can, while Fabio Borini surprisingly partnered Lambert up top.
Can's controlled, aggressive performance in the midfield--and few neat moments of hold-up play and passing from Lambert--was the highlight of the first half, though it was halted on twenty minutes when he was replaced by Jordon Ibe due to a calf strain. The rest was about the same as against Brondby, with the standard Coutinho magic standing out in going forward and Flanagan impressing at the back. Jones made a number of smart saves but couldn't prevent the hosts from taking the lead just before the break through a Josh Brownhill tap-in.
Brendan Rodgers responded by bringing Suso on after the break along with Jack Robinson, replacing Lambert and Kelly respectively. A host of other changes followed as Liverpool looked to settle--Lloyd Jones, Sebastian Coates, Conor Coady, Krisztian Adorjan, Jordan Rossiter, Kristoffer Peterson and Kevin Stewart all came on, with Adorjan taken off later in the half in favor of youngster Adam Phillips.
Ibe once again stole the show as he turned creator for Liverpool's two goals, assisting Suso on the first and Peterson for the winner. On both he showed a burst of pace that couldn't be controlled, and the finishes from both--especially Suso's curling effort--were well-taken.
Now it's off to the US tour, with the World Cup participants set to join along with Lazar Markovic. New signings will be expected, but we're getting closer to the point that we can start to expect something from the performances in preparation for the start of the season on August 17th.
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