Bradford City 1 - 3 Liverpool
Bradford City: Doyle (Pen) 80’
Liverpool: Milner 14’ & 16 (Pen)’, Brewster 41’
Liverpool’s second pre-season friendly is upon us and Bradford City is packed to the brim with happy, traveling Scousers. These pre-season games are a great chance to see the players you’ve missed, like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, shaking the cobwebs off. Some of the fans are right beneath the microphones too, so it’s a whole added element of hilarity.
A fun easy start to the game as both teams go out. It’s looked a bit chaotic at times, as the players adjust to each other, but seeing the seniors play with the kids is really something else. There’s been some really sharp passing and a particularly... let’s say fun, looking tackle, but it’s very much a friendly so not a whole lot has actually happened in the first ten minutes.
Just to shake things up today, James Milner gets the opening goal from a short corner and then not even two minutes later, Liverpool win a penalty when a Bradford defender takes down Ryan Kent in the box, putting Liverpool up by 2 in the span of two minutes - both by our Yorkshire man. Things have slowed down considerably since then but it’s our Chambo looking for a goal this time, with two shots going just over the crossbar in these first twenty minutes.
This game has been all Liverpool so far until Bradford wins a free kick - the first time they’ve played in Liverpool’s half all day - and find the back of the net but it’s offside. Bradford are finding their legs though, thirty minutes into the game, and finally realizing there’s a whole other half of the pitch to play in. Simon Mignolet has a fantastic save, though, keeping out another free kick (even with the flag coming down this time as well).
The third goal comes after another shot from Chambo, with the goalkeeper deflecting right towards Rhian Brewster to send it in despite the ‘keeper’s best efforts. Seeing those two link up is something out of a dream, and will only get better as they both get more playing time throughout the season, you can feel it right now. So far no one else has really impressed, but maybe it’s my own biases. The kids are all doing their best, with Harry Wilson taking the corners and Rhian Brewster getting into every play he can, and Nat Philipps looking strong in the back.
The second half gets underway with an (almost) whole new lineup, with Simon Mignolet sticking in the goal and the rest of the team the ones changing completely. Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Divock Origiand Fabinho coming on as the senior players this time, but with Liverpool up 3-0 there’s not a whole lot they have to actually do.
Divock Origi had a decent shot that was saved by the Bradford ‘keeper, but this second half has gotten off to a different start - understandable because it’s literally a different team out there right now, but you know what I mean. Origi has been the standout player in these first ten minutes, surprisingly, although Ki-Jana Hoever set up Curtis Jones and Liam Millar nicely to force the keeper to get real physical to do his job. These fans right by the microphones, though, are not doing a great job of even clapping on beat (it’s a pet peeve of mine, okay).
Sam Hornby, the Bradford keeper this half, has done a lot better to keep Liverpool from finishing their shots so far, and Liverpool have stayed mostly in Bradford’s half once again. This second half is definitely more of a grind and these kids haven’t been as impressive as the first half to keep things going. They’ve mainly been playing to keep Bradford from doing anything, which I guess is fair. There just haven’t been the same incisive moves to keep things interesting.
Things definitely get interesting when Adam Lewis gives away a penalty around the 79th minute, putting Mignolet to test, only for the Belgian to dive early and Bradford get on the board. Good for them, I guess? Migs then comes off for Daniel Atherton for the last ten minutes, and maybe Liverpool can score again before the end of this thing. It’s really been evident which players have played consistently the past year or so and which ones haven’t so it’ll be interesting to see how that changes through the season and who will get a chance to shine for the senior team. Woodburn, for all the hype as he was growing up, has been largely ineffective and could really use some help.
I miss the first half team, put them back on. (I get it, this half is more defensive).
Bradford will be happy to at least be on the scoresheet and even with all the senior defenders playing in the second half, it was a kid that gave away the penalty, but they’ve done a decent job of letting that be the only chance they had at goal. Again most of the action is happening in the other half, but it’s been largely without a good end product. A lot of passing and nothing else to make of it. It’s a friendly, though, so who really cares about the result? (We do).
Everything finishes up right at the full 90, and everyone can go home knowing they did a decent job, not just for the preseason but for LFC Foundation and Stephen Darby.