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Liverpool 2, Dortmund 3: Echte Liebe Hurts

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Defensive errors rule the night as Liverpool let one slip to Dortmund in Indiana.

Borussia Dortmund v Liverpool - Pre-Season Friendly
“You Gotze catch him, Ryan!” - Joel Matip, fan of puns.
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool 2 - Dortmund 3

Liverpool: Wilson 34’, Brewster 74’
Dortmund: Alcacer 3’, Delaney 53’, Larsen 58’

Pre-Match

Liverpool are in South Bend, Indiana playing at the legendary Notre Dame University against Jurgen Klopp’s former team, Borussia Dortmund. No real stakes, but Liverpool fans in attendance and watching across the globe will likely be intrigued to see how the young kids look in this run out. Rhian Brewster, Ryan Kent, and Harry Wilson have all looked rather sharp in their turns against Tranmere and Brantford, so they’ll all be wanting to replicate those performances. Meanwhile, fans will also be watching Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to see how he fares as he seeks to recapture his form after a season lost to injury.

First Half

We’re off! Lining up for the Germans is a familiar name for the Americans in attendance: Gio Reyna. Well, the last name should be familiar anyway as he is the son of legendary American midfielder and former Manchester City player, Claudio Reyna.

The scoring gets off rather quickly as a messy scramble in front of goal leads to Pace Alcacer smashing the loose ball into the net. Three minutes in and Liverpool gifted Dortmund that goal which will likely leave the team rather frustrated.

It doesn’t take too long for Liverpool to test Dortmund as Joel Matip rises to meet a well-taken corner by James Milner and lasers a shot just wide. Liverpool look ok going forward and young Yasser Larouci does look to have both the athleticism and verve to at least make observes perk up when he’s on the ball. He’s a bit rough around the edges - the decision-making when he gets into the final third and sees the windows close quickly leaves a lot to be desired. Still, I can understand why the club seem to value him.

Lots of back and forth. Dortmund’s counter is impressive and their work almost pays off as a cross floats in from the wing to an unmarked attacker. Thankfully, he was looking to pass instead of shoot and Mignolet was able to collect the ball sent back.

We had a stoppage for a water break given that the conditions at game time had a heat index over 100 degrees. Four minutes later, Fabinho slots a pass through to free Harry Wilson who coolly finishes past the Dortmund keeper. Ryan Kent deserves a mention for playing the dummy at that point. Beautiful work between the three Reds and that’s the last meaningful action as both sides head into the locker room level.

Second Half

Both teams come out with no changes and generally pick up where they left off. It’s an open, if uneven, match. To be expected given that both feature what are essentially mixed squads.

An interesting tactical observation is how involved Fabinho has been in the attack overall. Been quite a few movements throughout the match where Fabinho has stayed advanced of both Milner and Ox for seemingly long stretches. And he was the supplier of the assist to Wilson in the first half.

Dortmund continue to look strong and it isn’t long before the make Liverpool pay. Shortly after forcing Mignolet into a save, Thorgen Hazard plays a ball across the box that is then easily slotted home by Thomas Delaney.

A minute or so after the goal, Nathaniel Clyne goes down with what looks like a really bad clashing of knees. Thankfully, it looked worse than it did and the right back is up and walking on his own power.

Dortmund make it 3 after a failure to clear once more leads to a BVB goal. Beautiful cross into the box makes it possible, so still a lot to do on the attacker’s end. But doesn’t change the fact that the Liverpool defense didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory here.

That goal also signals the end for the starters as a raft of changes happen at this point. Notably, Rhian Brewster makes it onto the pitch. It pays dividends in short order as the young striker keeps his goal scoring ways after converting a penalty won by Ben Woodburn. Woodburn’s inclusion and play is pretty bright thus far, which is encouraging. My hope is that the forgotten man may find some consistency and playing time this season.

Brewster, meanwhile, clearly wants to collect goals like they’re going out of style. So much so that he comes in late and draws a yellow when closing in on a loose ball in the final third. Rash act aside, the enthusiasm and composure from the young striker feels far beyond his years. It’s early and his goal tally includes a (well-taken) penalty, but I’m starting to see why so many whispers coming out of the Academy pegged Brewster as the attacking prospect.

On the other end, Mignolet comes up big with another save in the 86th minute as he turns away a strong shot dead center of the penalty box. Say what you will about Waffles, but his shot stopping ability certainly hasn’t left him.

Closing out the action, fan favorite Andrew Robertson buzzes the tower with a sharp shoss that just fizzes wide of the Dortmund goal. That’s the last meaningful touch of the match and Liverpool fall to Dortmund.

Final Thoughts

It was a rough and uneven match played with mixed squads and under unforgiving conditions. Still, it was a wide-open affair that likely had both sets of fans rather satisfied. Liverpool’s defensive errors are really the difference and one will hope that they’re just running all of their errors out of the system before they get to matches that count.