Liverpool 1 - FC Wacker 1
Liverpool: Origi 5’
FC Wacker: Ronivaldo 16’
Well, this is weird, isn’t it? Leave it up to Kloppo to do something out of the box in training, and 2 30-minute warm up matches against different opponents certainly qualifies. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip are the only players who would be considered “starters” in this XI, which is mostly composed of youth and fringe players, including Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino, and Loris Karius. Also, surprise, Ben Davies actually exists and is playing for Liverpool.
Liverpool look disjointed in the early going, which cannot be a surprise. However, youth player Owen Beck gets to the byline and sends in a cross, which strikes the arm of a FC Wacker defender, resulting in a penalty for the Reds.
Goal - Divock Origi steps up and calmly slots the spot kick. The keeper guessed right, but it was struck low and in the corner. No saving that one.
Goal - If Karius wanted to fight for a backup spot at the club, that certainly won’t help. The goalkeeper whose name will live in infamy conceded the first shot on target. It was a good header across the face of goal, but it won’t look good on his already spotty CV.
The move that led to the goal started with FC Wacker breaking Liverpool’s press and high line, creating a 3 on 1 break. The Makeshift Reds did well to get back into shape, preventing a shot directly from the initial break, but still conceded an easy goal in the end.
It was a pretty disjointed match throughout, and the short time frame didn’t give much of a chance for either side to establish a rhythm. The good news: yutes mostly acquitted themselves well. The bad news: the fringe players didn’t do much to make themselves less fringe. Anyway, on to the next match.
Liverpool 1 - VfB Stuttgart 1
Liverpool: Mané 21
Stuttgart: Forster 6’
Well, this is weird, isn’t it? This is probably the more exciting of the two line-ups, and one that is much closer to something resembling a Liverpool first team. We get our first view of new signing Ibrahima Konaté, and of Harvey Elliott, fresh off his great loan spell to Blackburn Rovers. Stars of the show Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané will lead the line along with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. James Milner, Naby Keita, and Adrian are also notable starters for the Reds.
Nice that this friendly isn’t in the pouring rain like last year, right?
Two minutes in and Mo is already in midseason form for missing sitters. He was played through on goal after a beautiful move and pass from Ox, but hit the effort directly at the keeper.
Goal - If you look “against the run of play” in the dictionary, you’d see that goal. Liverpool were absolutely on top, but the Reds were caught out at the back with a pretty decent move from the home side.
Apart from the goal, Liverpool have looked surprisingly good for this stage of preseason. The press has been on point, nearly catching the Stuttgart keeper out several times already.
Goal! A great little clipped ball over the top from James Milner falls to Kostas Tsimikas, who plays it back across the face of goal for an easy tap in from Sadio Mané. The Senegalese striker looked to be just onside, but it would’ve been a nervous couple of minutes in the VAR era of the Premier League.
Elliott might not be ready for the Premier League yet, but he’s not a far way off, either. It’s clear that he has a phenomenal mental map of where everyone is on the pitch, and the ability to pull off the pass he sees in his mind. His link-up play with Mo has been on full display in this brief session.
Just as the session is coming to an end Naby Keita gets done with a harsh tackle around midfield. Please don’t be out for 3 months.
A better second “half” than the first, which was completely predictable given the personnel on the pitch. It was exciting to see some of our favorites back in action, even if it was really just a tease for the “real thing.”