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Liverpool 2, Bologna 0 — First 60-Minute Match Recap: A Return To Form

Liverpool cruised through an impressive, albeit abbreviated, performance.

Liverpool v Bologna: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool 2 - 0 Bologna A

Liverpool: Jorta 7’, Mané 14’

Pre-Match

So the first take away? God damn, they’re playing this match in a literal paradise. I could do with a week or two in southern France, for sure. Anyway, the match! Kloppo is sending out a very strong line-up. The biggest notable weakness is backup goalkeeper Kelleher, who got the nod over Alisson. The back four is roughly “full strength” including Virgil van Dijk starting! Midfield is a bit weaker than you’d hope for in the opening match—Elliott, Keita, and Milner—but it’s also a midfield that could do the business against a lot of lower league teams. Up top we have Mané, Salah, and Jota. Let’s gooooo.

First Half

Liverpool are playing in an odd red top, black shorts, white socks combo. Waaaay too much like some team from Manchester. I don’t like it.

GOAL! Liverpool hadn’t created much of anything in the opening few minutes. But Diogo Jota presses brilliantly high up the pitch, wins it back, beats a defender, and creates an huge chance for himself, which he coolly slots past the keeper.

More on the kit. I mean, did we think that we were playing in our away kit? Because it appears that the shorts and socks belong to the away. I need answers if we’re going to run out like United, is what I’m saying here.

GOAL!! Sadio Mané makes it two! And it comes as a result of some fantastic pressing once again! Sadio is the beneficiary of an errant pass from a Bologna defender while attempting to play out of the back. He played it around the goalkeeper and rolled it across the line from a tight angle.

I really missed Van Dijk doing mad shit like heading the ball to himself whilst casually shrugging off attackers.

Aside from our press, which looks great, we’ve also managed to catch Bologna offside several times. This is much more like the world conquering Liverpool from 2018-2020 than last year’s rendition.

Second Half

The opening stages of the second half are pretty uneventful. Jurgen Klopp decides that Big Virg has had enough today, hooking the star defender after 42 minutes. It was another good outing from Virg, and he looked much more like his “old self” than he did in his first match back. Rhys Williams comes on, filling in next to Matip.

A moment after the sub, Liverpool create their best chance of the match when the ball falls to Mo Salah right in front of goal. However the Egyptian King clangs the resulting shot off the crossbar. He is spurning chances this preseason with midseason form. Impressive.

After 50 minutes, Klopp brings off the current wonderkid (Elliott) for the previous wonderkid (Ben Woodburn). Elliott has had more impressive preseason performances so far, but he still doesn’t look out of place next to many of the other first team regulars out there.

Bologna create their best chance of the match from a corner with a few minutes to go. They win the first header, flashing the ball across the face of goal, but thankfully no one was at the back post to nod it home. A moment later Bologna appear to score, but they are correctly flagged for being offside.

Final Thoughts

It was a very solid, controlled performance from the Reds, one that was punctuated by a knack for capitalizing on Bologna’s mistakes. It’s great that Van Dijk has been able to continue his rehabilitation, and look good while doing it. And nice to see Mané’s goal scoring run continue. Now we just have to get Mo up and firing.

On to the next one!