Liverpool 1 - 0 Bologna (B)
Liverpool: Minamino 12’
OK! The Brazilian lads are back, and two of the three with a brand new contract. Otherwise, it’s about as “makeshift” as it gets. Konaté and Gomez are flanked by Neco Williams and Kostas Tsimikas in defence. Jones and Oxlade-Chamberlain join Fabinho in midfield. And Firmino will lead the line with Shaqiri and Minamino on the wings. Let’s do this!
Liverpool begin the match on the front foot, although their lengthy spells in possession fail to really break down the Bologna defense. Curtis Jones is treating this less like a competitive match, and more like his personalized dribbling training session.
Tsimikas has made himself available as a constant outlet on the wings. Granted, he hasn’t really done much with it yet, but being able create that kind of width and find that much space is no bad thing.
GOAL! Minamino perfectly times his run and latches onto a ball that was clipped in behind the defense, slotting it first time.
Firmino hasn’t been overly involved this half, but he nearly finishes it off with a flourish. Tsimikas picks out the Brazilian with a peach of a cross, but Bobby’s powerful header flashes just wide of the target. Unlucky!
It was a solid if unremarkable first half. There are a couple of halftime changes; Klopp brings Adrian on for Alisson, Divock Origi comes on for Bobby, Leighton Clarkson is on for Fabinho, and Kaide Gordon for Shaqiri. At least I think those are the changes. I’m not an expert on the Baby Reds and I missed them mentioning it in the coverage.
Klopp makes a couple additional changes midway through the half, bringing on Nat Phillips for Gomez, and Woodburn on for Williams.
It’s been a quiet second half, but Gordon does well—first to fight for scraps—and then to win a free kick in a promising position. Ox sends in the free kick, and Origi nearly heads it home, but it’s cleared off the line. Liverpool keep the pressure on and Ben Woodburn wins a penalty! And then Origi clangs the spot kick off the post. Cool.
Kaide Gordon continues to impress, once again winning a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the box. However, Clarkson cannot convert his effort on goal.
Two matches, two impressive performances, and two wins. Klopp and the coaching staff will no doubt be impressed by the pair of results this afternoon. Harvey Elliott might have some competition for “The Next Big Thing” from Kaide Gordon, and that’s no bad thing. The Reds also got valuable minutes into players returning from injury and international duty. Good workout and on to the next one as the season quickly approaches.