Liverpool 0 - 3 Strasbourg
Strasbourg: Thomasson (5, 21), Diallo (14)
With the match coming just a day after the Community Shield triumph over Manchester City, it comes as no surprise that Liverpool field a completely changed side made up primarily of back-ups and youth players. It is a bit concerning, however, that both Naby Keïta and Curtis Jones are both completely omitted after each got just a few minutes against Manchester City to close out the game.
It looks like Fabio Carvalho is playing through the middle, flanked by Harvey Elliott on the right and Melkamu Frauendorf on the left.
Goal Strasbourg. Yikes, ugly mistake from Isaac Mabaya who hesitated as a ball bounced in the box in front of him. Adrien Thomasson ran right past him to sweep the ball into the net to give Strasbourg the early lead in just the 5th minute.
It should come as no surprise that Liverpool look a bit disjointed in the early goings. There are some nice passing sequences followed by players not at all being on the same page. Almost as if this is a team made up of reserves and youth players who haven’t really played together before.
Harvey Elliott is pulling the strings in Liverpool’s attack. He sets up Carvalho with some slick passing in the box, but the young striker can’t get the shot on the right side of the post from a tight angle.
Goal Strasbourg. This time it starts with a mistake from the other young fullback, Luke Chambers. He plays the ball blindly into his own box where it is picked off and then played back to Habib Diallo. The striker takes a touch inside and finishes with a left-footed rocket to the far post.
Goal Strasbourg. Adrien Thomassen gets a brace off of a late run into the box, knocking a low cross past a diving Harvey Davies. Chambers gave the ball away again to start the sequence.
Harvey Elliott is going to be a problem, folks. He drops deep to get on the ball, and then splits the defense with a sensational pass to Carvalho, who just isn’t quite able to keep his feet as he turned away from the defender on his back. Carvalho would have been clean in on goal, almost a great chance there.
As the first half winds down, Carvalho earns a free kick in a great spot. 17 year old Stefan Bajcetic steps up and sends a sumptuous curling shot over the wall that the keeper is just able to palm over the bar. Liverpool’s best chance in the half by far.
Nat Phillips enters the match for Isaac Mbaya to start the second half. That will move Joe Gomez out to right back.
Liverpool looking much more settled to start the second half. They are stroking the ball around well with a nice spell of possession in the Strasbourg half that lasts a few minutes.
Ibrahnima Konaté goes down after knocking knees with a Strasbourg attacker. Thankfully he gets back up and seems fine to continue.
Nat Phillips with a few good moments in the defensive half, cleaning things up in the back while under pressure. Would be shocked not to see him go somewhere on loan this season, he’s too good to be buried as the fifth choice on this team.
Liverpool make two more changes in the 56th minute. Bobby Clark makes his senior team debut for the Reds, replacing Stefan Bajcetic. Sepp van den Berg also comes on to replace Konaté at center back. Konaté is hobbling a bit as he came off, and goes down the tunnel after a quick talk with Klopp. Hope he’s ok.
Liverpool again with some long spells of possession in the attacking half during the middle stretch of the half, but not much quality in the final product. Luke Chambers gets a shot off from the edge of the box, but it is easily smothered by the keeper. Carvalho takes a crack from the top of the box a couple of minutes later, but blazes the ball over the bar. Tyler Morton comes closest to causing some trouble, hitting a knuckling shot from the top of the box that the keeper has to get his body behind to block.
Frauendorf makes a run through the middle to get onto the end of a ball over the top, and does well to slot the ball past the keeper. The linesman has the flag up, however, and the goal is called back. He was just a half a yard off. That was the last action for Frauendorf as he is taken off for Mateusz Musialowski for the last 15 minutes.
Harvey Elliott, who has been mighty impressive with his passing and ball progression all game long, decides to show off his shooting boots. He cuts inside from right to left, jinking past a couple of defenders before letting fly from outside the box. He was slightly off balance on the shot, and can’t keep it from flying over the bar.
Some nice interplay as time winds down. Harvey Elliott again is directing things, playing a sweet outside-the-boot pass in to the late charging run of James Milner in the box. Milner wraps his foot around the ball and gets a strong shot off from a tight angle, but the keeper is able to get down and block the ball.
Liverpool attempt to mount a final attack, but the referee blows the whistle for full time.
The score line really doesn’t matter in this match with such a makeshift line up. The two young starting fullbacks made a few errors, and Strasbourg punished Liverpool. The Reds settled in during the second half, and looked much more assured on and off the ball. Harvey Elliott was the major bright spot, showing his passing prowess and ball progression all match long. Joe Gomez looked quite good yet again when shifted over to right back. Outside of thing that really matters is the severity of the knock on Ibrahima Konaté’s knee is. Hopefully he will be fine for next weekend.
Oh yeah, the Premier League starts in less than a week.