A FEW OBSERVATIONS FROM THE GAME TODAY. LIVERPOOL 1-0 BOLOGNA
Liverpool took on Bologna in two hour long pre-season friendlies today, after moving to Evian for the last leg of their training tour. In the second game, Klopp named Alisson, Fabinho, Firmino and Gomez in the lineup for the first time this summer. Neco, Konate and Tsimikas made up the rest of the back five as Jones and Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Fabinho in midfield.
In attack, Minamino and Shaqiri (who also got his first minutes this summer) joined Bobby. In what was a scrappy affair with lots of fouls and misplaced passes, Liverpool beat their Italian counterparts 1-0 with an early goal from Takumi Minamino. Read on for a few observations we made during the game.
No save to make, had a few touches as he eased himself back into action. Subbed after 30 though, which leaves you wondering if he’ll start against Norwich on opening day. He should.
He blasted one wicked shot with his left foot from outside the box which had the goalkeeper rooted to the spot as it just went over the crossbar. Wasn’t troubled much going the other way. Went off after 43 minutes for Woodburn.
The summer signing started on the right of centre back and was solid throughout. Showed his range of passing with some raking balls to the wings. One such ball sent Gordon scampering down the right wing in behind the Italians’ defence. Showed his pace whenever a pass was played behind him, and then the strength to just shrug off his man. Composed. Switched to left centre back when Phillips came on and suffered a terrible tackle but bounced right back up. A few towering headers when defending corners.
Also showed his range of passing with a few long balls to Tsimikas in particular. He played as the left sided centre back, a role he takes up whenever he partners Matip. Eased through the game as he got 43 minutes in the legs to keep building up fitness since returning from injury.
He was the best player on the pitch before being taken off late on. Constantly drove forward and drilled in wicked deliveries. He beat his man with a dribble on several occasions and always followed it up with a fantastic cross. One such cross put it on a plate for Bobby who should have scored. A cross later fell to him at the backpost and he hit a fierce strike goalwards which the keeper did well to push behind for a corner. He’s fiery too, doesn’t mind leaving a foot in to retaliate a bad tackle by his opponent. Went off for Owen Beck around the 43rd minute.
Comfortable game back for the ‘lighthouse’, as Pep Ljinders calls him. Kept it ticking in midfield and was tidy throughout. Should have taken the shot when he strode forward early on. Didn’t dally when it fell to him later in the half on the edge of the box as his fizzing strike was blocked. Subbed at halftime (30′).
Played in midfield probably for the first time this pre-season after featuring as a false nine in earlier games. He was keen to show he could still do it in midfield as he also went about spraying passes across the pitch. His long passing with his left foot in particular caught the eye. He played very deep first half and only started bombing on down the right second half. It was his run and cross that saw Tsimikas go close. Took some good set pieces, with Origi almost scoring from one.
Started on the left of midfield. He went on a bit of a mazy run early on as he beat two but lost out to the third. He made a good interception in midfield and in almost one movement, sent a long first time pass to Shaqiri. He caught up with Shaqiri but instead of shooting tried a cute pass which was blocked. Second half he tried his luck from range and went extremely close, with the keeper again rooted. The ball looked like it took a slight deflection and nick off the post and out for a corner. Quiet thereafter.
Looked sharp in his half hour cameo. Played the pass of the game with an inch perfect long ball which cut the Bologna defence apart and left Minamino free to finish. Played other cute passes as he combined with those around him. Took a few corners. Went off at halftime.
Captain for the day, Bobby had a quiet game. Was a bit rusty, understandably as his touch let him down once or twice. He went for an audacious backheel whilst surrounded by three defenders but it was too close to the keeper. Should have scored from Tsimikas’s cross but his header went just past the post. Subbed at halftime for Origi.
In the first ten minutes he was knocked off the ball a bit too easily at times but he scored a scorcher of a goal to win his side the game. He did well to time his run, and then smash home Shaqiri’s pass on the volley. Grew in confidence after the goal and started imposing himself on the game. A few neat turns here and there were followed by probing passes. Second half he was very quiet.
On for Alisson at halftime, Adrian didn’t have too much to do. A comfortable save and a rush out to clear a throw in was pretty much it. Could be heard screaming instructions at corners.
Came on with 43 minutes on the clock for Neco in an unfamiliar position at right back. It is a position he attacked well as he made a run into the box and jinked past veteran midfield enforcer Medel to win a penalty. Another dangerous run in behind his man saw him hauled down for a free kick in a crossing position. Did himself no harm with that showing.
On for Gomez after 43′, he played as the right sided centre back. Didn’t have much to do.
The youngster came on in place of the impressive Tsimikas and sent in a good cross which Origi just failed to direct goalwards on the volley.
Leighton came on for Fabinho at halftime and got involved straightaway. He was neat and tidy as he always is and even had the confidence to step up for a free kick on the edge of the box. He curled it just over.
The 16 year old continues to impress. On for Shaqiri at halftime, he was a pest for the Bologna defence. Played some intelligent passes to release Ox and Origi down the right wing on different occasions. Kept making runs in behind the defence and turned his man more than once, even though he was at a size disadvantage. Won some free kicks in good positions. Pressed the goalkeeper every time too.
Took over the captain’s armband when he came on for Firmino. Went close to scoring when his header from Ox’s free kick was cleared off the line. Took the penalty after Woodburn was brought down but could only hit the base of the post after sending the keeper the wrong way. Sent a volley wide from Beck’s cross.