Van Dijk screaming instructions

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 first game, Klopp named a strong lineup with Virgil Van Dijk making his first start since his return from injury, as his partnership with Joel Matip was reprised. The front three of Mane, Salah and Jota started together as well for the first time this summer.

In midfield, James Milner continued in his new defensive midfield position, flanked by Naby Keita and young Harvey Elliott. In what was a good workout, Liverpool beat their Italian counterparts 2-0 with two early goals from Jota and Mane. Read on for a few observations we made during the game.


He had a quiet game for the most part, with his distribution the most catchy part of his display. One sprayed 60 yard pass to Trent on the right wing was eye-catching. On set pieces, he was quick off his line to punch or gather. Very comfortable in possession.


He had a good game, marauding down the right wing at every opportunity and creating lots of chances for his team. His corners were dangerous throughout and he also found Jota with one delightful cross from deep which Diogo should have buried. He attempted a half volley from outside the box but put it wide. Another cross to Jota at the backpost was headed over by the Portuguese. Looked very sharp.


Cruised through the game. Didn’t have much to do. Took on more of a vocal role when Virgil went off. Could be heard organising the line when defending set pieces. Had a few good headed clearances from corners.

Van Dijk

Strolled through the game. Not bothered much. Dealt with whatever he had to deal with with minimum fuss. Hit a few trademark diagonal passes. Got 42 minutes in the legs before going off for Rhys.


Didn’t look like he only reported to pre-season barely a week ago. Was bombing up and down the wing all game and put one exquisite cross on a plate for Jota who’s header was kept out by the keeper. Bundle of energy as always.


Very very impressive in his new role at the base of midfield. His distribution is surprisingly excellent as he sprayed passes across the pitch to get us playing. He was as physical as you’d expect as he steamed into a couple of challenges early on. Covered well for his fullbacks when Bologna tried to counter, and not shy at all to break forward with the ball to join the attack. His shot from about 25 yards had power but was straight at the keeper. Probably the pick of the bunch if I’m being honest.


Started sloppily as he gave the ball away a few times first ten but he soon got into the swing of things. He looks at home I must say, not shy to try something positive on the ball. His triumvirate with Trent and Salah on the right looks promising. He had a half volley go wide after a good pick out by Mo. Then he cut in on his left and let fly from range but it was straight at the keeper. Cute layoff to Jota deserved to be an assist. He tired second half though and passed it straight out of play under no pressure. Subbed on 50′.


Started like a house on fire, pressing fiercely down the left of midfield. He won the ball back early on and saw his left footed strike saved. The second goal was down to his pressing, as he chased down the Bologna defence. Another who tired second half as a poor pass straight to an opponent put us under a bit of pressure. He found reserves of energy to lead a counter second half though, which ended with Milner shooting at the keeper. Got through the full 60 minutes unscathed.


Looked dangerous but couldn’t manage to get the goal he was hungry for. Always running in behind but the pass to him was never on the money. He had a half volley from a corner deflected wide by Matip. Not long after, he saw his effort come off the crossbar after good work down the right by Mane and Jota. He could get even more goals if he shoots with his right though, too many times he tries to cut in on his favoured left foot making it easy for his marker to read his intentions.


Could have had a hat trick. Looked very lively as his movement caused all sorts of problems for the Bologna defence. Took his first goal with aplomb. After an error by the defender, he just breezed past him and gave the keeper the eyes whilst slotting into the bottom corner. A Trent corner fell to him and his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper. He should have buried that Trent cross though, looked like he connected with his shoulder instead of his head. The header from Robbo’s cross was better but too close to the keeper who parried. He got another chance when Harvey laid it off to him in the box but he shot wide. Like I said, lively.


Another who started menacingly. Some of the pressing down that left hand side with him and Keita, backed up by Robertson was fantastic. He took his goal well, going round the keeper before nutmegging the covering defender with his finish. He got a cheer from Pep Ljinders when he closed down a clearance by a defender with a tackle. He changed positions with Jota at times, and played all along the three front positions as they all showed their versatility.

R. Williams

Largely unbothered when he came on.


Showed a burst of pace and some quick feet to win a couple of fouls. Long time no see.



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