Simply incredible. Dominating, suffocating, incredible football. Going into the last preseason match, our very own Liverpool were in horrific form, losing 3 of the 4 matches and tying the other. This match comes 5 days before Liverpool start their season with the glorified friendly that is the Community Shield. Mo, Firmino, Alisson, Keita and Shaq had all met up with the team a couple days ago and all saw their first action in the first half. Liverpool, specifically Alisson, got off to a shaky start when he bobbled a simple cross which lead to him taking down Lyon’s Dembele for a penalty 4 minutes into the game. Depay converted to make the score 1-0 after 4 minutes. We all shook our head and expected what we’ve seen all preseason . But boy were we wrong. The Liverpool team woke up and completely strangled the opposition every time they had a touch on the ball. Which is exactly what fan favorite, (myself anyway), Naby Keita did when he stole the ball in the opposition’s final third, played a swerving pass to the feet of Shaqiri who had a deflected cross fall to Firmino scoring with a Striker’s intuition finish. A midfield three of Keita, Shaq and Lallana was seen as a bit interesting before the match started, but ended up being perfectly complementary. Lallana, playing where Klopp famously quoted in the “Jorginho role” was nothing short of brilliant. As soon as Klopp came out and said he could be a gamechanger in the “Jorginho Role” Liverpool twitter collectively stood up and laughed at the announcement. Lallana, who played the longest of the three, was immense in the midfield by basically continuing the run the entirety of the 65 minutes he was on the field. 30 minutes into the game soon after Ki-Jana Hoever, who was equally brilliant to Lallana, whipped in a dangerous cross which became an own goal, Klopp took out the just returning Firmino and Shaqiri and replaced them with Rhian Brewster and James Milner. Both fit in seamlessly to the play but unfortunately the former in Brewster couldn’t get much going in the 40 minutes he was on the pitch. James Milner did his thing pressing anyone and everyone and made some impressive dribbles. The rest of the first half saw Ki-Jana Hoever and Mo Salah dominate down the right side, Mo picking up the ball wide on multiple occasions and attacking dangerous zones repeatedly but with no avail. The starting 11 Klopp picked set the tone for the rest of the game and played fantastically with the score being 2-1 at halftime.
At the start of the second half Klopp made obvious changes, most notably taking off both Keita and Mo and giving the Liverpool youth their chance, also moving Gomez to RB and Hoever to LB and bringing on newly signed Sepp Van Den Berg. The Liverpool youngsters picked up right where the other 11 left off, playing with great intensity, pressing constantly and passing in brilliant combinations. A combination of all 3 of those things led to Harry Wilson picking up the ball about 25 yards away and having a signature Harry Wilson go. The ball bobbled wonderfully and the hit was beautiful, slicing across the net and ending in the top right corner of the Lyon net. Wilson who started the game as well, although fitting in and not looking out of place next to Firmino and Salah, struggled to impose himself on the game until that hit. After the hit for the next 10 minutes he was on the pitch he was brilliant, you could tell that confidence is a big thing for this kid and with confidence he has potential to do special things. The 20 minutes that the youngsters saw was beautifully worked and you could see the future in them.
The final 25 minutes were used to give first team players and squad players their needed game time before the season officially starts on Sunday. The first team back four came on, along with Gini, Henderson and Fabinho in the midfield, and Origi, Ox and newly signed youngster Harvey Elliot in the attack. Where do I start with this group. I can’t say enough great things about Fabinho man, he is just a special talent, good if not great in every facet of the game and once again proved it on the pitch. What a talent. Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum were both brilliant at retaining possession and continuing the theme of 1 touch, 2 touch passing combinations. The back four were the usual back four unlike what we’ve seen in the previous games, Matip and Virgil strong as usual and both Robbo and Trent bolting up the flanks. On one occasion Trent made a brilliant run behind a defender and was fed from a quite stunning ball from Van Dijk, Trent picked it up and played an enticing cut back to the feet of Jordan Henderson who’s shot just trickled wide. Mingolet, who came on for Alisson, didn’t have much to do because of how dominant Liverpool were. Origi was good on the ball but once again couldn’t get much going. The two wingers, Harvey Elliot and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, let me tell you, they were dangerous. Harvey was lightning in a bottle, running absolutely everywhere trying to catch the eye of Jurgen Klopp, also not a shy kid, proven by the 25 yard hit that forced a good save by the Lyon keeper. The sixteen year old Elliot was very impressive with his ball skills, but to my eye what impressed me most was how quick he seemed to learn the Liverpool system as he was playing the combination passing as well as anyone else. Thoroughly impressed by the youngster today. Ox was a bit different, but still just as dangerous. I know the quality that Ox possesses as does he, and he was out to prove it. Whether that be taking on a defender in a dribble or making a surprise run confusing the defender. I thought he was very positive in every aspect and looked especially positive in the press.
All in all it was a wonderful performance by the team, just in time for the season to start and has everyone finally looking forward to the season as we all saw the quality that Liverpool Football Club possesses. I will see you Sunday as Liverpool take on fierce title challengers Manchester City in the Community Shield. I will Catch Ya Then!
My twitter is @LFCeltics