Jürgen Klopp took his Liverpool side seven miles west to Prenton Park, the Reds beginning their 2017/18 preseason in a similar fashion to 12 months previous. Naming two sides per half Liverpool were very much focused on fitness — this their initial fixture in a list which sees them travel to Hong Kong to take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy. Key absentees included Adam Lallana and Simon Mignolet, not quite ready for match action yet and of course record signing Mohamed Salah, currently in Paris awaiting a work permit.
Tranmere Rovers vs. Liverpool – 0:4
Goals: Milner, Grujic, Chirivella, Woodburn
It was the visitors who settled early, as expected – Sheyi Ojo going close on two minutes; picking the ball up just outside the six-yard box Ojo could only fire the resulting shot skywards over Scott Davies’ bar. Liverpool had the lion’s share of the early possession and settled into their grove on 15 minutes — Firmino controlling the play as the number nine looked to link up with Daniel Sturridge at any given chance. It was the England international who had he first real opportunity of the night, making space 20 yards out he fizzed a shot towards goal but Davies was equal to it. Liverpool were starting to make their presence shown and it wasn’t long before Ojo broke free again inside the 18-yard box, sideswiped by a slow-motion Davies Mike Dean could do nothing else bar award the penalty. James Milner stepped up and dispatched the spot-kick with ease. The Reds kept knocking on the Rovers door and Marko Grujic surprised everyone just before the half time whistle; unleashing a shot from 20 yards that Davies was unable to be held – Liverpool strolled into a two-goal lead.
The second half saw 10 changes, only Karius in the Liverpool goal remained from the first half line up. The visitors settled immediately and just four minutes after the restart Chirivella pounced on a spill by Davies in the Tranmere goal — the Reds had their third goal of the night. Undeterred by a three-goal deficit Tranmere began to settle, the multitude of half time changes unsurprisingly affected the Premier League sides balance. Lois Karius was replaced on 65 minutes by Kamil Grabara, one of Steven Gerrard’s U18 charges. Liverpool were never really threatened by their hosts and the Reds increased their lead on 79 minutes after Ben Woodburn was brought down, the 17-year-old picked himself up and powered the ball into the net from the resulting penalty. Lazar Markovic should have put Liverpool 0:5 up but the Serbian could only blaze the ball over the bar from eight yards. In all it was a comfortable, if not predictable, win for Liverpool.
Man of the Match:
Liverpool’s first half starting XI looked the brighter and it was Sheyi Ojo who shone the brightest. The 20-year-old played on the right of the front three and looked comfortable when on the ball. Going close on two minutes the winger set the tone for the half ahead. Fresh from his U20 World Cup win Dominic Solanke looked lively and was a constant menace in the Tranmere side. The 19-year-old gave a good insight into his ability with a solid second half performance.
Davies; Buxton, McNulty, Sutton, Ridehalgh; Duggan, Harris, Hughes, Norburn; Cook, Norwood
Coach: Micky Mellon
First Half – Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lucas, Milner, Henderson, Grujic, Wijnaldum, Ojo, Firmino, Sturridge.
Second Half – Karius (Grabara), Clyne, Gomez, Klavan, Flanagan, Stewart, Chirivella, Woodburn, Markovic, Kent, Solanke
Coach: Jürgen Klopp