Liverpool came from two goals down to win 7-2 in their final pre-season game against Blackpool and Jurgen Klopp was happy with an improved offensive showing.
The Reds were lacklustre in the first half but responded with six strikes after the break, plus Joel Matip‘s header right before half-time.
Speaking after the match, Klopp was happy with the Reds’ result and performance in the second 45, with particular words reserved for two attackers.
On Takumi Minamino, the boss noted there was another step forward and an impressive outing for the Japanese forward after his second goal in as many games.
But he also pointed out that the team needs to perform better as a whole if individuals are to be able to thrive.
“It’s important for Taki [to score again] and important for us, but it’s about all together, so I think about the overall performance,” Klopp said.
“Individuals then can always shine when everything else works, that’s how it is. If you only have these individual glimpses here and there, it doesn’t really work out. So, we have to work to win football games.
“Who scores then is not too important. But for Taki, of course it was a rather nice seven or eight days.”
While Minamino played the whole match, Harvey Elliott impressed off the bench and netted his first goal in a senior Liverpool game.
The youngster as generally been used as a Mo Salah-lite: a runner in off the right flank, cutting in onto his stronger left foot to dribble or get shots away.
But there’s much more to his game than just relentlessly shooting, says the boss, who sees the scheming, creative side in Elliott’s game as something to be nurtured—just not at the expense of the relentless nature needed in the final third.
“It’s in his hands. I liked much more the offers he made today, he was really sharp, he was quick, he offered different runs to what he is usually doing.
“Inside this little boy is a playmaker, he can be a playmaker, but he has to be a finisher as well. You have to be a striker, you have to be a defender and all that stuff.
“That’s what we are all trying to figure out to bring it on the pitch – and that’s good, of course. It was very nice for him to score this goal today.”
The front three look set to be automatic picks for Klopp this season again, but it’s good to see the challengers and next in line options getting goals too—even if Saturday’s was against a much lower standard of opponent.
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Watch goals, highlights and reaction from Liverpool's 7-2 victory over Blackpool on LFCTV GO now.
Liverpool's comeback against Blackpool was a good example of learning in pre-season, explained Joel Matip after the 7-2 win at Anfield.
The Premier League champions found themselves two goals down to the League One side 33 minutes into Saturday’s match as Christopher Hamilton and Jerry Yates (penalty) struck at the Kop end.
But Matip halved the deficit before the interval and Jürgen Klopp’s team were much improved in the second period, netting six times to seal an ultimately comprehensive victory – and the defender expects the experience to be beneficial.
“It was nice to be back on the pitch and to be directly back in the stadium. I’m looking forward to the season,” Matip, who made his first appearance since sustaining a foot injury in June, told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Of course, they started quite well and made us some problems, but that’s the thing about pre-season – you have to learn about things in the game. In the second half especially, we made it much better.
“You can learn from every game and every situation, even if you have not the perfect start. You always can come back.”
Takumi Minamino followed up his maiden goal for the club in last weekend’s FA Community Shield with the fifth of the Reds’ seven on the afternoon.
Matip feels the back-to-back strikes from the Japan international are just reward for the work he has been putting in throughout this preparation period.
“I think everybody is happy for him because he is the whole time working that much and now he has the success also in the games with some goals,” said the No.32. “I hope he continues like this.”
Liverpool now have another week to get ready for the 2020-21 Premier League campaign, with newly-promoted Leeds United the visitors to Anfield next Saturday evening.
Matip added: “It was a special pre-season but this was [the same] for every team. We have to deal with it and do our best out of it.”
Jürgen Klopp declared himself satisfied with Liverpool’s latest pre-season workout as they defeated Blackpool 7-2 in a friendly at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds fell two goals behind to the League One club as CJ Hamilton opened the scoring and Jerry Yates crashed home a penalty.
However, Joel Matip reduced the arrears before the break and Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino struck twice in quick succession after the restart.
Further goals followed from Harvey Elliott, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Sepp van den Berg to give the final scoreline a comprehensive look.
The champions open up their Premier League campaign in a week’s time against Leeds United at Anfield – and Klopp explained he is pleased with his side’s preparations for the new term.
Read on to see what he told Liverpoolfc.com during his post-match assessment…
On his assessment of the game and a difficult first half…
Yeah, it was because of a lack of aggression from our side, a lack of desire a little bit for this game – that’s how it is, playing around. The goals we conceded, yeah, that’s mistakes – it’s typical for pre-season games. But so far I think we conceded pretty much all the goals in similar situations; losing the ball in the build-up, then it’s a counter-attack, it’s a free chance pretty much. We know that and it’s clear we cannot do it like this. We have to improve that. But we have another week to get the legs fresher, again an intense week. We have to use the weeks, we cannot change that. I would love to have always fresh boys with super fresh legs in the games, but that only can work over the year when you do the hard work in the pre-season. That’s what we are doing. We scored a good goal after a nice set-piece in the first half, then all the rest was pretty much like it should be [in the second half] – much more aggressive and we could bring in other fresh legs. That helped obviously. The opponent changed as well. I think Critch has a really good team there; the first XI was really, really good, had a good, nice plan. We played a little bit into their cards. But in the end it’s a pre-season game, important that we have it. Some of the boys could have 90 minutes, which helps as well. Now another week until Leeds – good.
On two goals in a week for Minamino and how much confidence he’ll take from it…
I hope, a lot – it’s clear that’s what you always hope for. It’s important for Taki and important for us, but it’s about all together, so I think about the overall performance. Individuals then can always shine when everything else works, that’s how it is. If you only have these individual glimpses here and there, it doesn’t really work out. So, we have to work to win football games. Who scores then is not too important. But for Taki, of course it was a rather nice seven or eight days – of course.
On Harvey Elliott’s first goal for the club…
It’s in his hands. I liked much more the offers he made today, he was really sharp, he was quick, he offered different runs to what he is usually doing. Inside this little boy is a playmaker, he can be a playmaker, but he has to be a finisher as well. You have to be a striker, you have to be a defender and all that stuff. That’s what we are all trying to figure out to bring it on the pitch – and that’s good, of course. It was very nice for him to score this goal today.
On whether the game is one Billy Koumetio will learn from…
Absolutely. We had some problems in the first half. [The opening goal] was a pressed ball against a very experienced player, who was stronger in that moment. Billy played super balls, super passes and was there. Our last line played [for the] first time together like this, it is completely fine, but we were just not high enough. There were many situations where I though it must be offside, but it wasn’t offside. For one reason at least, it was not offside because we were not really in line. All these things, little things to learn, but 17 years old, the whole life in front of him, which is really nice. [He is a] big talent and, as I said, he had a few really, really good situations, but in this press ball, it was not so nice.
On how he feels Liverpool’s pre-season preparations went…
It was as good as possible, I would say. We had a lot of good sessions and we will get the benefit of that during the season. We have to make sure we now get ready for the first game against Leeds because that will be a really tough one. Leeds have a specific style of play, man-marking over the whole pitch and makes it proper intense. We have to be ready for that but we have a few days. Hopefully all the other boys now stay healthy in the international games, then they come back and we have three days to work together on that. It was the best pre-season we could have had because we cannot compare and nobody will give us a different one.
Liverpool thumped Blackpool 7-2 in an entertaining pre-season friendly on Saturday afternoon, overturning a shock two-goal deficit before running riot.Liverpool 7-2 Blackpool
Pre-Season Friendly (3), Anfield
September 5, 2020
Goals: Matip 43′, Mane 52′, Firmino 54′, Elliott 69′, Minamino 71′, Origi 85′, Van den Berg 88′; Hamilton 15, Yates 31
The Reds returned to Anfield to take on their lower-league opponents, in their first appearance at Anfield since lifting the Premier League trophy in July.
It was a lethargic start for Liverpool, however, who found themselves 2-0 down after goals from C.J. Hamilton and Jerry Yates (penalty).
Joel Matip powered home a header before half-time to reduce the arrears and the hosts pulled away from their opponents after the interval.
FT: #LFC 7 Blackpool 2: The PL champions transformed in the second half after a pretty dour opening 45mins when they found themselves 2-0 down. Matip, Mane, Firmino, Elliott, Minamino, Origi and Van den Berg with the goals.
Keita, Minamino and Jones all excellent.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) September 5, 2020
Excellent second-half. Saw some lovely interplay between the attacking players. Origi is still the odd on out in this side, lacking the dynamism and intelligence of the other players, but otherwise lots for Klopp to be happy about and to think over.
— And Could He Play (@andcouldheplay7) September 5, 2020
“They never give up amazing second half well done” – Clare Louise Withers on Facebook.
“Fortunately all games have 2 halves” – Alright Now on the forums.
LIVERPOOL ARE IN SEVENTH HEAVEN, WHAT A WIN, WHAT A TEAM!
— Ste Hoare (@stehoare) September 5, 2020
Really good second half performance from Liverpool. Some great goals. Jones class in a deeper midfield role than usual. Fabinho hooked at half-time after some strong words from Klopp midway through first half. First senior goal for Elliott.
— Jack Sear (@JackSear) September 5, 2020
Even had we lost, it's just a friendly. We were doing the exact same last year but as it turned out, our performance was great in the second half. Leeds aren't ready. #LFC
— Dahir (@dboetan7i) September 5, 2020Minamino was lauded for his performance…
Minamino really looking the part here. Just a lovely footballer to watch and he's delivering end product now.
Expecting a big season from him.
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) September 5, 2020
Good workout for the reds that. Blackpool are a decent side and posed all kinds of problems first half. If pre-season has told us anything it’s that we need to start games faster. Minamino and Jones the standouts after the break.
— Aaron Cutler (@aaron_cutler) September 5, 2020
Having a pre-season alongside the training camp in Austria has done Minamino the world of good. Looks really settled in the squad, confident on the ball, and always looking to make things happen. Lovely goal and assist.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) September 5, 2020
“Thought Minamino was excellent” – Paul Heslop on Facebook.
“Great to see Keita, Minamino getting the full run out and having a good game” – gasband on the forums.
Minamino after learning English pic.twitter.com/EUjoQFjUkl
— ™? (@MinaMaestro) September 5, 2020
That Minamino lad is alright for £7.5m, isn’t he?
— Gareth Roberts (@robbohuyton) September 5, 2020
Minamino takes up some really nice positions. Looks increasingly sure of himself and in sync with his teammates.
— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) September 5, 2020Other key men also received praise…
Comfortable in the end but well done Blackpool for that 1st half test. Curtis Jones excellent in 2nd half and always nice to see a bit of Bobby's swagger on show. Bring on Leeds. Up the Reds
— Jeff Goulding (@ShanklysBoys1) September 5, 2020
I think Naby has been our best player over the course of preseason, like he was our best player after the restart.
— Red (@TaintlessRed) September 5, 2020
“Please play more of Jones” – Smiso Trevor Trezil on Facebook.
“Jones has been superb since he came on. This could be his breakout season I reckon.” – T.C.B on the forums.
Excellent 2nd half performance and some really nice goals.
Some good individual performances:
The biggest standout was the 2nd half performance of Curtis Jones. Exceptional 45 mins.
On to Leeds at Anfield next weekend to defend our title.
— Brian Murphy (@Brian88Murphy) September 5, 2020
That Keita-Jones double pivot was a joy to watch second half #YNWA
— Tatenda Mugwendere (@Tate_Mugwez) September 5, 2020Focus now turns to Leeds next weekend, including talk of playing a 4-2-3-1 formation…
See you soon Leeds ? pic.twitter.com/x4Dk0EVdqV
— supermane10 (@supermanelfc) September 5, 2020
4231 against Leeds please @LFC
— Dani (@dxnii50) September 5, 2020
We need to play 4-2-3-1 vs Leeds with Minamino in the team
— ?? (@TheImmortalKop) September 5, 2020
Bring on yer Leeds United!!! #LFC
— LFCZA ?? (@LFCZA) September 5, 2020
Taki as an attacking midfielder, on 4-2-3-1 vs Leeds please @LFC
— DAN ?? | JFT96 (@DenmarkTriads) September 5, 2020
Please klopp should start Minamino against Leeds ?
4-2-3-1 is the new deal
— Afeez 2.0? (@AyoolaYusuff) September 5, 2020
Let us know your thoughts on the game in the comments section.
Liverpool came from two goals down to beat Blackpool 7-2 at Anfield in their final pre-season friendly of the summer on Saturday.
The visitors took the lead after a quarter of an hour when CJ Hamilton wriggled away from Billy Koumetio on halfway and ran clear before finishing beyond Alisson Becker.
Jerry Yates doubled their advantage from the penalty spot; however, Joel Matip reduced the deficit when he glanced in just before the break.
The champions then went in front with two goals in as many minutes shortly after the restart. Sadio Mane tapped in after his initial header struck the bar and Roberto Firmino diverted a driven ball from Takumi Minamino into the net with a neat flick.
Now in full control, Harvey Elliott came off the bench to grab his first goal for the club before Minamino converted a fifth.
Divock Origi netted from a Curtis Jones pass and Sepp van den Berg nudged in from yards out after Elliott had returned a corner into the box to complete the scoring at the finale.
The team news…
Jürgen Klopp named a strong starting line-up for the friendly, which included the return of Matip in defence following an injury layoff.
Liverpool: Alisson, Hoever, Matip, Koumetio, Milner, Fabinho, Keita, Minamino, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Subs: Adrian, Karius, Jones, Origi, Phillips, Clarkson, Elliott, Van den Berg.
With the start of the new Premier League season just one week away, Liverpool reacquainted themselves with the Anfield turf with an encounter against Neil Critchley’s side.
Blackpool demonstrated their willingness to seize the opportunity of taking on the champions when the returning Matip was required to produce a last-ditch block to thwart Sullay Kaikai inside the box.
At the other end, Firmino’s precise ball across the six-yard box was cut out by Marvin Ekpiteta to prevent Minamino from tapping in.
Then, with 15 minutes on the Anfield scoreboard, Blackpool took the lead when Hamilton beat Koumetio to a pass and strode through from deep before finishing emphatically.
Liverpool’s response saw Firmino have a goal-bound header blocked and a snap-shot soon after smothered by Chris Maxwell.
The Tangerines’ goalkeeper was next required to keep out a crisply-struck drive from Minamino after Mohamed Salah had rolled the ball off.
However, just after the half-hour, Alisson brought down Hamilton as both players attempted to reach a ball into the left channel of the Reds’ area, resulting in a penalty for Blackpool. Yates duly converted with aplomb.
Naby Keita’s touch-and-shot cannoned back off the base of the post as Liverpool looked to reduce the arrears before the break – and they did get on the scoresheet when Matip looped a header in from James Milner’s deep centre.
Firmino then looked to draw the hosts level in stoppage-time as they countered from a corner, but Yates had tracked back to make the recovery challenge.
Nat Phillips, Van den Berg and Jones replaced Matip, Koutmetio and Fabinho at half-time – and Liverpool were ahead inside nine minutes.
First, a scramble inside the box saw an attempted clearance strike Mane. Substitute ‘keeper Jack Sims did well to keep it out before Mane instinctively headed the rebound against the crossbar. The No.10 finally made sure, though, when he tapped in.
Then, Minamino’s angled drive across the box was diverted over the line by a deft flick through his legs by Firmino to complete the turnaround.
Blackpool almost mustered an instant riposte, but Grant Ward was stifled by a combination of Phillips and Alisson.
Further changes followed for Klopp’s side – and it was a substitute who grabbed the fourth goal; Elliott latching onto a through-ball from Origi and keeping his composure to steer in on 69 minutes.
A fifth arrived soon after, Minamino sweeping beyond Sims from Firmino’s pass inside the box.
The Reds added further to their goal tally in the final knockings when Origi side-footed in from a Jones ball and Van den Berg prodded over the line via an Elliott cross to complete the scoring.
Liverpool U18s registered a fourth successive win in pre-season with an impressive 4-1 defeat of Manchester United on Saturday.
An end-to-end opening 45 minutes at the Academy concluded with Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side two goals to the good.
They had taken an early lead through Oakley Cannonier, whose calm control and finish into the bottom left corner came after strong play down the right by Isaac Mabaya.
An entertaining contest included subsequent chances for both teams and one particularly crucial intervention from Lee Jonas to deny United an equaliser at the last moment.
Jonas then proved influential in the other direction, setting up the Reds’ second.
The defender knocked a pass over the top for the run of Mabaya, who chased down the ball, deftly lifted it over the advancing goalkeeper and converted for 2-0.
And Liverpool extended their advantage further just three minutes into the second half, Jarell Quansah heading in at the back post from Dominic Corness’ corner.
Bridge-Wilkinson’s charges were still not satisfied and soon made it four; Harvey Blair’s effort from the left edge of the area struck the post but Cannonier kept the chance alive and Max Woltman fired home.
The visitors did bag a consolation to prevent the Reds from claiming a third clean sheet in pre-season, but it was another positive runout for the youngsters before the campaign begins.
Jürgen Klopp provided an update on Jordan Henderson's injury recovery as the Liverpool captain sat out Saturday's friendly with Blackpool.
The midfielder is continuing to rehabilitate the knee issue that sidelined him for the final stages of last season, but participated in parts of team training this week.
And Henderson is on course to step up to full sessions with the squad ahead of the Reds’ Premier League opener against Leeds United next Saturday.
“Obviously Hendo was desperate to play a few minutes today as well, but it makes no real sense because he had to do an important session today for him,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com before kick-off with Blackpool.
“If he would have played today, 10 minutes or so would have probably been OK. But that makes no sense. So that was not possible, but he trained in big parts of this week and will probably join full team training next Tuesday.
“Timing-wise, not perfect that he cannot play today, but can train a few days later fully. But that’s how it is.
“We will see how he develops, [there are] a few days until Leeds, how the boys come back from the national teams. A lot of open questions still, but a few hopefully we can answer today.”
Klopp’s starting XI for the visit of Blackpool does see the return of Joel Matip, however, and he is paired with teenager Billy Koumetio in central defence.
James Milner shifts to left-back in the absence of Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas, while Ki-Jana Hoever is deployed on the opposite flank.
“Joel is fit, he trained now a week with us, which is very important obviously considering the centre-back situation we have,” explained the boss.
“Billy so far played an exceptional pre-season; 17 years old, still growing, still learning every day, really nice, so good to give him the opportunity to play in a game like this.
“Millie plays the position not for the first time, both left-backs are obviously not here. And Ki-Jana can play the position very well. Obviously it’s a pretty new last line, but that’s it pretty much.
“Apart from that, we have a lot of offensive players here, which is good and we try to bring as many as possible of them together on the pitch – that’s why we play like we play.”
Liverpool have named a strong starting line-up for today’s pre-season friendly with Blackpool.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino lead the attack against the League One side, while there is also a place for Takumi Minamino.
Joel Matip returns in defence after injury to partner Billy Koumetio.
Liverpool: Alisson, Hoever, Matip, Koumetio, Milner, Fabinho, Keita, Minamino, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Subs: Adrian, Karius, Jones, Origi, Phillips, Clarkson, Elliott, Van den Berg.
Three senior Liverpool players had Nations League involvement on Friday night, with two of them captaining their respective countries.
The complete mix-up of season preparations and lack of time for all the games being squashed in means we’re facing a totally ludicrous situation this weekend.
Liverpool have a pre-season game at home to Blackpool, but with only half the squad, as the rest are on international duty a week before the league season starts.
On Friday night three Reds took to the pitch for senior internationals, while there was also U21 involvement to keep an eye on.
The usual Liverpool Dutch duo were in action and played the full 90 minutes in victory.
Van Dijk kept Krzysztof Piatek, briefly a team-mate of Marko Grujic at the end of last season, largely quiet and then did the same to Arkadiusz Milik after a striker substitution for the Poles.
Wijnaldum was, for once, not much involved in goalscoring chances for his national team, with Spurs’ Steven Bergwijn tapping in the winner from close range.
Andy Robertson was another who wore the armband, skippering Scotland in their match against Israel.
That ended in a 1-1 draw, with Robertson playing left wing-back in a 3-4-3 system and being the team’s main outlet.
With Arsenal‘s Kieran Tierney playing inside him as the left-sided centre-back of three, it also seemed to solve Scotland’s dilemma about how to fit arguably their top two players into the same team, but there remained a lack of cutting edge about the Scots.
In somewhat related news, the other left-back Liverpool bid for this summer, played the full 90 minutes for Northern Ireland in a 1-1 draw with Romania—and now looks set for a move costing slightly more than Tsimikas did, with Newcastle having a £13.5m bid accepted.
The Reds bid £10m for him, before signing Tsimikas for £11.75m.
At U21 level, a further two Reds were involved.
Rhian Brewster came on as sub for England U21s in a 6-0 rout of Kosovo, but only played the final 18 minutes or so, replacing four-goal Eddie Nketiah.
This was Brewster’s seventh appearance at U21 level, but he has yet to find the net.
Morgan Boyes played the full 90 minutes in defence for Wales U21, as they lost to Bosnia Herzegovina 1-0. Ben Woodburn was originally in the squad, but was promoted to the seniors.
Similarly, Kamil Grabara is usually Poland U21’s No. 1 but he was given the night off for an easy 6-0 win over Estonia.
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Visit our Match Centre for live build-up, updates and reaction from Liverpool's pre-season friendly with Blackpool.