19 July 2014

Liverpool 2-1 Preston North End

Brownhill 45+1'
Suso 74'
Peterson 77'

Once again, recap in the form of various notes, because preseason. All the usual "it's preseason" caveats obviously apply.

• Aside from the result, that was an awful lot like Wednesday's friendly. Liverpool lose a starter we're eager to see early on (taken off as a precaution), Liverpool struggle to get shots off, Liverpool concede a regrettable first-half goal (this time from a set play). Liverpool reply in the second half, and are much better after making wholesale substitutions. This time, Liverpool got a quick second with Preston rattled, and never looked close to conceding a second.

• Liverpool began in the 4-4-2 diamond, with both Can and Lambert making their Liverpool debuts, but soon switched back to the now-preferred 4-1-2-3 when Can went off with a calf strain in the 21st minute, replaced by Jordon Ibe.

• That Liverpool again struggled to get into shooting positions, to fire efforts on goal, is slightly concerning, even considering all the typical preseason caveats. Liverpool looked good on the ball in the first half in the middle third of the pitch: Lucas, Allen, Can, and Coutinho – especially Coutinho – comfortably in possession, but they had next to no attacking threat. Liverpool took its first shot in the 28th minute, a Lambert effort straight at Preston's goalkeeper, but only added one more concrete chance before the interval: excellent hold-up play from Lambert, set up by Coutinho, but the shot fired over by Ibe.

• Fabio Borini has played 109 minutes in these two friendlies, most of them as an out-and-out striker. By my count, he's taken one shot: an effort saved in the 29th minute at Brøndby, one in the flurry of three where Liverpool somehow failed to score. Again, it's preseason etc, but this seems to confirm some of the fears about Borini, and it's little surprise to see Liverpool snap at Sunderland's £14m offer.

• For the second consecutive friendly, Jordon Ibe was Liverpool's most impressive player, despite that missed chance in the 34th minute. It's no coincidence that Ibe has assisted all three of Liverpool's preseason goals so far, by far the most willing to attack in the fearless, direct manner that suited Liverpool so well last season. It's a facile comparison, but he reminds me so much of Sterling when Sterling was that raw; able to do that much damage based on pace and ability on the ball. The difference is Sterling was much more likely to cut in from the left and shoot, Ibe has been creating chances and assists from those positions. Sterling's chance creation has improved by miles since; hopefully Ibe's shooting similarly improves.

• Suso's goal was really, really pretty.

• Special mention for Jordan Rossiter as well, outstanding in the holding role in the final 30 minutes, playing as the deepest midfielder despite Coady also coming on in the 64th minute. Preston also swapped its entire XI in the second half, but Rossiter was a massive reason why the home side's chances evaporated. All the Jordons/Jordans. Forever.

No comments :