06 September 2020 12:35
A poor first half saw Liverpool 2-0 down early on against Blackpool, but the second half became a rout for the Reds. Liverpool 7-2 Blackpool Friendly, Anfield Saturday, 5 September 2020 Goals Hamilton 15′ Yates 31′ (pen) Matip 43′ (assist: Milner) Mane 52′ Elliott 69′ (assist: Origi) Minamino 71′ (assist: Firmino) Origi 85′ (assist: Jones) Van den Berg 88′ (assist Elliott) Owing to the ridiculously timed international break, it was a top-heavy Liverpool side featuring the first-choice front three but a makeshift defence. James Milner captained the side at left-back, with Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas away on international duty, while 17-year-old Billy Koumetio had another opportunity to impress, alongside returning centre-back Joel Matip. Jurgen Klopp went with a 4-2-3-1 shape, as he had for the final 30 minutes against Arsenal in the Community Shield, with Takumi Minamino as the No10 the front three in their more usual roles ahead. Blackpool, managed by former Reds' under-23 coach Neil Critchley, started brightly, playing some nice football.
And it was the League One side who took the lead after 15 minutes when a Salah pass put Koumetio under pressure and the teenager's mistake let in Chris Hamilton, who finished well past Alisson at the Kop end. Liverpool's first shot on target arrived from Taki Minamino on the half-hour but it was easily saved. Blackpool then doubled their lead when Jerry Yates took an excellent spot-kick after Alisson had given away a penalty when rushing out of the area. A clearly frustrated Klopp could be heard telling the players to "start winning challenges." Liverpool came close to getting a goal was when Naby Keita hit the post from the edge of the box, and then halved the deficit when Matip headed home Milner's cross from a corner shortly before half time. Half time: Liverpool 1-2 Blackpool Half time saw three changes, with Nat Phillips, Sepp van den Berg and Curtis Jones replacing Matip, Koumetio and Fabinho. Liverpool were much, much better after the break and they got their equaliser when Sadio Mane eventually tapped into an empty net after the ball ricocheted around and his header came back off the bar. Playing at a much higher tempo, the Reds then took the lead within two minutes of the equaliser, with Roberto Firmino hooking the ball home inside the box from Minamino's cross-shot after Salah's shot had been palmed away. Liverpool, in complete contrast to the first half, were first to every ball, winning it back high up the pitch and Blackpool were unable to get any possession. With Blackpool having made a host of changes, the League One side understandably became inferior opposition. Sub Harvey Elliott got himself onto the teamsheet when his shot was only deflected onto the post by the Blackpool sub keeper, and within two minutes it was 5-2 when Minamino finished inside the box after excellent work from Firmino. Jones was excellent for the Reds and it was his assist that set up Divock Origi for the sixth goal and a seventh was added when Van den Berg tapped in from close range late on. After a very poor first half, ultimately this became a comfortable win with seven different goalscorers, but Liverpool will need to be better from the off against Leeds when the season starts in a week. TIA Man of the Match: Naby Keita Attendance: Behind closed doors Liverpool: Alisson (Adrian 61′), Hoever, Matip (Phillips 45′), Koumetio (Van den Berg 45′), Milner, Fabinho (Jones 45′), Keita, Minamino, Salah (Origi 61′), Mane (Elliott 61′), Firmino. Subs not used: Karius, Clarkson Next Match: Leeds United (home, Saturday 12 September)