Liverpool: Coutinho Captains Reds To Hertha Win
New boys Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke on target in a 3-0 victory...
Liverpool's encouraging pre-season continued on Saturday evening when they comfortably overcame Hertha Berlin at the Olympiastadion in Germany. Our run seems to have given the bookies some confidence with SportNation.bet showing Liverpool at 20/1 to win league.
The encounter featured a debut for new left-back Andy Robertson and first appearances of the summer for Emre Can and Sadio Mané following international commitments and injury respectively.
All eyes were on star man Philippe Coutinho however with the reported Barcelona target named skipper and fielded in an attacking wide left role.
After a sluggish opening the Reds soon established their superiority and they went in front on the quarter hour mark via Dominic Solanke.
The teenage frontman, who was originally named on the bench but started after Divock Origi suffered a hamstring problem in the warm-up, deftly nodding home an Adam Lallana cross.
Chances to extend the lead quickly came and went - Mané missing arguably the best of them - before the hosts, who like Liverpool are celebrating their 125th anniversary this term, eventually grew into the contest.
Mitchell Weiser was at the heart of much of their better work, while Simon Mignolet needed to be alert to deny Vladimir Darida.
Liverpool's second goal came seven minutes before the interval as Solanke and Mané combined to tee-up Georginio Wijnaldum, who found the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Mignolet, Gomez, Matip (Flanagan 75'), Klavan, Moreno (Robertson 45'), Can (Ejaria 58'), Lallana (Henderson 45'), Wijnaldum (Salah 45'), Mané (Firmino 45'), Coutinho (Kent 66'), Solanke (Sturridge 45')
Not used: Grabara, Lovren
Robertson entered proceedings at half-time for his Reds bow alongside big-name quartet Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge.
The Scottish international instantly looked at home; forcing Rune Jarstein into a save before supplying a fine cross that Salah was inches away from converting.
Salah wasn't to be denied shortly after the hour mark though when he burst onto a wonderful lofted Coutinho pass and nonchalantly lifted the ball into the net.
Firmino and Sturridge both went close to adding a fourth in the closing stages but the visitors had to remain content with a final scoreline of 3-0.
In addition to the goal scorers, Coutinho and Robertson, youngster Joe Gomez produced an impressive performance at right-back.
Evaluating his team's showing at the full-time whistle, a somewhat understated Jürgen Klopp remarked: "Today we had quite a long journey to come here: bus, plane, bus, hotel, bus, here - that's not what we usually do on a matchday but we wanted to have it more difficult.
"You could see after half an hour, someone took the charge off a little bit. The players thought it was already done and then Hertha came up again and it was more difficult for us, we were a little bit too late in different situations so they had moments.
"After 1-0, we could've conceded a goal but Simon was there, we defended then with passion when organisation wasn't there anymore. I'm fine with it; as long as you win, that's the main thing.
"The second half, also, we scored just one goal but then we managed the game, that's very important, especially because the players want to show they can do it. It looked really mature, I'm happy with this."
Liverpool are next in action against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday when the Audi Cup gets underway.
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