Preston vs. Liverpool: 6 Things We Learned

Matt Ladson@mattladsonFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2014

Preston vs. Liverpool: 6 Things We Learned

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    Liverpool's second pre-season friendly of the summer saw them take the short trip up the M6 to face Preston North End at Deepdale on Saturday afternoon.

    Coming so soon after the opening friendly against Brondby in Copenhagen on Wednesday, it was another good test of the fitness, especially on a humid afternoon in the north west.

    Without players involved at the World Cup—they fly out with the rest of the squad on Sunday to America—it was an opportunity for the youth and fringe players to impress.

    Second half goals from Suso and Kristoffer Peterson, both assisted by Jordon Ibe, gave Brendan Rodgers' side a 2-1 win. 

    The match also saw the debuts of Emre Can and Rickie Lambert.

    Here are six things we learned from the match.

Formation Flexibility

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    Having played 4-3-3 against Brondby, Rodgers' side started with a midfield diamond, before changing back to 4-3-3 after Emre Can's injury.

    The starting shape saw Lucas in holding midfield, Can and Joe Allen either side, with Philippe Coutinho—who shone again—at the point, with Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert alongside each other up front.

    After Can's injury, Ibe went on the right and Borini moved to the left.

    These two formations look likely to be the most used at Anfield this coming season and the players have good knowledge of each.

Jordon Ibe Impresses Again

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    Eighteen-year-old winger Jordon Ibe took his chance to shine. Replacing debutant Emre Can after just 20 minutes, Ibe set up both goals in the second half.

    Used on the right after his introduction, Ibe missed a good chance, but after the break he shone on the left of attack, creating numerous chances and using his pace to great effect.

    Easily the standout performer from the match, he's now assisted all three of the Reds' goals so far in pre-season.

Kristoffer Peterson Taking His Chance

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    Nineteen-year-old forward Kristoffer Peterson made it two goals in two games for him this pre-season, netting the winner.

    The Swede has done enough to impress manager Brendan Rodgers to the extent that he'll now be added to the squad for the America tour.

    "Young Kristoffer Peterson has come in and got two goals" Rodgers told the official Liverpool website after the match. "I said to him, 'You'll now come to America on the back of what you've done in your training'."

Lucas Continues to Struggle

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    The Brazilian midfielder struggled again, lacking spark and seemingly struggling to close down players in the holding midfield role.

    Young Jordan Rossiter came on for the final half an hour and impressed where Lucas didn't.

    A move away from Anfield would benefit Lucas.

The Future's Bright

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    This was a Liverpool side without Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Glen Johnson, Raheem Sterling, Mamadou Sakho, Simon Mignolet, new signings Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic.

    The nine changes made with 30 minutes remaining, which saw a very youthful side on the pitch, was the one which impressed mostfrom Rossiter in midfield and Peterson up front to Ibe out wide and Suso on the opposite wing.

    Sixteen-year-old Adam Phillips also got another appearance in the latter stages.

    With many other players not involved due to the under-19s heading to Holland on Saturday afternoon, it's clear that Liverpool have a very bright future.

Respect from Fans

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    Liverpool fans know that times have changed when opposition supporters not only show their support for "Justice For The 96" chants, but also join in with "Stand Up For The 96" chants too.

    This was mutually applauded by both sets of supporters afterwards, with the travelling Reds showing their appreciation for Preston's home support.

    A short acclaim for Preston legend Tom Finney who passed away earlier this year followed.

    For the second year in a row Liverpool travelled to Preston and it could become a regular fixture. Simon Grayson's side play football in a good manner, have a good pitch that Liverpool know they can play on, and their supporters get a good day out nearby.