Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund faced off at Anfield on Sunday in the final pre-season game for both before competitive action starts next week.
The Premier League side emerged triumphant with a tremendous 4-0 win, courtesy of goals from Daniel Sturridge, Dejan Lovren, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson.
Both sides fielded new signings—Lovren, Emre Can and Javier Manquillo for the Reds and Matthias Ginter and striker Adrian Ramos for BVB.
Early chances saw both teams have half-shots at goal, before a great move of real quality saw Coutinho free Sturridge with an outside-of-the-boot flick. The English striker ran into the box and beat the keeper with a fine low finish for his first goal of pre-season.
Minutes later the Reds doubled their lead as debutant Lovren rose to power in a header from six yards after a corner from the left that was delivered by Steven Gerrard.
Dortmund enjoyed sporadic attacks during the first half hour, but the match was very much in Liverpool's control. Sterling and Coutinho in particular showed multiple occasions of impressive link-up play. The latter stages of the first half saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan start to get involved rather more, but both he and Ramos spurned half-sighters of Simon Mignolet's goal.
The final chance of the first half saw a Gerrard free kick parried over the bar by Mitch Langerak, as the Reds went in 2-0 up at the break.
Immediately after the restart, Liverpool increased their lead as Sterling set up Coutinho for a low-driven finish, which again highlighted the importance and invention of those two attacking youngsters.
Liverpool's attacks kept coming, and the finest move of the summer for the Reds ended in a fourth goal.
Coutinho and Sterling were once more heavily involved, along with Sturridge who retrieved the ball from a low cross, beat a defender and teed up Henderson to finish from close range.
The substitutions of the second half seemed to disrupt Dortmund more than Liverpool. By then, the Reds were dominating entirely after a tactical switch at the break saw them play 4-2-3-1 rather than the diamond midfield they started the game with.
Late on there were half-chances for both sides, but the main work was done, and Liverpool saw out the game for an impressive 4-0 victory.
Key Player Ratings
Dejan Lovren, DEF, LIV: A
The Croatian centre-back couldn't have asked for a better debut, scoring a header early on and producing a string of big tackles to get the crowd on his side.
Lovren played left of centre alongside Martin Skrtel and could be heard bellowing orders at his team-mates from the outset.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, MID, BVB: C+
Mkhitaryan had a 20-minute spell in the first half when he was Dortmund's best player. He looked to drop deeper to start picking the ball up and create moves from the second line, but either side of that, he wasn't able to get involved much.
The Armenian had one half-chance but wasted the chance to shoot. Gerrard also blocked him twice.
Philippe Coutinho, MID, LIV: A
Coutinho was the star of the Liverpool team throughout pre-season.
One terrific assist, a well-taken goal and plenty of involvement in Liverpool's best moves of the game made him the standout player once more.
Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool manager, on Philippe Coutinho, as per LiverpoolFC.com:
He's so gifted as a player. He's just magical. His ability to get out of tight situations and his view of the game is incredible. And that's his best position - playing between the lines, he doesn't get marked. He drops to the back of midfield, he draws defenders out, and the weight of his passes is phenomenal.
Klopp: "Once I won 5-0 against LFC in pre-season, with Mainz, and afterwards we got relegated. For me it's now standing 5-4." [Via @luc_bvb]— Borussia Dortmund FF (@BVBfansFF) August 10, 2014
Rodgers: "I have nothing but admiration for what Klopp has achieved at Dortmund and, possibly more significantly, how he achieved it."— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) August 10, 2014