Fleetwood Town vs. Liverpool: Score, Reaction from 2016 Pre-Season Friendly

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2016

FILE- In this Thursday, May 5, 2016 file photo, Liverpool's manager Juergen Klopp smiles before the Europa League semifinal, second leg, soccer match between Liverpool and Villarreal at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England. Liverpool says coach Klopp has signed a new
Jon Super/Associated Press

Liverpool made it two wins in their series of pre-season friendlies, as they beat Fleetwood Town 5-0 at Highbury Stadium on Wednesday. 

Danny Ings saw an early penalty saved, but new boy Marko Grujic quickly put the Reds ahead on his debut.

Ben Woodburn added a second goal shortly after the break, and a quickfire double from Lucas Leiva and Roberto Firmino—who added another in injury timecapped a dominant performance from Liverpool, who enjoyed the lion's share of the possession and the chances.

Summer signings Sadio Mane, Loris Karius and Joel Matip all started, though there was no place for Philippe Coutinho in the squad.

The visitors made a bright start as they dominated the ball and looked to get forward. Bleacher Report UK's Jack Lusby noted the strategy that Reds boss Jurgen Klopp adopted:

Liverpool were awarded a penalty after 12 minutes when Akil Wright brought down Grujic after the Reds midfielder held off Jimmy Ryan well before making a promising run into the box. Ings stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick, but Chris Neal saved the striker's poor effort.

Five minutes later, the Reds were in front when Mane and Alberto Moreno linked up well on the left before the latter's ball found its way to Grujic, whose shot deflected in. Squawka News shared pictures of his celebrations:

James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo and Lusby were impressed with the Serbian:

The 20-year-old came close to scoring again moments later when Lazar Markovic picked him out in the box, but his effort from a tight angle hit the upright.

Liverpool continued to mount the pressure, and after Mane won a corner, the ball was eventually delivered to Dejan Lovren, whose header forced a save from Neal, who also had to react to a powerful strike from Grujic.

Fleetwood's first efforts of note came late in the half. Ryan fired over from outside the area, while Amari'i Bell whipped a teasing ball across goal, but no Fleetwood players were there to convert.

At the break, Klopp opted to change his entire team, per the Liverpool Echo's Neil Jones:

Despite the raft of changes, the Reds remained positive and pushed forward from the outset of the second half.

Woodburn was the one to score the deserved second after Ryan Kent selflessly squared the ball after Lucas' slide-rule pass, and the pair continued to cause problems for the Fishermen as they linked up smartly and each had further efforts saved in quick succession:

Elliot Osborne capped a brief resurgent spell for the home side when he picked up the ball on the right and fired at Adam Bogdan, but it wasn't long before the visitors were back on top.

Liverpool made it 3-0 through Lucas, who tucked home after being teed up by the impressive and dynamic Kent, per the Reds' official Twitter feed:

Their fourth came just a minute later when Woodburn broke forward. Fleetwood substitute goalkeeper Alex Cairns reacted well to close down the youngster, but the ball broke for Firmino, and the Brazilian made no mistake:

The match was well and truly over as a contest with Liverpool seemingly content to sit back on their lead, but it didn't stop Firmino rounding out the scoring in the final minute after Woodburn played an incisive defence-splitting pass that left him with a simple finish.

Klopp's men were far more clinical than they were in their first pre-season friendly—a 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers on Friday—and the German has particular cause to be pleased with new signing Grujic and hot prospects Woodburn and Kent.

Next up for the Reds is a trip to Wigan Athletic on July 17.

 

Post-Match Reaction

Per Adam Jones of the Liverpool Echo, Klopp believes there's still plenty of room for improvement:

In the first half I was not too happy with the performance because of course we are the better team, we have the better players.

In the second half they changed, we changedin that [second period] we tried to use information from the first half in it and we scored nice goals.

It was OK. It is how it is. It is not a moment for being satisfied, we have to improve.

He also commented on Grujic's contribution: "It's important that he can get confidence, that's how it is. He's still a young player. I'm very happy for the boys, they did well today. In the end, they are only wearing a Liverpool shirt because they are good. They have to make each other stronger, to work together."