Bury vs. Liverpool 2018 Friendly Ends in Scoreless Draw; Mo Salah, More Absent

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2018

CHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Fabinho of Liverpool during the Pre-season friendly between Chester City and Liverpool at Swansway Chester Stadium on July 7, 2018 in Chester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)
Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by League One side Bury in a pre-season friendly at Gigg Lane on Saturday.

The Reds almost suffered the humiliation of losing to lower-league opposition when Jordan Archer had the ball in the back of the net for the Shakers in the second half, only for the linesman's flag to spare Liverpool's blushes.

Star forwards Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino weren't involved following their exertions at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, leaving Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge to struggle to pick up the slack.

Meanwhile, summer signings Fabinho and Naby Keita failed to impress in midfield.

Liverpool should have been 2-0 up after just 12 minutes but somehow managed to waste two excellent chances. First, Origi botched a clear one-on-one after being played in by centre-back Joel Matip.

Origi was off the mark during the first half.
Origi was off the mark during the first half.Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

The latter was the next to inexplicably miss, heading wide after easily meeting a corner.

Matip didn't score, but he was at least looking composed at the back alongside Virgil van Dijk. By contrast, Origi was struggling to make inroads from the flanks, with more than one delivery off target.

The Belgian forward needed to catch the eye after a year on loan in the Bundesliga, but he was being upstaged by fellow attackers Sturridge and Sheyi Ojo.

In fairness to Origi, he was far from alone in producing poor deliveries from wide areas. A poor corner from James Milner evoked memories of a flop signing from the Reds' recent past:

Liverpool FC News @LivEchoLFC

WARNING - there has been an Aspas for #LFC at Gigg Lane https://t.co/A4j6B2aTKP https://t.co/IM0ZubQbIh

A so-called "Aspas corner" summed up the lack of quality in the final third from the Premier League side. The sluggish and slack standard of play even infected those at the back when Alberto Moreno's short back-pass put under-fire goalkeeper Lorius Karius in trouble.

Bury couldn't take the chance, but they were looking more than comfortable against last season's UEFA Champions League finalists.

If there was a rare bright spot for Liverpool, it was the performance of academy prospect Curtis Jones. The 17-year-old midfielder stood out in more senior company alongside big-money summer import Fabinho:

Neil Jones @neiljonesgoal

Curtis Jones off target from distance. He's been bright and busy, backs himself on the ball which is great to see in one so young. Pretty low-key half generally from #LFC

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp made 10 changes at the break. Only Karius stayed on as the German stopper sought to build confidence after his high-profile gaffes during the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final back in May.

Among those who entered the fray were playmaker Adam Lallana and Dominic Solanke. The two quickly combined to create a great chance, but Solanke's shot was blocked on the line.

Liverpool had gone close, but Bury gave the Reds a scare less than a minute later when Ryan Cooney crashed a shot off the post.

Solanke went close.
Solanke went close.Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

In the 75th minute, former Chester City striker Archer put the ball into the back of the net, but the Shakers' celebrations were cut short by the offside flag.

Liverpool barely merited the let-off after a lethargic performance. Klopp may have been missing his star forwards, but he'll be disappointed those who played couldn't produce more with the start of the new Premier League season less than a month away.