Liverpool allowed their fans to forget about the Luis Suarez saga yesterday as they ran out impressive 4-0 winners in their first pre-season friendly against Preston. The two sides contested the Shankly Shield, held in honour of Bill Shankly who made his name as a player with the home side and manager of the five time European champions, in 30 degree heat.
The reds looked in great nick as the man who will hope to help plug the gap left by Suarez, should the non-committal Uruguayan leave, Iago Aspas – curled in a beauty to seal an emphatic victory. Brendan Rodgers will have also been delighted to see two forwards that represent the future for the club, Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling, finding the back of the net to complement Phillipe Coutinho’s effort. All the scorers from yesterday’s win will be looking to spearhead Liverpool’s attack during the forthcoming season and it looks like Liverpool will be attempting to continue last season’s free scoring form.
Indeed, it should not be ignored that Liverpool were playing a below par Preston side who have not fared well in the football league over the last few years. But, as we see so often in all sports – friendlies of this nature can often peter out into droll affairs especially when players are short of match fitness. So, signs for optimism for Liverpool who weren’t able to field Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez or Daniel Sturridge due to holidays and fitness but Rodgers will not be allowing the fans or players to get carried away until a similar performance is put in against a team of real calibre.
The game also allowed Rodgers to give his first starts to other new signings, Simon Mignolet in goal and Kolo Toure in defence – both of which will be very happy to have recorded a clean sheet.
On a day that Luis Suarez came out with more contradictory comments regarding his future, now saying he is looking for a step up wherever that may be – and saying that the British media is now his secondary reason for wanting to leave the club, this win will have at least given fans something to remain upbeat about with less than a month remaining until the start of the 2013/2014 season. Suarez could well be making such comments to pave the way for a transfer to the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal or Chelsea. Fans will be wanting a quick resolution having recovered very well from the losses of talismanic strikers such as Owen, Fowler and Torres in the past. Whatever happens, Rodgers looks to have the Liverpool camp in very good order indeed.
Starting Liverpool Line Up Vs Preston North End – 13th July 2013
Mignolet, Spearing, Agger, Toure, Flanagan, Henderson, Allen, Assaidi, Ibe, Coutinho, Borini.
Substitutes: Ward, Johnson, Skrtel, Wisdom, Robinson, Lucas, Alberto, Pacheco, Aspas, Sterling, Downing, Kelly.