Liverpool continued their early pre-season form with a 3-1 win over Bradford at Valley Parade earlier today. A brace from James Milner and another goal for Rhian Brewster ensured The Reds are 2/2 in their pre-season campaign.
Today’s game transcended football, though, as the game was arranged in order to help former Red and Bradford defender Stephen Darby in his ongoing battle against Motor Neurone Disease. Darby retired from football in September of last year.
Like Tranmere, a large number of youngsters started the game. Players such as Harry Wilson and Nat Phillips were in from the start alongside the returning Dejan Lovren who had returned from his post-season holiday yesterday.
17-year-old left-back Yasser Larouci also impressed once again, linking up with Ryan Kent on a number of occasions.
James Milner scored 2 in 2 minutes to put Liverpool 2 goals to the good. The first came on the 13-minute mark. Milner shot from outside the area and the ball was steered in by a fortuitous deflection from former Everton striker James Vaughan.
His second came from the penalty spot after Ryan Kent was clumsily brought down in the area by Sean Scannell. Milner, as he does, confidently put the penalty into the bottom right corner.
Bradford thought they had halved the deficit to one on the half-hour mark but Ben Richards-Everton was adjudged to have been in an offside position when the free-kick was swung in.
Liverpool added their third of the game in the 41st minute. A blocked Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shot found its way to Rhian Brewster who somehow found the net from the acutest of angles. That’s 3 goals in 90 minutes now for Brewster.
The Liverpool fans produced a performance of their own at half time, going through the seemingly endless repertoire of songs about everything to do with the club (alongside the now synonymous red pyro.) This forced many to miss the opening minutes of the second period.
A second XI took to the field in the second half with every position having a change of personnel bar Simon Mignolet in goal. The Belgian would later make way for Dan Atherton.
Curtis Jones shone in the second half, as did Ki-Jana Hoever. Both youngsters certainly took advantage of the opportunity handed to them. Jones continuously tested the Bradford backline while Hoever looked solid in both defensive and offensive aspects.
Truthfully the second half lacked the quality the first half had with Liam Millar having Liverpool’s only chance of note. He forced Sam Hornby into a smart save down to his left. Millar drafted into the squad as a replacement for the injured Paul Glatzel.
Bradford got their goal in the 80th minute. This one also came from the penalty spot after Adam Lewis had an Alberto Moreno moment. The young full-back went into a challenge he was never going to win and subsequently fouled Clayton Donaldson.
Eoin Doyle hit it straight down the middle. Just out of reach of Mignolet’s trailing leg to bring the scoring for the day to an end.
Liverpool will now fly out to America to continue their 19/20 preparations. They face Dortmund at the Notre Dame Stadium in the first of three games played out in the states.
With senior figures such as Jordan Henderson and Virgil van Dijk being well back and ready by early Saturday. You can expect the upcoming games to be played at a higher intensity as Friday, August 9 draws closer.