What We Learnt: Liverpool 3 Olympique Lyonnais 1

Jurgen Klopp’s side finished preseason with a dominant display against Lyon following a sloppy start.

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Goals from Firmino, Wilson and an own goal from Joachim Andersen cancelled out a Memphis Depay penalty in the 4th minute. A blend of returning first team stars and promising academy graduates eased to a victory in Evian. Liverpool play Manchester City at Wembley in the Community shield on Sunday but here are five things we learnt from this evenings performance;

1) Bobby’s Back 

Roberto Firmino made his return to the squad alongside fellow Brazilian Alisson as well as Mo Salah, Naby Keita and Shaqiri. It took Bobby just seventeen minutes to open his account in this year’s preseason. Just a few weeks on from winning the Copa America with Brazil, Liverpool’s number nine was back with an instinctive strike. The Reds needed an equaliser after a poor start from a rare Alisson Becker error resulting in them going a goal behind. After Memphis Depay converted the penalty it was Firmino that stepped with a swivelled half volley to draw level. The Brazilian looked sharp with a great first touch in his brief half hour performance. He led the press as he did so many times at Anfield last season. Linking up with Xherdan Shaqiri well in a period where Lyon struggled to match the intensity of Liverpool’s interchangeable midfield trio. He was replaced by a brilliant ovation in Evian as the sun set on the Stade de Genève.
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2) Young Fullbacks and Harvey Elliot Impressing

This summer fans have been desperate for Klopp to get the cheque book out. With other club’s diving into the transfer market and splashing millions the Reds have remained relatively quiet thus far. With questions asked over the reliability of the current squad, Liverpool’s young players have given a good impression, especially in the fullback areas with Yasser Larouchi and Ki-Jana Hoever. Hoever signed a new contract earlier today extending his time at the club. He delivered a delightful cross resulting in the second goal, with the right blend of height and pace to reach the back post. His determination to win loose balls and keep the ball in play earnt him plaudits from Jurgen Klopp at the end of the first half. Against a tricky winger in his fellow Dutchman Memphis Depay, Hoever fared well. As for Laurochi, to some he was virtually unknown upon his first start at Tranmere but has kicked on with impressive performances despite potential setbacks. We all feared the worst after he was stretched off against Sevilla at Fenway Park, but the less said about that disgusting challenge the better. Larouchi was an integral part of the under 18’s that won the youth FA Cup. His creativity and work rate going forward have caught the attention of many this pre-season. Although you can question his experience as Andy Robertson’s deputy, between him and Adam Lewis the left back position looks exciting in future for the Reds in years to come.
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On the hour mark Harvey Elliot came into the game. The youngster signed from Fulham less than a week ago and his mixture of pace and dynamism has certainly impressed so far. The 16-year-old terrorised Rafael with his tricky feet and certainly didn’t look out of place in just his second appearance.

3) Wilson: Turning Nothing into Something 

Almost an hour had passed into the game and Harry Wilson had been a ghost on the left-hand side. The 22-year-old struggled to adapt to the momentum shift in the first half but popped up with a magnificent strike to announce himself into the game. ‘The Welsh Wizard’ impressed on loan at Derby last season under Frank Lampard, renowned for his set pieces during his time at Pride Park.
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Wilson is going to need to deliver more consistent performances if he is to be the understudy for Sadio Mane ahead of the new campaign, with the Senegal skipper still yet to return from International Duty Having been with the Reds since age 6 Wilson, like so many others, is living the dream and is hopeful to get first team opportunities if he is Jurgen Klopp’s plans.

4) Lallana in ‘The 6’ Is Definitely a Thing

Having only made 13 appearances last season many thought at the start of the transfer window that Adam Lallana’s days in Red were numbered. The former Southampton captain has had a prolonged period of injuries. Despite being instrumental during Klopp’s first 18 months but has now looked to reinvent himself to stay in this fantastic team. It has been touched on before but Lallana started again as the loan pivot in Klopp’s favoured 4-3-3 system and impressed again.
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Playing sixty minutes Lallana controlled the pace of the game and helped the Red’s take the lead with his discipline and leadership. Lallana is now 31 and has obviously dropped a couple of yards of pace due to his injuries so a new role could be what he needs, but questions still remain of his fitness and reliability as well as whether he can control more psychical league games with his diminutive stature.

5) Harmony in the Squad

If it wasn’t already a well-known fact then it was made even clearer at the start of the second half; Jurgen Klopp has built an exceptional dressing room. The manager gave relaxed and assuring smiles to academy players Lewis and Bobby Duncan as they prepared to come on. While it seemed a small gesture to relieve anxiety at the time it goes to show what Klopp has created here. Every young player that climbs the metaphorical rung of the top ladder to the first team is rightfully treated like they deserve to be there. Klopp has previously been quoted as saying: “When you are already in the club, then the door is always open for you to the first team, the only thing is you have to go through by yourself. We only open the door, we don’t push you through it. “So, I’m open, I’m very open for exciting football players and if the boys show up, good for them and good for us.” Klopp changed the whole side on the hour mark so that all the Swiss fans could see all the start players. During preseason, the first team spend so much time together so it is integral to integrate as a squad which will be so important if the Reds are to add more silverware this season.
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