Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool romped home to a very impressive 5-0 win over Napoli in Dublin in their penultimate pre-season fixture. The Reds dominated from start to finish to see out their biggest pre-season win since beating Chester 7-0 in the first friendly of the summer.
James Milner opened the scoring inside three minutes as Alisson’s long pass and a high press set up the midfielder to rifle into the roof of the net. Georgino Wijnaldum joined him soon after with a smart header to make it 2-0 before the clock had reached double digits.
Mohamed Salah got in on the act with a composed curling effort into the top corner and then Daniel Sturridge pounced on a loose ball to slot into the back of the net. There was even a goal for Alberto Moreno as the Spaniard burst down the flank into space and smashed the ball home.
Here’s what can be learnt from the tie…
Alisson is what Liverpool need
Albeit with a provisional shirt number, Alisson Becker made his Liverpool debut against Napoli and will be content to have seen it out with a clean sheet and a strong display. The Brazilian looked a little nervous at times, with a capable of snatched catches and fumbles, but did not make any major mistakes.
One aspect where he did shine was with his distribution, with his long ball down the wing to Mohamed Salah starting the move which led to the first goal. Such distribution is just what Jurgen Klopp has been desperate to add to his team.
Shaqiri could play centrally
As expected, new signing Xherdan Shaqiri started on the bench against Napoli and was not introduced until half-time when he came on for Roberto Firmino, only a week after the Brazilian joined the squad for training. Many expected that he would switch with Salah or Mane to play in a wide role but instead he took up Firmino’s deeper central position.
Linking up well with his team-mates on either flank, Shaqiri showed one reason why Liverpool may be reluctant to move for Nabil Fekir with the Swiss international proving to be a capable alternative. He was fundamental in many of the Reds’ key attacking moves in the second period.
Salah is ready to go again
After a devastating end to his 2017/18 season, Mohamed Salah struggled with fitness and poor quality team-mates at the World Cup. In pre-season though, he’s shown that he’s prepared to bounce back to his best. His pinpoint strike for Liverpool’s third goal showed the kind of finishing that we have come to expect from the Egyptian.
Prolific last season, it may be a tough ask for him to maintain such high levels of performance and return such impressive statistics for a second campaign running. The early signs, though, suggest that it won’t be a problem.