LIVERPOOL 4 - BARCELONA 0
Mané exposes Barça’s defensive woes as Liverpool run amok
New signing Sadio Mané scored one goal and made another as Liverpool slickly defeated Barcelona 4-0 in a one-sided friendly match at a sun-soaked Wembley on Saturday.
Mané shines at Wembley
New signing Sadio Mané scored one goal and set up another as Liverpool slickly defeated Barcelona 4-0 in a one-sided friendly match at a sun-soaked Wembley on Saturday.
A 34 million pounds ($44.5 million, 40.1 million euros) capture from Southampton, Mané struck a 15th-minute opener and then supplied the cross from which ex-Liverpool player Javier Mascherano turned the ball into his own net.
Divock Origi rifled in a third seconds later and substitute Marko Grujic chipped in with a looping, stoppage-time header as Jürgen Klopp's side registered their sixth win in eight pre-season games.
“I'm happy with the result and with a lot of the game. I would say 98 per cent of what happened today was really great,' said Klopp, who lost James Milner to a first-half heel injury. “I don't want to over-estimate this game; Barcelona were not bad, they are never bad but it's still good for us. We didn't think that we were lower than Barcelona before the game and we don't think that we're higher than them after the game”.
Liverpool face Mainz, one of Klopp's former clubs, in a friendly in Germany on Sunday before tackling Arsenal in their Premier League opener next weekend. Barcelona's defeat means that Paris Saint-Germain won the International Champions Cup friendly tournament for the second year running.
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique was without Neymar, who is on duty with hosts Brazil at the Olympics, but had Spanish internationals Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta and Gerard Piqué back, as well as first choice strike pair Luis Suárez and Leo Messi, the latter striking the post in the first half.
Barca play Sampdoria at the Camp Nou in their final pre-season curtain raiser on Wednesday and face Sevilla in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup on 14 August. “From the beginning we saw two teams with completely different rhythms,' said coach Luis Enrique after the game. “It was definitely not our best day. But there's enough days for us to prepare and there's no doubt we'll be competitive”.
The glamour game drew 89,845 spectators to Wembley - the stadium's second-highest ever attendance - and it was Liverpool's fans, comfortably in the majority, who went home with smiles on their faces. With seven friendly matches behind them to Barcelona's two, Liverpool were the sharper team and they took the lead with a slick goal.
After winning possession on halfway, Adam Lallana surged forward and exchanged passes with Roberto Firmino before teeing up Mané, whose fierce shot beat goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen.
Liverpool had to weather a succession of Barcelona chances before half-time. Suárez, facing his former club for the first time, played in Messi to roll a shot against the right-hand post, while Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved from Arda Turan and Suárez. Milner, who announced his England retirement on Friday, was again deployed at left-back for Liverpool, but had to give way to Alberto Moreno before half-time. Klopp said he would undergo a scan on Sunday.
Within three minutes of the restart, the game was as good as over. In the 47th minute, Origi's flick released Mané and his low cross from the right was bundled into the net by Mascherano. Barely a minute later, Kevin Stewart caught Jérémy Mathieu dawdling on the ball and freed fellow half-time substitute Origi, who coolly beat Barcelona keeper Claudio Bravo, on for Ter Stegen.
Grujic, who signed from Red Star Belgrade in January, put the cherry on the cake in added time, meeting fellow Serbian Lazar Markovic's scooped pass with a fine header that looped over Bravo.
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