Wednesday 22 August 2018

Familiar front three will lead Liverpool charge

Liverpool 3 Torino 1

Danny Ings celebrates with Xherdan Shaqiri after Liverpool,s third goal third goal, scored by Daniel Sturridge, against Torino at Anfield. Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters
Danny Ings celebrates with Xherdan Shaqiri after Liverpool,s third goal third goal, scored by Daniel Sturridge, against Torino at Anfield. Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters

Chris Bascombe

For all the £170 milion invested on four new arrivals, any Liverpool title challenge will be built on the familiar swagger of their front three.

Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, who struck an extraordinary 91 goals between them last season, looked so finely tuned in their final warm-up game that it will be surprising if they do not go close to a similar tally this time.

Inspired by their swashbucklers, Liverpool were two-up after 24 minutes.

They would have led by more but for debutant Fabinho missing a penalty. The Brazilian never failed in 16 attempts for his former club Monaco, so his strike wide was a rare aberration.

Xherdan Shaqiri takes on Torino’s Alex Berenguer during last night’s match at Anfield. Photo: Nick Potts/PA
Xherdan Shaqiri takes on Torino’s Alex Berenguer during last night’s match at Anfield. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

The spot-kick was earned by Mane, who has been the most eye-catching of all Liverpool's attackers in the warm-up fixtures. The Senegal striker suffered at the start of last season but looks in the right condition to terrorise heading in this one.

Firmino opened the scoring on 21 minutes, feeding off Salah's clever pass and finding the top corner with the help of a deflection.

The Brazilian turned provider for Gini Wijnaldum three minutes later, a slicing through ball after more clever Salah play.

Such vigour upfront has never been in doubt. It is the vulnerabilities at the other end Klopp sought to address when pursuing Virgil Van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson.

Torino reduced the deficit when Lorenzo di Silvestri was given too much space by Alberto Moreno, his cross met by Andrea Belotti.

Then followed the usual flurry of substitutions, ending any chance of a similarly flowing second half, although Xherdan Shaqiri impressed, creating a late third for Daniel Sturridge. (© Daily Telegraph, London).

Irish Independent

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