Liverpool demolished Barcelona as they claimed a hugely impressive 4-0 win in the International Champions Cup ahead of next week’s Premier League opener.
Sadio Mane was the standout performer for Jurgen Klopp’s side as they thumped the Spanish champions at Wembley Stadium, with the new summer signing from Southampton scoring the opener for the Reds.
Javier Mascherano netted an unfortunate own goal against his former club just moments into the second half, with Divock Origi adding a third 29 seconds after as Barcelona struggled to cope with Liverpool’s high-pressing game.
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Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez found it difficult to make much of an impression, with Liverpool the ones pressing hard and attacking at will. And just as it looked like things couldn’t get any better Marko Grujic also found the net in stoppage time as Liverpool received a timely confidence boost ahead of next week’s Premier League opener against Arsenal.
TALKING POINT - Have Liverpool bought better than they have been given credit for?
Coming into the new season Liverpool’s summer signings have been placed under scrutiny, with some claiming that they cannot measure up to their rivals. But has Klopp bought better than he has been given credit for? Both Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum impressed against Barcelona as Liverpool made light work of the Spanish champions. Klopp has built his team shrewdly over the summer.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Sadio Mane
Barcelona couldn’t cope with the threat of Liverpool’s summer signing from Southampton, with Mane scoring the opener and setting up the Reds’ second of the match. Aleix Vidal had a torrid time against the attacker, supporting the view that Mane could be one of the most important players for Klopp at Anfield this season. He could be their different-maker.
PLAYER RATINGS
Liverpool - Mignolet 7, Clyne 7, Lovren 8, Klavan 7, Milner 6, Can 7, Wijnaldum 8, Lallana 8, Coutinho 7, Firmino 7, Mane 9. Subs - Henderson 7, Grujic 7, Moreno 6, Origi 7, Ings 5, Stewart 7, Markovic 5.
Barcelona - Ter Stegen 5, Sergio 5, Denis 6, Turan 5, Suarez 6, Messi 5, Camara 5, Mascherano 5, Munir 5, Vidal 4, Mathieu 5. Subs - Bravo 5, Pique 5, Rakitic 6, Mujica 5, Alberto 6.
KEY MOMENTS
4’ CHANCE FOR LIVERPOOL! The Reds have started the better of the two sides and with their first shot on goal Wijnaldum volleys over the bar after controlling a cross on his chest.
15’ GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Barcelona: What an exceptional goal! Mane scores his first Liverpool goal, smashing a finish high into the net after some nice passing from Lallana and Firmino.
25’ OFF THE POST! Having done nothing up until this point Messi rattles the far post after beating Mignolet with a low shot across goal. Some really nice passing play to set up the chance.
32’ MIGNOLET MAKES THE STOP! Suarez shoots at goal, with his effort picking up a deflection, but the keeper makes the save and Milner is on hand to deal with the rebound.
35’ COUTINHO BLASTS OVER! The Brazilian playmaker bursts in behind the Barcelona backline, cuts inside to take the shot but gets it all wrong and fires well over the target.
42’ SUAREZ OPPORTUNITY! The striker controls a cross into the box, losing his marker, but Mignolet does well to close the angle and make the save to keep Liverpool 1-0 ahead.
47’ GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Barcelona: Henderson has scored with his first involvement! Mane is the one who does the damage, cutting back for the midfielder who bundles home the finish.
49’ GOAL! Liverpool 3-0 Barcelona: There's a third goal and a second one within just two minutes. This time Origi is sent through on goal and the Belgian makes no mistake in finishing past Bravo.
54’ FIRMINO SHOULD HAVE SCORED! Moreno set the Brazilian attacker through on goal, but he could only send his side-footed shot past the far post when he should have found the net.
71’ MANE COMES CLOSE! The new signing from Southampton has been excellent this evening, and this time he curls a shot just past the Barcelona post. He looks dangerous every time he gets the ball!
92’ GOAL! Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona: What a magnificent way to end things! Lallana plays a wonderful little chipped pass for Grujic to send a looping header over Bravo and into the far corner. Great goal!
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