Brendan Rodgers has praised his Liverpool players following Saturday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over HJK in Helsinki. Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho scored the goals as the Reds eased to a fourth pre-season win from five games, a result which the boss feels leaves us in a strong position ahead of our new Premier League campaign.
The Finnish side proved stern opposition for the first hour and looked more than capable of holding their own, despite their lack of possession. However, our dominance ultimately paid off as we found the net twice inside the final twenty minutes.
“I was pleased,” said Rodgers, in quotes taken by our official website. “We were better in the second half than the first. We tried to look at something in the first half. But our fluency was really good in the second half and obviously we scored a couple of really good goals.
“I’m pleased – another good workout for us in the last of our pre-season games abroad,” he continued. “In terms of everything that the players have been through – all the travel around the world – they are in good condition. We still have another week’s good work to do, but we’ll really focus in on that and come Stoke, we’ll be ready.”
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Rodgers has one more pre-season friendly – today’s match with Swindon Town – ahead of our first top flight game of the new season, which comes at the Britannia Stadium next Sunday. The Reds lost 6-1 at the same venue on the final day of last season and will no doubt be eager to make amends.
The Northern Irishman will be encouraged by the performances of Jordon Ibe and the returning Philippe Coutinho in Scandinavia, while substitute Origi also impressed with a fine finish for his goal.
“We said at half-time about getting the ball quicker into our front players and into the sides,” he explained. “Young Jordon Ibe had a great bit of skill to cross and Divock was there to finish, which is nice for strikers to get goals in the box. Coutinho, it’s his side, he cuts in from the left and he’s got a beautiful finish on him.
“It was a good win; we could have had a few more goals but also, importantly, defensively we were strong – Simon [Mignolet] probably had only one save to make. Overall, it was a good night.
“They’re in the process of looking to qualify for the Champions League, they are the top club in Finland, they have got some good players and it was always going to be a good test for us.
“The pitch was beautiful so it was perfect for our game and our fast football. All round, it was a good night for us and we’ll take plenty of positives from the game.”
It will be a very different Liverpool side that take on Swindon this afternoon. New signings Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke are likely to play some part, as are those that didn’t make the trip to Helsinki, including Emre Can, Alberto Moreno and Mamadou Sakho.