Liverpool signed off their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, with Manchester United transfer target Benjamin Sesko grabbing the game’s only goal.
Playing their final match before Saturday’s Community Shield curtain-raiser against Manchester City, the Reds were frustrated by their hosts in the first half and then somehow failed to make the net bulge in the second, despite being presented with a host of chances.
Liverpool had the game’s first chance, with Darwin Nunez leaping high at the back post and nodding Fabio Carvalho’s cross straight into the grateful grasp of Salzburg goalkeeper Nico Mantl.
Not long after Nunez was again the target for a deep cross, but after taking it down well the Uruguayan failed to set his feet and the chance went begging.
Throughout the first half, the Nunez show continued. Next, the Reds’ new signing was slipped through and fired a right-footed shot at goal which clipped the bar on its way over.
Minutes after Fernando missed a sitter for Salzburg, Liverpool were made to paid for this lack of cutting edge when Sesko put their hosts 1-0 up. The highly-rated young forward finished off a fine team move with a composed finish into the bottom corner.
After a slightly flat first half, Liverpool improved significantly after the break, with Curtis Jones seeing a goalbound shot blocked after good work from Harvey Elliott down the right.
Soon after, Luis Diaz was denied when Mantl blocked the forward’s low shot with his legs following a mazy run. Fellow substitute Roberto Firmino also made the goalkeeper work with a bending effort from just inside the box.
Eight minutes from time Liverpool finally had the ball in the back of the net through Diaz – only for the offside flag to be raised on the far side.
Liverpool kept pressing for the equaliser and Trent Alexander-Arnold arrowed a sweetly-struck effort on goal, which again forced Mantl into a good save.
It was not to be in the end for Jurgen Klopp’s side though, with Salzburg holding on for an encouraging win.
Here are your player ratings…
Adrian (GK) – 6/10 – Got a decision to come out wrong early on. Recovered to make some decent stops and high claims.
Isaac Mabaya (RB) – 5/10 – Got forward well at times. Was pretty badly out of position for the opener.
Ibrahima Konate (CB) – 5/10 – Poor decision making in the lead-up to the first goal.
Joe Gomez (CB) – 4/10 – Made a heinous error to present Fernando with a sitter just before Salzburg made it 1-0.
James Milner (LB) – 6/10 – Tenacious display as ever. The best performer in the backline by a distance in the first half.
Naby Keita (CM) – 5/10 – Shuttled up and down, but did not really catch the eye.
Stefan Bajcetic (CM) – 6/10 – Did not look out of his depth in the middle.
Curtis Jones (CM) – 6/10 – Generally pretty safe in possession, but his concentration did lapse at times in the first half.
Harvey Elliott (RF) – 6/10 – Full of energy in his pressing. Took up some nice positions.
Darwin Nunez (ST) – 4/10 – Could not get his feet right when presented with a great chance in the first half. Generally pretty wasteful.
Fabio Carvalho (LF) – 6/10 – Attracted plenty of physical tackles early on. Put in a decent cross or two.
SUB: Tyler Morton (CM) – N/A
SUB: Andy Robertson (LB) – 6/10 – Solid if unspectacular by his own high standards.
SUB: Roberto Firmino (ST) – 7/10 – Added a new dimension to the Reds’ attack. Nearly netted with a cheeky flick.
SUB: Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – 6/10 – Swung in a few excellent deliveries from set pieces and open play.
SUB: Mohamed Salah (RF) – 6/10 – Popped up in the final third a few times but did not get his customary goal.
SUB: Virgil van Dijk (CB) – 7/10 – Composed as ever.
SUB: Joel Matip (CB) – 7/10 – Liverpool’s defensive frailties stopped when he and Van Dijk came on.
SUB: Luis Diaz (LF) – 7/10 – His direct run led to a shot on target shortly after he came on. A real livewire.
SUB: Fabinho (CM) – 6/10 – Added much-needed control in the centre.
SUB: Thiago Alcantara (CM) – 6/10 – Sprayed a few excellent passes.
SUB2: Jordan Henderson (CM) – 6/10