A solid if unspectacular performance sees Liverpool record a 1-0 victory over Olympiacos in the International Champions Cup…
Liverpool welcomed back the remainder of their England contingent last night, minus the injured Adam Lallana, as they took on Olympiacos at Soldier Field in Chicago, and it didn’t take long for their presence to pay dividends.
With just five minutes on the clock, Raheem Sterling scored what would be the only goal of the game from close range after latching onto a scuffed shot from Daniel Sturridge.
Alongside captain Steven Gerrard, full-back Glen Johnson and new signing Lazar Markovic, the pair were getting their first taste of pre-season action this summer.
Despite the marked increase in quality provided by the quintet, Liverpool still struggled to assert full control on the contest at times and they were soon indebted to a fine block from Martin Skrtel to prevent Mathieu Dossevi from equalising.
That said, the Reds could easily have found more reward for some positive play going forward, particularly involving the exciting front three of Markovic, Sterling and Sturridge.
The pace and directness of Markovic and Sterling caused the Greeks plenty of trouble with Dimitris Siovas cynically chopping down the club’s £20m Serbian acquisition on one occasion.
Sturridge, later named man of the match, was bright and incisive, producing plenty of intelligent touches to bring others into play.
A sumptuous turn left Gevorg Ghazaryan in his wake but the 24-year-old striker couldn’t round of a fine individual performance with a goal as he fired high and wide.
Elsewhere there was another encouraging 45 minutes for left-back Jose Enrique as the Spaniard steps up recovery from the long-term knee injury that curtailed his involvement last season.
As per usual, a host of changes arrived during half-time and at regular intervals during the second 45 minutes.
Amongst the Liverpool replacements to catch the eye was Brazilian maestro Philippe Coutinho, who went close with a powerful strike from 25-yards.
At the other end Ghazaryan thumped the crossbar with Liverpool keeper Brad Jones beaten, while Dossevi saw an effort deflect agonisingly wide.
Other half chances came and went but the game became increasingly scrappy as time went by.
Joe Allen did nearly add a second for Liverpool at the death, following a lightning counter-attack initiated by a save from Jones and the pace and trickery of Jordan Ibe.
In the other fixture taking place in Pool B of the tournament, two goals from Stevan Jovetic helped Manchester City to a resounding 5-1 demolition of AC Milan.
Liverpool now fly to New York where they will face City at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.
Jones, Johnson (Kelly 62), Skrtel, Toure (Coates 62), Enrique (Robinson 45), Gerrard (Lucas 62), Henderson, Can (Allen 45), Sterling (Ibe 75), Markovic (Coutinho 45), Sturridge (Lambert 75).
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