Liverpool 1-0 Mainz: late goal sees Reds beat Bundesliga squad – 5 talking points
A late own goal saw Liverpool defeat Mainz in the Bundesliga in their first 90-minute preseason friendly of the summer.
With two different XIs, a stronger Liverpool side took advantage of the majority of possession in the first half, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain closing in when he saw his effort reversed around the post by keeper Robin Zentner.
Sadio Mane also came close in the first half, but a much younger Liverpool side struggled to create plenty of opportunities in the second half, although teenage striker Kaide Gordon came close.
Goalkeeper Adrian had to be vigilant to reverse a late effort as Mainz improved as the game went on, before Liverpool young full-back Owen Beck’s cross was turned into his own net by Luca Killian for the only goal.
Here are Liverpool’s main talking points of the game.
1. Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate may need to get used to each other
The start of Liverpool’s pre-season was always going to be interesting to see which of the club’s center-backs would come back from last season’s woes.
With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both yet to risk in the half-hour games on Tuesday or here, it was Joel Matip who was the first to return from the infirmary, and he was a partner. of the new boy Ibrahima Konate here.
That’s right, another new partnership at the back for the Reds, but this one seemed to have a bit more quality than last season’s that were often tinkered with.
Konate is clearly a very promising forefoot defender, and combined with Matip’s more relaxed approach, Liverpool were able to get through the first half with confidence.
While question marks remain over Van Dijk and Gomez, it could well be that Matip and Konate start the Premier League season at Norwich.
2. Trent Alexander-Arnold speeds up the comeback
Having missed the European Championships horribly with a thigh injury from a warm-up match, Trent Alexander-Arnold is back in shape – and shooting soon.
Although his most notable offensive contribution was a point blank free kick over the bar, the right-back looked solid heading into his fifth season as a senior player at Anfield.
Well linked to Mohamed Salah and the first three dynamics, Jurgen Kopp will be delighted to see that he will not have to wait for the return of the 22-year-old in great shape, unlike Van Dijk and Gomez.
3. Harvey Elliott shines again in a new position
After impressing in a large attacking role with the Blackburn Rovers championship team last season, Harvey Elliott started again in midfield after playing in the friendly against Stuttgart on Tuesday.
Although in a different mold of Gini Wijnaldum, the 18-year-old could give Klopp some thought to do ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Norwich.
His technical abilities are indisputable, but his tenacity and willingness to get into the ball says more about his attitude on the pitch.
Turning with Naby Keita as the most advanced midfielder, Elliott’s impact during his 45 minutes gave Reds fans more reasons to get excited.
4. Naby Keita’s Nutmeg Builds Confidence
When he was substituted before half-time in the Champions League loss to Real Madrid, many of us wondered if we would see Keita in a Liverpool shirt again, but Klopp is a manager who stays true to his boys.
The Guinean will continue to be offered chances by the Reds boss, and in his last game here he put on a sparkling display in the first half as he appeared to show some of the confidence that his game often lacks.
There was a point where he seemed to take half of the Mainz squad, and if – and yes, that’s a big if – he can take that kind of form in meaningful games, then he’ll always have a future at Anfield.
5. Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino on the sidelines
As Klopp opted to change his full XI at halftime, the big boys came and a herd of youngsters came – along with night captain Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino.
Both were toothless up front during the victory, but of most concern to them personally was the fact that they were part of the clearly weaker Reds squad.
The second half saw both a drop in quality and tempo as Mainz probed and gained confidence.
Curtis Jones looked a lot sharper than his fellow attackers, as did left-back passer Owen Beck, although Origi almost scored the first goal around the hour mark after hanging on to a deep ball. before it was denied by goalkeeper Robin Zentner – and the flag offside.
Due to his more recent arrival, his playing profile and his somewhat promising loan spell at Southampton in the second half of the last term, Minamino can at least take comfort in knowing he might have more chances under Klopp as his Belgian teammate.