Premier League side claim victory on the Fylde CoastFleetwood Town’s first pre-season friendly ended in a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Highbury Stadium on Wednesday evening, after strikes from Marko Grujic, Ben Woodburn, Lucas and Roberto Firmino (x2).
Grujic initially opened the scoring early in the first-half, as strikes from Woodburn, Lucas and Firmino later followed after the break.
Jimmy Ryan captained the Cod Army against his boyhood club, as manager Steven Pressley handed out debuts to his new Town signings, goalkeeper Chris Neal and defender Ashley Eastman.
Pressley’s Liverpool counterpart, Jurgen Klopp, fielded a strong line-up for the Reds’ visit to the Fylde Coast, which included John Flanagan, Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren, Danny Ings, and new signing Sadio Mane.
Basked in the Lancashire sunshine, it would Liverpool who engineered the opening chance of the encounter after four minutes, as Flanagan’s cross from the right was connected to by Grujic’s header that went off target.
With 11 minutes played, the Premier League outfit were awarded a penalty after Akil Wright brought down Grujic. Up-stepped Ings for the resulting penalty, though Neal was equal to the spot-kick
Klopp’s side broke the deadlock after 18 minutes, courtesy of debutant Grujic, who allowed Moreno’s low cross from the left run across his body, before arrowing his strike which deflected beyond Neal.
Liverpool then had two goal-scoring opportunities in quick succession, the industrious Grujic rattled the post from a tight angle, prior to Neal coming to Fleetwood’s rescue when he kept out Lovren’s downward header from Moreno’s floating cross.
As the interval approached, Fleetwood looked to threaten the Merseysiders’ defence, but following some positive build-up play, Ryan could only curl his attempt over Loris Karius’ crossbar and into the Percy Ronson stand.
David Ball then did well to manoeuvre space in the penalty area, however his cut-back from the left evaded strike partner Bobby Grant.
Both sides started the second-half with entirely contrasting starting XI’s, and Liverpool doubled their advantage six-minutes after the break. Teenager Woodburn diverted Ryan Kent’s drilled cross into an empty net.
Substitute goalkeeper Alex Cairns, who was another player to make his debut, and he was called into action ten minutes after the beak to smarty tip Woodburn’s bending effort into the far corner.
Up the other end, Town’s inaugural chance of the half came through new signing Elliot Osbourne just after the hour-mark, with Adam Bogdan holding on firmly to deny a well struck shot from inside the area.
Liverpool soon had their third after 69 minutes – Lucas got his name on the score-sheet, after converting a low finish from a cross. Firmino swiftly earned a fourth goal for the visitors two-minutes later, when he reacted first to a rebound to extend the lead.
In the dying embers of the match, Brazil star Firmino tapped home a low cross to complete the win. Even though the result didn't go Fleetwood's way, it was a solid first 90 minutes for Pressley's men against strong top flight opposition. Next up for Fleetwood is a trip to Salford City on Saturday, 3pm kick-off.