Liverpool scored two of their three goals from corner kicks with three attacking players finding the back of the net as Liverpool beat SV Darmstadt 98 3-1 in the final preseason match Monday evening at Deepdale Stadium. Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz all found the back of the net with Dominik Szoboszlai providing a pair of assists from the corner flag.
Diogo Jota nearly scored in the third minute after a turnover, but he put the shot high. After earning a corner in the 5th minute, Dominik Szoboszlai delivered a ball back post to Mohamed Salah for an easy tap in and a 1-0 Liverpool lead.
Salah was involved in the next goal as he used high pressure to steal a pass and squared the ball to Jota in the box for a straight-on strike and a 2-0 Reds lead inside of 8 minutes. Darmstadt pulled a goal back just two minutes later as Liverpool were caught out on a counterattack. Mathias Honsak scored an unassisted tally to cut the Darmstadt deficit to 2-1.
Jota nearly scored again in the 24th minute as he got the ball right in front goal, but he couldn't get the ball out from underneath his feet for a shot. Szoboszlai then forced a save in the 27th minute. Cody Gakpo put another shot on target near the half-hour mark, but the attempt was palmed away. Gakpo also tried the keeper moments later but his shot went high and wide.
Luis Diaz also put a shot high in the 37th minute and the Reds kept the pressure on, earning a pair of quick corners. After Darmstadt cleared the danger, Alexis Mac Allister tried his luck from distance in the 42nd minute, missing just wide. Darmstadt earned a freekick in the first half stoppage time, but the danger was cleared as Liverpool held a 2-1 lead at the half.
After a giveaway by Liverpool, Darmstadt nearly scored on a scramble in front of goal, but Alisson came off his line to cut off the angle and push the ball away. Liverpool began to control possession. In the 58th minute, the Reds used a set piece to set up a goal. Szoboszlai delivered another strong corner, this time to the head of Luis Diaz, who nodded the ball home for a 3-1 Liverpool lead.
After coming on as a substitute, Darwin Núñez nearly scored on his first touch of the game, but the save was made in the 62nd minute. Youngster Ben Doak was impressive over the next stretch as he was able to dance around defenders in tight spaces, but he could not connect on passes in the final third to set up another goal.
Another clever touch from Doak set up another corner in the 84th minute. A nice delivery from Kostas Tsimikas fell to Núñez, but his shot was saved and the rebound from Joe Gomez was cleared off the line by a defender. The Reds were able to see out the final handful of minutes to seal the 3-1 win.
Successful Set Pieces
Traditionally, Liverpool have been strong from set pieces but struggled to finish a season ago. That problem seems to have been solved at least in the preseason. Liverpool have scored several goals from corner kicks, including the two goals today. Most of these services have come from the boot of Szoboszlai who has turned into a weapon both from those set pieces and the run of play.
Even though Darmstadt kept the scoreline close (2-1) for most of the match, It never felt as if Liverpool were never in danger of losing this one. That's because they dominated play from almost the opening whistle. The Reds held 68 per cent of possession, unleashed 27 shots, putting 10 on goal and the defence held Darmstadt to only two shots the entire 90 minutes.
Stretching Your Legs
For the first time all preseason, most of the Starting XI played well into the second half. The first subs did not come on until the hour mark and most starters got 75 minutes on the pitch in preparation for going a full 90 for the Premier League opener vs. Chelsea on August 13th.
LFC Globe Verdict
If this match had continued the way it had started with three goals inside the first 10 minutes, I don't know if the scoreboard at Deepdale could have kept pace. Fortunately, the match settled into a more measured flow the rest of the way. Liverpool certainly won't be happy for getting caught out on the goal they conceded, but, as stated above, they dominated the match in a fashion that will satisfy supporters that they are more than prepared to face Chelsea.
Man Of The Match
There are several candidates. Mo Salah with his goal and assist and Ben Doak with his Houdini-like moves with the ball to work into open spaces. For me though, the honour goes to Szoboszlai. Liverpool had 9 corners and while they scored on two of them, the Reds had several more near misses thanks to his quality services into the box.
Now the real football begins. Liverpool will travel to Chelsea on August 13th to begin EPL play. Kickoff is set for 16:30 BST from Stanford Bridge
- Mohamed Salah 5'
- Diogo Jota 8'
- Luis Diaz 59'
- Mathias Honsak 10'
- Ben Doak for Mohamed Salah 60'
- Kostas Tsimikas for Andy Robertson 60'
- Joel Matip for Ibrahima Konate 60'
- Darwin Núñez for Diogo Jota 61'
- Harvey Elliott for Dominik Szoboszlai 61'
- Joe Gomez for Virgil van Dijk 61'
- Curtis Jones for Trent Alexander-Arnold 74'
- Callum Scanlon for Luis Diaz 74'
- James McConnell for Cody Gakpo 74'
- Jarell Quansah for Alexis Mac Allister 74'
- Matej Maglica for Christoph Zimmerman HT'
- Philip Stojilkovic for Mathias Honsak HT'
- Fabian Schnellhardt for Braydon Manu HT'
- Oscar Wilhelmsson for Fraser Hornby HT'
- Andreas Muller for Emir Karick 68'
- Thomas Poppler Isherwood for Clemens Riedel 68'
- Jannick Muller for Fabian Holland 68'
- Frank Ronstadt for Christoph Klarer 68'
- Alexander Brunst-Zollner for Macel Chuhen 68'
- Fabio Torsiello for Marvin Mhlem 85'