What we learned from Liverpool against Blackburn as Naby Keita puts on a glove


Finally, after waiting three months, Liverpool is back. The Reds accelerated preparations for the resumption of the Premier League season with a friendly 6-0 victory over the Blackburn Rovers at Anfield on Thursday.

As with the last nine high-level games, it was a closed game. Takumi Minamino signaled his intention to make an impact in the final weeks of the campaign with a goal and an assist.

But what else was verified during a welcome training session for Jurgen Klopp’s players as they prepare for the visit to Everton on June 21?

Keita is clean

Naby Keita didn’t have the simplest career in Liverpool. But it looks like the suspension of the season has given the Guinean time to take stock – and not just shave his head like he did earlier in the lockout.

Appointed to the starting lineup, Keita took advantage of his opportunity, demonstrating a rhythm, quickness of focus and clarity that Blackburn had trouble containing.

A smart comeback left Lewis Travis of Blackburn behind and the quick use of the ball by the midfielder kept Liverpool moving forward.

And then there was his goal, showing his desire to enter the six-meter area and complete the center of Minamino. Klopp will know that Keita has given her food for thought.

The five missing

Mohamed Salah was all smiles at Anfield. Unfortunately for the Reds, it was sitting in the stands.

Salah was one of a group of senior players who were not involved, joining Andy Robertson as a precaution.

They weren’t the only ones. Divock Origi was missing, Adrian was treating an injury while Xherdan Shaqiri still hadn’t kicked a ball in a game since January 11.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hit the ankle but it should be fine, even if Klopp was not satisfied with some tackles from Blackburn.

With an eventful end to the season which means that the rotation will be significant, the boss of the Reds hopes that the problems are not too serious.

Children are fine

The absentees at least allowed a number of Liverpool youths to impress in the second half.

Neco Williams hit the post, Harvey Elliott appeared bright as usual and Ki-Jana Hoever weighed in with a goal.

And all three were involved in preparing for Leighton Clarkson’s lavish strike to complete the emphatic victory, with the teenage midfielder bursting into the surface and showing superb composure to finish.

It may not be the last Anfield to have seen this quartet this season.

Eerie Anfield

Not that there were a lot of people inside the stadium to see it, of course.

All Liverpool games for the foreseeable future will be played behind closed doors, a point which Trent Alexander-Arnold did not lose after the match, given his witty vision.

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It was strange to hear the screams and instructions from the bench – well, the socially distant chairs – and the players’ calls in action.

And while it has little effect on the ground, for everyone watching at home, the “new normal” will take some getting used to.


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