For the second time this week, Liverpool named two XI’s for each half in a pre-season friendly as they took on Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
The name that jumped off the team sheet for Liverpool fans was Mohamed Salah. The club’s marquee signing was set to start for the Reds and make his debut, all he needed was a goal to cap it off and boy did he deliver.
Liverpool made a frantic start to proceedings, with Salah himself coupling up with Roberto Firmino to ensue a high-press on the Wigan defence as they struggled to deal with Liverpool’s intensity. However the home side soon found their feet and began to make some headway down the Liverpool flanks.
It was a particularly disappointing evening for Jon Flanagan, as it seemed Wigan had the most joy down his side of defence, though nobody in the back four covered themselves in glory as Wigan seemed to find holes in the line.
The home side made the pressure pay as they took the lead in all-too familiar fashion. Liverpool’s biggest downfall last season was their defence of set-pieces and if they are to rectify that this year, they have their work cut out. A deep free-kick into the Liverpool penalty area ricocheted to the edge of the box and, in all to familiar fashion, the Reds’ defence seemed rooted to the ground as they stood still and watched Alex Gilbey slot the ball past Simon Mignolet.
It could have got worse for Jurgen Klopp’s side but for some good goalkeeping from the Belgian, as he made himself big and prevented the home side taking a two-goal lead.
Liverpool began to find their rhythm once more as Coutinho, Salah, Lallana and Firmino ripped apart the Wigan defence only for the latter to squander a golden chance in trying to walk it in. It seemed a goal was coming.
To the delight of fans, it was £34m man Salah who grabbed it. Some intense pressing from Coutinho and a pinpoint pass to countryman Firmino carved open a chance, with just the ‘keeper to beat the club’s new number 9 unselfishly squared the ball to Salah who tapped into an empty net with the last kick of the half.
The second-half failed to live up to the intensity or the quality of the first-half, with the complete overhaul of Liverpool’s side playing its part in slowing the game down.
READ MORE: Wigan 1-1 Liverpool – The best photos
Liverpool continued to press for a winner, however, and Dejan Lovren went closest to nicking it for the Reds as his header looped towards goal only to shave the post.
Daniel Sturridge squandered a glorious chance late on and James Milner went close, but in the end neither side did enough to win the match.
Next up for Liverpool is their trip to Hong Kong where they take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy where their first opponents are Crystal Palace.