Good morning everyone! We're not generally used to watching football matches this early, but with Premier League sides jetting abroad for pre-season, games are going on at all hours! Today, we're focusing on Liverpool
's friendly against A-League side Brisbane Roar
in sunny Australia. Well, it won't be sunny for much longer as it's currently 6.15 pm Down Under...
Today's fixture for manager Brendan Rodgers
and his team is the second of their pre-season schedule. The Reds got themselves off to a positive start with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Thailand All-Stars. Unlikely scorer Mamadou Sakho got himself on the scoresheet, as did Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana
and new boy Divock Origi.
Five of Liverpool's summer signings, as well as Origi, made their debuts in Thailand. James Milner
, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Clyne all got minutes on the pitch on Tuesday. The only summer arrival not to make an appearance yet is Roberto Firmino, who was given an extended holiday due to his participation with Brazil in the Copa America. Right, let's have a look who will grace the pitch at the Suncorp Stadium today...
Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Gomez; Henderson, Lucas, Milner; Ings, Lallana; Origi
LIVERPOOL BENCH: Bogdan, Fulton, Toure, Lovren, Lambert, Moreno, Allen, Ibe, Kent, Rossiter, Wisdom, Markovic, Teixeira, Ojo, Wilson, Maguire, Cleary, Chirivella
Well, I think the eye is immediately drawn to the lengthy substitutes bench! We're expecting plenty of changes from Brendan Rodgers
during today's match. In terms of the starting XI, regular faces Simon Mignolet, Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Jordan Henderson, Lucas Leiva and Adam Lallana all feature.
New boys Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez, James Milner, Danny Ings and Divock Origi have another chance to impress the boss following their summer arrivals. Keep in mind that the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can and new signing Roberto Firmino are yet to join up with the squad due to their participation in international competitions. Now, let's have a look at the home side...
BRISBANE ROAR XI:
Young; Hingert, Donachie, North, Stefanutto; Lustica, Brattan, Broich; Petratos, Maclaren, Borrello
BRISBANE ROAR BENCH: Brown, Polenz, Clut, Brady, Theodore, Pavlou, Hore, Crickmore
The big news for the A-League side is that Jamie Maclaren makes his debut at the Suncorp Stadium, while experienced trio Matt McKay, Michael Theo and Luke DeVere are all unavailable.
Premier League opposition they are not, but Brisbane Roar are expected to contribute to a more competitive game compared to what Liverpool faced in Thailand. The Reds are yet to be properly tested in pre-season, and despite the result being meaningless, it will be interesting to see how they perform against the A-League side.
Arguably, the majority of headlines surrounding Liverpool of late have been about matters off the pitch. Raheem Sterling completed a £49m move to Manchester City earlier this week, and while most of us saw it coming, it's still a big blow for Liverpool to lose one of their star players. The pressure is on for this new-look team to hit the ground running, especially since they no longer have their talisman Steven Gerrard to lean on.
One thing that is reportedly trying to be addressed is the club's need for a proven goalscorer. With Daniel Sturridge not expected to be fighting fit until October, the Reds have limited options up front. Well, not in terms of numbers... Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini remain on their books for now, but none of them have done enough to warrant a starting spot for the season ahead. New arrival Danny Ings will fight for a place, but many have suggested that the ex-Burnley man will begin his Liverpool career as a substitute rather than a starter.
Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke is believed to be the Premier League club's top target, and reports on Thursday claimed that the Belgian's £32.5m release clause
has been triggered by the Merseyside outfit. Initial reports stated that Liverpool were unwilling to match that fee, but it appears that following the sale of Sterling, the club have fronted up the cash. Whether Benteke actually makes the move to Anfield remains to be seen.
Aside from the transfer gossip, Liverpool launched their new away kit on Thursday. To mark the occasion, club legend Robbie Fowler jumped out of a plane
. Yes, really. But don't worry, he had a parachute on! Liverpool tweeted a picture of the New Balance strip - what do you think?
PREDICTION: With less than five minutes to go until kickoff, it's time for a score prediction. As we all know, the result is not a priority at this stage, but every fan wants to see their team get a result! On paper, Liverpool have more experience and better quality players, but at this stage of pre-season, anything can happen. Here at Sports Mole, we think that the Premier League outfit will have too much for their A-League opponents. Let's go for a 2-0 win for the Reds.
The teams are on their way to the tunnel and should be out on the pitch at any moment. In contrast to Tuesday's stifling humidity in Bangkok, Liverpool face a chilly evening in Brisbane today. They'll be more used to that!
Here they come! The players emerge onto the field to a huge round of applause from the crowd at the Suncorp Stadium. 'You'll Never Walk Alone' rings around the ground. Kickoff is moments away...
KICKOFF! Liverpool, wearing their new white away kit, get us underway.
In these early stages, Brisbane are proving that this will be a bigger test than Liverpool have had so far. The men in orange are pressing with the ball and closing down their opponents when they're not in possession.
Milner tries his luck from the edge of the area. The former Manchester City man moves into space and tries to curl the ball with his right foot towards goal, but his effort just trickles wide.
Some shaky moments from Sakho in these early stages of the half. The French defender gives the ball away twice in quick succession in his own box. One mistake allowed Maclaren to set himself up for a shot, but Mignolet covers well. Sakho will need to show more composure if he wants to earn a regular spot in the Liverpool team.
A lovely pass from Clyne on the edge of the area plays in Lallana, who is one on one with the keeper, but as the midfielder unleashes a shot, the linesman flags the England international offside.
Liverpool have a decent spell of pressure in Brisbane's half, but the attack comes to an end when Lallana receives the ball from Milner and sets off a long-range effort, which he aims to dip into the top left corner, but the ball flies over the crossbar.
Brattan starts off a counter attack for Brisbane and he eventually receives the ball back in the middle of the park. He attempts to fizz the ball through, but none of his teammates track it and the ball bobbles to Mignolet.
Skrtel picks up a loose ball, which finds Ings. The ex-Burnley man tries to flick it on for Origi, but it goes wayward and ends up back in Brisbane's possession.
A decent move for Liverpool comes from Sakho as he plays the ball out from the back towards Lallana, who can break free into the final third. The England star plays a cross looking for the head of Origi, but Brisbane are able to clear.
As expected, it's a much more competitive display in Australia. Both sides have shown attacking intent, but as of yet, neither goalkeeper has been troubled.
Lustica and Broich link up well as they try to weave into the box to get a shot at goal. However, Skrtel does enough to put pressure on his opponents and the defender cuts out a shot. It's been a good spell of pressure from the hosts.
GOAL! Brisbane Roar 1-0 Liverpool (Petratos)
Well, that spell of pressure definitely paid off for Brisbane! Petratos opens the scoring after receiving the ball on the edge of the area. The goalscorer is in acres of space, and despite Skrtel and Sakho trying to close him down, the Roar player slots home with a low shot past Mignolet and into the bottom right corner.
CHANCE! Liverpool try to respond by filling Brisbane's half. Gomez cuts away and sends a cross into the box, which finds Ings, but he's under slight pressure from the Brisbane defender and he knocks the ball over the bar.
Lallana and Hingert tussle on the left side of the field. The Liverpool man drives to the byline, but the final touch comes off Lallana and it's a goal kick, much to the annoyance of the fans.
Gomez does well to bring the ball down and send it low towards Ings, who gets in a strong position just outside of the six-yard box, but Hingert does enough to put him off balance and the keeper is quick off his line to gather the ball.
SAVE! Ings comes close to grabbing the equaliser with a right-footed shot. As he falls to ground, he tries to curl the ball round the defender, which he manages to do, but Young dives to his right to prevent the goal.
Liverpool are on top now as they try to respond to going a goal down. There's been some decent balls into the box, but they're just lacking that clinical edge at the moment.
GOAL! Brisbane Roar 1-1 Liverpool (Lallana)
It was coming! Lallana scores his second pre-season goal after receiving the ball on the corner of the box from Milner. He cuts inside from his marker and it's a great finish as the ball dips into the top right corner. We're all square!
CLOSE! Well, Brisbane were inches away from almost immediately taking the lead once again. Petratos finds himself in a central position just outside of the area. He goes for glory, but the ball soars just over the crossbar.
Despite that effort from Petratos, it's Liverpool who are taking control of this match. They've raised their game since finding the equaliser and look a lot sharper. It's a good start to the game from Gomez and the teenager seems to be full of confidence as he goes for a long-range effort, which soars into the stands.
Origi turns with the ball and runs towards goal before laying it forward to Ings, who gets into space, but the pass is too short and the ball gets cleared. Seconds later, Origi's involved again, but it's scrappy in the box and he can't quite find his feet to get a meaningful shot on.
Ings comes close again as he's left unmarked in the box when Milner's cross comes in, but the pace of the ball just gets away from him the keeper comes out to gather.
A perfect ball forward from Maclaren searches for Borrello, but Gomez stands firm and is able to muscle his opponent out and the ball trickles out for a throw. It's been an impressive performance from the teenager so far.
Brisbane have some time on the ball as they comfortably knock it around the back, but they lose concentration as Milner closes Donachie down and the hosts lose possession. Thankfully for Donachie though, he's able to eventually win the ball back.
CHANCE! Some impressive movement from Brisbane as Borello is played through the middle. He manages to get a low shot towards goal, but Mignolet drops to his left to make a regulation save.
OFF THE LINE! Liverpool get the first corner of the match as Brisbane clear from a low Clyne drive at goal. Milner whips it into the box and finds the head of Sakho, who pretty much gets a free jump, but Brattan is able to head off the line.
A decent turn from Milner in the box ends in North coming over to clear for a corner. Milner plays it short to Clyne, who whips it into the box, but no Liverpool player can latch onto it.
HALF-TIME: Brisbane Roar 1-1 Liverpool
Well, for a pre-season friendly, there's been a rather competitive edge to it at the Suncorp Stadium. The teams have one goal apiece at the break, and it's a fair result so far with both showing attacking intent in the first 45 minutes. It's been more of a test for Liverpool than their friendly against Thailand All-Stars on Tuesday, but as the game progressed they managed to gain more control.
opened the scoring for the hosts, but Adam Lallana managed to equalise shortly afterwards. Both sides have avoided the long balls and are putting on a decent display for the fans with quick passing and movement. In terms of the attacking players for Liverpool, both Ings and Origi have looked impressive by getting into important areas and they've had a good understanding between them, but so far, that final touch has been missing.
Young Gomez has particularly impressed and looks very comfortable in his role at the back. It's early days of course, but you would expect the 18-year-old to be vying for a first-team spot this season. As we gear up for the second half, expect many changes, especially from the Liverpool bench as Rodgers has everyone on board apart from Joe Allen.
The second half will be underway shortly. How do you see it going? Considering the way Liverpool ended the first half, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Reds go on to win. Both sets of players have now returned to the pitch. It doesn't look like there's been any changes from Liverpool's starting XI.
RESTART! Brisbane get the second half underway...
Henderson plays the ball out wide to Origi, who goes one on one with North. The Brisbane skipper ends up bringing down the Liverpool forward to break his run and gives away a free kick.
Henderson takes the set piece and as it drives into the box, Milner gets a touch on the ball, but it's knocked back out of danger. Eventually, the Liverpool skipper finds the ball at his feet, but a deflection takes the sting out of his shot and keeper is able to gather with ease.
The intensity is missing slightly for the hosts as they struggle to get the ball off Liverpool. The visitors end up with a corner, which is taken short by Milner. He sends the ball to Gomez, who plays it back to his teammate. Milner tries to send a low right-footed shot into the back of the net, but Skrtel clips it and sends it behind the line.
Lallana loses the ball to Petratos, but he squanders the chance to launch a break by misplacing his pass and giving the ball away to Gomez. It's not been the fiercest start to the second half, but Liverpool look in control.
Some decent link-up play between Milner and Lallana results in the former sending a low pass forward for Ings, but his marker tracks him well as he reads the pass and cuts it out before Ings can get a foot on the ball.
BRISBANE SUB: The hosts make a change as Brattan makes way for Clut. No substitutions as yet for Liverpool.
Lallana looks for Ings in the box and he tries to cushion the header down for Milner, but the ball gets smothered. Ings gets another chance seconds later, although they should have conceded a free kick after a tackle from Milner. The forward goes for glory, but the ball skyrockets into the stands.
LIVERPOOL SUBS: The Reds make a number of changes as Ibe, Toure, Kent and Maguire come on, replacing Lallana, Origi, Gomez and Sakho.
SAVE! Henderson comes close to giving his side the lead when he latches onto the ball from Ings in the centre of the box. He sorts his feet out and sends a low shot towards the bottom right corner, but Young drops down to save.
CHANCE! Clut wheels away to begin his goal celebration before realising that his effort just missed. He launches an impressive long-range shot and it dips towards the top left corner, but not enough to hit the back of the net.
Ibe does well to get away from his marker and drop into the middle of the part to send the ball out wide right to Kent, but the youngster has a moment to forget as his first touch results in the ball dropping out of play.
Ibe's not far away with his effort as he cuts to his right and tries to whip the ball round the keeper and into the back of the net, but it just misses the target.
LIVERPOOL SUB: It's the end of Lucas's shift as he makes way for young Rossiter.
Broich tries his force his way through the box by heading the ball over the top and chasing it down, but Toure is able to get there first and clear the danger.
BRISBANE SUBS: The home side ring the changes as Broich makes way for Yango, Hingert comes off for Bowles and Pavlou replaces Borrello.
GOAL! Brisbane Roar 1-2 Liverpool (Milner)
After a scrappy passage of play, Milner gets the crowd going by finding his first goal for the Reds. The midfielder nutmegs the defender and sets himself up for a shot, but he's falling as he takes it and the ball deflects off a Brisbane player and goes over the keeper and into the net.
LIVERPOOL SUB: Lambert has a chance to impress as he comes onto the pitch to replace Ings.
After Liverpool take the lead, Brisbane try to respond as Clut attempts to hammer the ball through, but it gets blocked by Clyne and goes out for a corner. The ball gets whipped in, but they fail to make the most of it and Mignolet collects.
SAVE! Some lovely skill from Ibe as he breaks free and goes one on one with the defender. The Liverpool youngster is able to fend off another orange shirt and goes for the shot, but Young makes the save.
Kent tries to make things happen by injecting some pace and he sends the ball across to Ibe, who cuts into the box and goes for goal, but his effort takes a wide deflection. Milner whips in the corner, but it comes to nothing for the Reds.
Brisbane have a spell of possession as they knock the ball across the back. It's eventually fed through to Yango, who tries to burst into the box, but Toure uses his strength to clear.
It seems as though both teams are happy to knock the ball around as we reach the closing minutes of the game. It's not been the best workout for Mignolet, he's had nothing to do in this second half!
Lambert receives the ball on the edge of the area and thumps it towards goal, but it bounces off a Brisbane defender. Rossiter is there for the follow-up shot and it's a sweet strike, but it goes straight into the hands of Young.
BRISBANE SUB: The hosts make a final change as Petratos makes way for Hore. There's only two minutes left for Brisbane to affect the outcome of this game.
FULL-TIME: Brisbane Roar 1-2 Liverpool
So, that's two wins out of two for Liverpool in their pre-season schedule. The visitors were on the backfoot in the first half following a goal from Brisbane Roar's Dimitri Petratos, but the Reds responded with strikes from Adam Lallana and James Milner. Liverpool's next friendly is against Adelaide United on Monday. Thank you for joining us, and until next time, goodbye!