Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Liverpool: Ings' late strike hands Reds win in opening pre-season clash

Danny Ings' late second-half strike was enough for Liverpool to seal victory in their first pre-season friendly ahead of the 2016-17 season as they beat National League side Tranmere Rovers after a short trip across the Mersey.

Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Liverpool: Ings' late strike hands Reds win in opening pre-season clash
(Picture: This Is Anfield)
Tranmere Rovers
0 1
Liverpool
Tranmere Rovers: 1st half: Karius, Flanagan, Lovren, Matip, Smith, Brannagan, Lucas, Kent, Ejaria, Mane, Firmino. 2nd half: Karius, Randall, Wisdom, Ilori, Moreno, Alexander-Arnold, Stewart, Chirivella, Markovic, Woodburn, Ings.
Liverpool: 1st half: Davies, Vaughan, Ridehalgh, Ihiekwe, McNulty, Harris, S. Jennings, C. Jennings, Stephenson, Kirby, Cook. 2nd half: Turner, Duggan, Sutton, Trialist, Gumbs, Ilesanmi, Hughes, Askew, Maynard, Mekki, Norwood.
SCORE: 0-1, min. 79, Ings.
INCIDENTS: Liverpool's first 2016-17 pre-season friendly against Tranmere Rovers, at Prenton Park, in front of 16,500 spectators.

Danny Ings' late strike was enough to hand Liverpool victory in their first pre-season friendly as they overcame neighbours Tranmere Rovers 1-0 at Prenton Park.

Ings, captaining a youthful Reds side, controlled well and hammered home a shot from inside the area after being set up by Trent Alexander-Arnold with little over 10 minutes remaining.

Jürgen Klopp - who fielded two different teams in each half - saw his side dominate for much of the game, carving out a number of decent opportunities, albeit on a largely unspectacular evening of football.

But barrings Ings' only goal, the German will feel there were plenty of positives to take away from their performance - given that they only begun pre-season training last Saturday.

Mane made his uncompetitive debut against Tranmere on Friday night. (Picture: Getty Images)
Mane made his uncompetitive debut against Tranmere on Friday night. (Picture: Getty Images)

Liverpool handed summer signings Loris Karius, Joel Matip and Sadio Mane their first starts in a red shirt, although midfielder Marko Grujic was absent having had to leave and re-enter the UK due to work permit rules.

Elsewhere, youngsters Ovie Ejaria, Cameron Brannagan and Ryan Kent featured from the off - while of the more experienced players, Jon Flanagan started at right-back with Lucas Leiva and Roberto Firmino taking up places in midfield and the attack respectively.

Kent, Firmino and Mane all go close in the first 45 

A positive start saw the highly-rated Kent go close, goalkeeper Scott Davies forcing to parry his shot before the young winger curled wide. 

Although the returned to training only last Saturday, their intent in the early stages was promising - with Mane in particular impressing against the National League outfit.

Liverpool created an abundance of chances, Brannagan guilty of wasting a decent opportunity before Connor Jennings struck the base of the post for Tranmere with a header. 

The lively Mane sent Firmino through on goal after a well-weighted through ball, but the Brazilian's heavy touch allowed the ball to get away from him allowing Davies to smother.

Klopp made the most of his options, using 21 different players on the evening. (Picture: Getty Images)
Klopp made the most of his options, using 21 different players on the evening. (Picture: Getty Images)

Chances came and went for Liverpool with Firmino in particular having a number of opportunities, but unusually sluggish - he was unable to take advantage.

Mane, one of Liverpool's best performers in the first-half, laid off Kent after a positive run but the teenager didn't pose much of a problem for Davies. 

£30 million Mane, who only signed for the club last week, had one of their best chances as he used his pace to race clear of his marker, but he was denied by Davies' strong stop.

Reds make raft of half-time changes as game slows 

Reds boss Klopp made 10 changes at half-time, introducing 16-year-old Ben Woodburn up front and Alexander-Arnold, just 17 himself, into defence.

With the hosts also making wholesale changes, both sides needing a bedding-in period to get into the game - Lazar Markovic, looking to impress Klopp as he looks for a place in the Reds' first-team squad for 2016-17, wasting two fine chances to put his side ahead.

The Liverpool players celebrate Ings' late breakthrough. (Picture: Getty Images)
The Liverpool players celebrate Ings' late breakthrough. (Picture: Getty Images)

After firing wide from Alexander-Arnold's pulled-back pass from 12 yards out, Markovic could only hit the post from six yards out after Ings' shot was pushed into the Serbian winger's path with the goal at his mercy.

But after Ings' acrobatic overhead kick, from Markovic's back-post cross, went just a few inches wide before the striker also headed wide from Connor Randall's cross.

But Ings, handed the armband after the break, fired the game's winning goal late on by firing beyond Tranmere shotstopper Iain Turner.