Liverpool's pre-season got off to the perfect start last night, as goals from James Milner, Marko Grujic, Pedro Chirivella and Ben Woodburn saw them beat Tranmere Rovers by four goals to nil across the River Mersey at Prenton Park.
Liverpool won 1-0 in pre-season there last season, in a fixture that has become an annual event.
Liverpool fielded two separate outfield teams across each of the halves, with captain Jordan Henderson leading the team out in the first period as he made his first appearance for the club since February.
Henderson returns from lengthy lay-off
It was originally expected that Henderson would play before the end of the season as Liverpool fought for the top four, but in the end he succumbed and was unable to return as quickly as first hoped.
The length of the injury only made the return even more significant, as Henderson explained to Liverpool's official website.
“It was nice to back on the pitch and being in front of a crowd with a kit on,” the former Sunderland player said following the game.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time now, all summer really, so it’s good to finally be out on the pitch and playing with the lads,” he added.
Everyone at the club is hoping to push on from finishing in fourth place last season, with a good beginning to the campaign vital. The trip to Watford on the opening day is less than a month away, and Henderson says everyone in the squad is fully aware and focused on the importance of working hard between now and then.
Positive vibes at Anfield
“We’ve got a good set of lads who want to work hard and I’m sure we will work very hard over the next few weeks and we will be ready for the first game of the season,” he explained.
Henderson was happy with the performance of each of the twenty-two players who appeared in the first friendly of the season, although he was keen to state that the result is very much secondary to the preparation value that these matches provide.
“Pre-season is very important for all the lads coming back in from their holidays. We have started really well in training and in the game. It’s a good start for us.
“You give it everything for 45 minutes and give everyone a run-out to try and get fit and get minutes on the pitch and show the manager what they (his teammates) are capable of”.
Henderson will hope to have a less disrupted season this time around, having missed much of last season with various issues.
Liverpool's pre-season continues tomorrow evening at Wigan Athletic before they travel to Hong Kong and Germany, and then Dublin a week before the Premier League restarts.