Danny Ings and Ben Woodburn's goals give Liverpool easy 2-0 pre-season win over Wigan Athletic

Danny Ings and Ben Woodburn's goals give Liverpool easy 2-0 pre-season win over Wigan Athletic
(Photo: Jonathan Walsh / VAVEL)
Wigan Athletic
0 2
Liverpool
Wigan Athletic: Nicholls, Taylor, Gilbey (Burn, min. 78), Morsey, Odelusi (Barrigan, min. 78), Flores (Davies, min. 69), Chow, Colclough (Gregory, min. 88), Pearce, Wildschut (Lang, min. 88), Hendry.
Liverpool: 1st half: Karius, Randall, Matip, Lovren, Flanagan, Ejaria, Stewart, Brannagan, Mane, Coutinho, Firmino. 2nd half: Karius, Wisdom, Matip, Ilori, Randall, Lucas, Alexander-Arnold, Markovic, Woodburn, Kent, Ings.
SCORE: 0-1, min. 71, Ings. 0-2, min. 74, Woodburn.

FT: Three friendlies done, three friendlies won. From 1-0, to 5-0, to 2-0 today - it's been a valuable pre-season programme for Liverpool. Their test was stepped up again this afternoon but they overcame it well. Philippe Coutinho hit the woodwork twice in the first-half but it was Danny Ings and Ben Woodburn who scored the goals to give Klopp's men a deserved win. The game was blighted by Joel Matip's potential injury, the centre-back having discussions with the club's medical team before going off down the tunnel. A gutting blow if that turns out to be serious. For now, though, that's all we've got. Thanks for joining us today, for Liverpool's simple win over their Championship opposition. Next up for the Reds, Huddersfield Town on Wednesday. Thanks again for joining us, Ollie Emmerson and Charlie Malam, and we'll have plenty more content throughout the club's pre-season schedule. Until then, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

FT: Wigan Athletic 0-2 Liverpool (Ings, Woodburn).

89' Worrying moment for Liverpool. Matip leaves the pitch, reducing them to 10 men, with Lucas forced to step into the heart of defence. With Mamadou Sakho and Joe Gomez both out injured, both potentially for as long as four weeks (meaning they'd miss the start of the season), they'll hope Matip's problem is nothing serious.

87' More Wigan changes: Wildschut and Colclough make way to be replaced by Gregory and Lang.

86' Ings has a gilt-edged chance to wrap up the scores at the near post but he fires right at Nicholls who does well to palm the ball clear of danger.

85' Wildschut beats Matip and drives at goal but as he tries to pick out Barrigan ahead of him, he plays it straight into Randall's heels and the counter is cut short.

84' Time running out as Liverpool move the ball across the pitch supremely. Ings, however, can't wriggle free of Morsy's clutches.

83' Matip ushers Davies away from the ball from inside the six-yard box. The Cameroonian has rarely been forced to move out of second gear so far today.

82' Chow has an effort after being picked out by Colclough, but he rushes it and it's a simple save for Karius to make.

80' Kent thinks he's in on goal after a shot deflects into his path, but as he drags his shot wide of the far post - he's perhaps harshly penalised for a handball to bring the ball under control.

79' More subs for Wigan: Barrigan and Burn replacing Odelusi and Gilbey.

78' Did you know? Woodburn only finished school two weeks ago, and now he's one of Liverpool's stand-out pre-season performers. He'll be hoping to play himself on to the plane for the tour of the United States at this rate.

77' Liverpool in full flow now as Ings almost feeds Alexander-Arnold on a positive run into the middle of the box. From the corner, Ings can't do anything with his header before Lucas' curled strike from the edge of the area is blocked.

76' Woodburn comes close to firing a third from a tight angle. The striker making a real impression in pre-season so far. Liverpool coaches and supporters alike will be hoping for big things of the youngster.

75' Kent does excellently to release Woodburn through on goal and the teenager - who scored at Fleetwood on Wednesday - fires early past Nicholls to double the Reds' lead.

74' GOAAAL! Just like that it's 2-0 and it's 16-year-old Woodburn on the scoresheet. Great goal.

73' That's woken up both the crowd, and the game, a little. Red smoke filling the air from the away end. 

72' It's been coming. Liverpool win possession and Markovic clips a ball over to Ings in space in the centre. The striker does well to keep his cool and prod past Nicholls, his second goal in three pre-season games.

71' GOAAAL! It's 1-0 as Danny Ings finally fires Liverpool ahead. 

70' First change for Wigan - Davies replacing Flores.

69' CLOSE! Matip bursts forward from the heart of defence and shares a one-two with Markovic. He feeds it back to Markovic once again, who then rolls it along to Kent. He cuts onto his left and attempts to find the far bottom corner across goal, but he fires just wide of the post. Much better play from Liverpool.

67' Lovely calm and composed sliding tackle from Matip denies Wildschut's sprint into the box after the winger had shown Wisdom a clean pair of heels. Very impressive defending.

64' Lucas drags a shot wide of the mark. Still awaiting the breakthrough at a sun-soaked DW Stadium.

63' Alexander-Arnold lashes an effort over the bar and into the crowd from 20-yards out. 

62' Fairly dull stuff on offer at the moment, though Ings almost starts and finishes a lovely flowing move. Interchanging with Randall, who plays it to Woodburn, Ings drives into the box but Morsy does well to win the ball with a sliding challenge before showing him to the by-line and winning back possession.

60' Still goalless in Greater Manchester, Wildschut cutting in from the left and looking to change that with a powerful drive from range but it's not troubling Karius. 

58' Markovic does well to retrieve possession on the edge of the area but though he finds Lucas, Woodburn is caught straying a yard beyond the defence and is consequently flagged for offside. 

54' Still pretty standard pre-season stuff from both sides, although Alexander-Arnold shows commendable desire to drive at the heart of Wigan's defence. It amounts to nothing though before he gives away a foul after overrunning the ball.

53' CLOSE FROM INGS! Markovic finds Ings in the box and he manages to flick the ball past Hendry before stabbing a right-footed effort towards the far post, but it's just a yard or so wide. 

49' CHANCE! Ings runs the ball a bit wide after Woodburn's pass sets him through on goal. Despite attempting a powerful shot across Nicholls' goal, the goalkeeper saves easily. The Englishman will be disappointed with himself.

48' Tight offside call on Kent, who was sprinting into acres of space down the left. Probably the wrong decision from the linesman.

46' Plenty of changes to tell you about after the interval. Liverpool's second half XI is as follows: Karius, Wisdom, Matip, Ilori, Randall, Lucas, Alexander-Arnold, Markovic, Woodburn, Kent, Ings. Eight changes as only Matip, Randall and Karius keep their places in the side with Randall swapping the right side for the left. No changes for Wigan, though. 

HT - Wigan Athletic 0-0 Liverpool: A very pre-season first-half of football. Liverpool's superior quality showed in flashes, most of which came from Coutinho, who is likely to be one of the nine Reds substituted at half-time after that strenuous first 45. Ejaria and Brannagan both exerted themselves well from midfield, while Wildschut was Wigan's key performer - regularly getting the better of Randall down the Latics' left. Not many real high-quality opportunities on goal for either side just yet, though, so maybe substitutions for both team will help inject some more creativity and invention going forward.

HT: Wigan Athletic 0-0 Liverpool.

45' Coutinho feeds Randall down the right but his poor first touch allows his marker to catch up with him. Nevertheless, his cross forces a corner which Brannagan takes and Firmino can only flick wide of the far post with a header.

45' Ejaria controls Mane's crossfield ball but his low cross from the by-line is an easy catch for Nicholls. One minute to be added on at the end of the first 45. 

44' Jürgen Klopp looking distinctly bored on the sidelines as the camera cuts to him in the dug-out. The performance hasn't been poor, but by the same token, Liverpool have not played to their standard. Coutinho the obvious stand-out and he'll wonder how he's not forced the breakthrough in this first-half. 

43' Mane wins a free-kick after battling with Colclough. Brannagan takes it, but his delivery in to Matip at the back post is disappointing and no-one can get a touch on it before it goes out of play.

41' Good saves from Nicholls, to deny Mane from close-range before gathering Coutinho's shot across the floor from the edge of the area. A deflection took the power out of the latter, making it an easier save than it might have initially been.

40' Good chance for Liverpool but Ejaria's shot is once again blocked. Coutinho arguably guilty of putting too much on his through ball to Firmino a few moments earlier.

38' An almost full Liverpool side doing their warm-ups down the touchline. Having made wholesale changes at half-time in their last two friendlies, a similar number of substitutions are expected - by both sides - here. Only nine subs on the bench for the Reds, mind. 

36' Wigan having most of their joy down the right with Wildschut once again running at Randall. Karius comfortably collects the resulting cross, however.

35' Not a great deal of action, Wigan having plenty of the ball but doing little with it. Liverpool a bit more direct when they get it, but Brannagan can't chase down Coutinho's through ball before it rolls over the by-line.

32' Wigan sensing a chance here. They've seen more of the ball in the last 5-10 minutes and Wildschut does excellently, breaking free of two tackles down the left before a wild cross goes straight out for a goal kick. Certainly the Latics' danger man so far this afternoon.

30' Uh oh. Moment of panic for Loris Karius. A pass back from Matip sees the goalkeeper take his eye off the ball. That allows Odelusi to dive in and almost force a goal, but the German reacts well to scramble the ball away just in time. Klopp's up off his seat and he's not pleased.

29' Nearly half-an-hour gone and we're still level. Coutinho the closest we've come to an opening goal, hitting the crossbar and the post, but other than that we've only had a few half-chances. The referee blows the whistle as Morsy aggressively goes in heavy on Stewart. That takes away from Ejaria's lovely footwork, as he escapes two markers just as the referee stops the play.

28' Coutinho dropping deep in search of pockets of space. He tries a neat through ball to Randall with space in behind down the right, but he doesn't quite get the weight on it to allow the full-back to beat Nicholls to it.

26' Wigan seeing more of the ball, although much of it in their own half. They move forward as Colclough sells Lovren with a lovely backheel dummy on the halfway line, earning a free-kick as the Croatian leaves a foot in. 

25' Liverpool looking to work an opening before Ejaria's effort from 20 yards sees Taylor block well.

24' Wigan yet to really pose much of a threat to their Premier League opponents, their supporters appealing for a free-kick after Karius comes off his line to collect a loose ball against Wildschut. He might have just stepped outside of his box, but he gets away with it. 

21' Free-kick after free-kick at the DW as Morsy upends Ejaria. We've had more fouls than shots so far, but don't let that distract you. It's been a decent game until now, much of that due to Coutinho's quality. He curls a shot just over the bar after good work from Firmino to keep possession under pressure on the edge of the 18-yard box.

19' Mane wins another free-kick after threatening to get ahead of Taylor down the right-hand side. Brannagan once again stands over the free-kick, curling a ball into the six-yard box - but Matip can only fire a header over the bar despite rising high.

17' The away side dominating possession, with Firmino winning another free-kick with Pearce catching a hold of his shirt on the run. A competitive match-up so far, despite the fact this match is relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

15' WOODWORK AGAIN! A failed attempt to head clear Firmino's clipped cross allows the ball to fall for Coutinho in space in the box. He feints a shot before striking the post off of a left-footed strike which had Nicholls well beaten. Terribly unlucky for the Brazilian, but a welcome reminder of his obvious quality.

14' Almost an excellent ball from Ejaria, as he spots the overlapping run of Randall  - but Wildschut reads the pass well and cuts it out.

13' Good block by Hendry to deny Firmino on the turn inside the area. No real opportunities just yet, but Liverpool enjoying a good spell of sustained pressure.

12' Coutinho wins a corner after his flick from Firmino's low cross deflects off of Pearce and out of play. Brannagan, today's set-piece taker it seems, comes across to take it but his delivery is headed clear by Hendry.

11' It might only be a friendly, but you tell that to Sam Morsy. He's putting himself all about the midfield and hauls down Brannagan with a strong challenge.

9' Enticing ball across the box from Brannagan, but no red shirt can meet the cross. Liverpool at least retain possession and try to break down the right, but Wildschut matches Mane for pace and forces just a throw.

8' Liverpool moving the ball about well, as Coutinho wins a free-kick after being caught by the stray leg of Morsy. Too far out for the Reds to take a shot on goal and after a minute or so's succession of passes on the edge of the area, Brannagan wins another free-kick from Flores' challenge.

6' Powerful forward run from Wildschut on the counter wins the hosts a corner in front of the away end, but Mane heads clear before the follow-up effort from the edge of the box flies harmlessly wide.

5' WOODWORK! Coutinho rolls it to Brannagan to his right, the midfielder stops it dead allowing Coutinho to curl a right-footed effort towards the far post but it crashes off the crossbar. What a return to the first-team that would have been.

4' Fast-paced start at the DW, both teams to-ing and fro-ing with the ball in the middle of the pitch. That is until Mane gets the better of Pearce and wins a free-kick after Matip's lovely ball through the lines. Chance for Coutinho to test the goalkeeper early on here.

3' Klopp's side lining up in a 4-2-3-1 with Firmino leading the line, it seems. Ejaria in the No.10 with Coutinho left and Mane right. Brannagan in a central midfield berth with Stewart. Interesting.

2' A nice pre-match rendition of Gala's Free From Desire, which booms over the sound system as the game kicks off. Not as if we've heard enough of it over the summer and Grigg isn't even playing. Even the Northern Ireland fans must be getting a bit bored of it by now. Wonder if they'll do that when the seson properly kicks off?

1' We're underway in Wigan! At an almost full DW Stadium, packed out with over 5,000 Reds in the away end, the hosts get us started. It's a lovely sunny afternoon for it. Here's hoping for another entertaining 90 minutes of football.

The German also had words to say on his Lovren-Matip centre-back partnership, which he has fielded for the first two friendlies and will do so again a third time this afternoon. "It’s one of the things we can do," he tells reporters. "I could judge every day, I ask for a lot, but I see a few things that are very good, a few that are not so good. That’s how coaches work. It’s good that they can play together with Loris in goal so they know more about each other, their natural movements and behaviour It’s about fitness of course, but it’s very important in tactics as well." Once again, quotes courtesy of the Echo.

On Smith and Moreno's respective injury problems, he adds: "No timeframe on Brad and Moreno, both are not too serious. Both will be back on Monday or Tuesday. You need everybody to be involved. Today we have 18 plus a goalkeeper, so two players have to go 90 minutes. That will be quite interesting to watch!"

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, speaking pre-match as per the Liverpool Echo: "We have a few problems. Our full backs are out today. Brad Smith has a muscle issue, Alberto Moreno a stiff neck. Now Flanno has to play left back, Connor [Randall] right, and maybe in the second half we change. We have to find answers. It is still an intensive time, but it’s the time for fitness, specific points, and for team tactics. Our defending should be more clear, offensively our movements and build-up, finding ways behind the lines are to be worked on."

Plenty on Twitter raising the question as to whether Dejan Lovren could be a viable candidate to replace Jordan Henderson as captain for 2016-17 and beyond. There's no saying Henderson will even be replaced, but he faces fight to earn back his place in the first-team after last season - most of which he spent injured or out-of-form. Mamadou Sakho is one of the other fans' favourites to take over Henderson as skipper. Either of the two would be the Reds' first centre-back captain since the great Sami Hyypia, but would they be the right men for the job? We'll probably just have to wait and see. Now I've said this, Klopp will probably stick with Henderson as first-choice and James Milner as his vice.

This of course is the Reds' penultimate friendly on home soil, with Wednesday night's clash with Huddersfield Town the final clash. The day after, July 21, the squad will jet out to the USA where they take on Chelsea and AC Milan in the International Champions Cup and Roma in another friendly. By then, many of the club's internationals will have joined up with the team - so we'll get a real idea of Jürgen Klopp's plans for the coming campaign.

More on Bogdan's absence. His replacement, 18-year-old Shamal George, played for 90 minutes yesterday in Munich as Liverpool's U21s drew 1-1 with Bundesliga 3 team, Sonnenhoff FC. Either, he made a massive impression or his more experienced Hungarian counterpart is closing in on an Anfield exit.

This is Wigan's fourth game already. They drew with Braga and Chester, before losing to United, as they warm up for their first season back in the Championship. The reigning League One champions are in good shape under Gary Caldwell will certainly pose the Reds their toughest test of pre-season yet. After 1-0 win over Tranmere and the 5-0 rout of Fleetwood, how will Liverpool get on here? Let us know by tweeting us your score predictions to @VAVELLiverpool.

Another potentially important absentee of Liverpool's, although not one many will be particularly concerned about, is goalkeeper Adam Bogdan. The third-choice shotstopper has played the second-half of both of their first two pre-season friendlies, but is not in the squad today. Does that mean his departure his imminent? Ironically, he was linked with a move to Wigan earlier this month. It certainly doesn't seem like he's got a future on Merseyside, particularly with veteran 'keeper Alex Manninger's presence. He's training with the Reds currently and could be handed a contract as an understudy to Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius.

This is the first time these two teams have met since the second-half of the 2012-13 season, when Luis Suarez scored a hattrick in a 4-0 victory. Who opened the scoring that night you ask? None other than Stewart Downing, with a header. In fact, Wigan have only won two of 18 competitive meetings - a 2-1 league win in March 2012 after a 1-0 win, also in the league, in March 2010. 

Few notable absentees for Wigan too, not least Euro 2016 cult hero Will Grigg. He's not in the squad at all, having played 45 minutes in the defeat to Manchester United yesterday. Former Reds left-back Stephen Warnock isn't in the squad, neither are Emyr Huws, Max Power, Dan Burn, Nick Powell or Michael Jacobs of their most notable names. 

The major news for Liverpool is that Philippe Coutinho returns to action for the first time since the end of last season, having joined up with the squad in training earlier in the week. He partners compatriot Roberto Firmino and summer signing Sadio Mane, who has impressed throughout pre-season so far, in a fearsome trident up top. Dejan Lovren captains the side, who are without powerful midfielder Marko Grujic (virus) and left-backs Alberto Moreno (neck) and Brad Smith (groin) as a precaution. That gives a chance to Jon Flanagan to impress then.

Liverpool bench: George, Lucas, Ilori, Ings, Kent, Wisdom, Markovic, Woodburn, Alexander-Arnold.

Wigan Athletic bench: Jaaskelainen, Davies, Cosgrove, Whitehead, Gregory, Burke, Barrigan, Lang, O'Brien.

Liverpool starting XI: Karius, Randall, Matip, Lovren, Flanagan, Ejaria, Stewart, Brannagan, Mane, Coutinho, Firmino.

Wigan Athletic starting XI: Nicholls, Taylor, Gilbey, Morsey, Odelusi, Flores, Chow, Colclough, Pearce, Wildschut, Hendry.

Just over an hour until kick-off at the DW Stadium and the team news is in...

Marko Grujic will be hoping to impress once more today after a stellar 45 minute debut cameo against Fleetwood in midweek. The Serbian won a penalty, which was subsequently missed by Ings, before opening the scoring and hitting the woodwork before he was replaced at half-time. Speaking after that game, Grujic said; "I'm very happy and proud. Everything has been perfect so far [since his move]."

One man who won't be missing any of pre-season, or the start of the season, is Loris Karius. The 'keeper, a new arrival on Merseyside, revealed earlier this week that he rejected the opportunity to be in the Germany Olympics squad in order to be available for Liverpool's season opener. You can find his quotes in full, here.

The Reds will be without a few notable figures for this game, and the rest of their pre-season games, after a week of injuries and sales on L4. Joe Gomez suffered a setback in his recovery from a long-term injury, whilst Mamadou Sakho is set for up to a month on the sidelines. Jordon Ibe has departed the club this week in a £15million move to AFC Bournemouth, whilst Martin Skrtel has been sold to Fenerbache for £5.5million.

16-year-old Ben Woodburn was on the scoresheet against Fleetwood (photo: Getty Images)
16-year-old Ben Woodburn was on the scoresheet against Fleetwood (photo: Getty Images)

Liverpool have fared better, unsurprisingly, in their two friendlies so far. The Reds beat Tranmere Rovers 1-0 last week thanks to a second half strike from Danny Ings, before thrashing Fleetwood Town 5-0 on Wednesday evening, with four goals coming from a second half side. This is the third of four fixtures for Liverpool on the UK leg of their pre-season tour, before they fly to the USA for three games, then returning to Europe to play Mainz and Barcelona before their domestic season starts against Arsenal on August 14.

Wigan have played just two pre-season friendlies so far. First of all they drew 0-0 away at Chester FC, dominating in a game where they used 22 players, unable to find a winning goal. Next up they played Manchester United, going down 2-0 to the Red Devils just yesterday, with a different team likely to line up today. They're building towards their Championship opener against Bristol City in just under three weeks time.

Although we've plenty of Liverpool build up and news to get through, let's start by taking a look at today's hosts, Wigan. The Latics, relegated from the Premier League in 2013, are preparing for life in the Championship next season, having won League One last season at something of a canter. Their main man? A certain Will Grigg. Unfortunately, he's still on holiday after being part of Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 squad, so won't feature today.

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to VAVEL UK's live minute-by-minute commentary of today's pre-season friendly between Wigan Athletic and Liverpool at the DW Stadium. With kick-off set for 4PM, we've plenty of time to build up to the game and get the confirmed team news, so stick with us! I'm Oliver Emmerson, and I'll be taking you through the 90 minutes.