Liverpool 1-2 AS Roma: Reds finish US tour with disappointing defeat to Italians

Liverpool finished their three-game pre-season tour of North America with a defeat as goals from Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah's strikes, either side of Sheyi Ojo's header, gave the Italians a win.

Liverpool 1-2 AS Roma: Reds finish US tour with disappointing defeat to Italians
(Picture: This is Anfield/Propaganda Photo)
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AS Roma
Liverpool: Manninger (Mignolet, min.45), Clyne (Alexander-Arnold, min.45), Lovren (Wisdom, min.45), Klavan (Stewart, min.45), Milner (Moreno, min.45 - Randall, min.81), Can (Henderson, min.45), Wijnaldum (Brannagan, min. 69), Ojo (Coutinho, min.45), Mane (Lallana, min.45), Firmino (Markovic, min.45), Sturridge (Ings, min.45).
AS Roma: Alisson, Florenzi (Torosidis, min. 64), Manolas (Gyomber, min.75), Juan Jesus, Emerson (Seck, min.80), Nainggolan (Gerson, min. 64), Paredes, Strootman (Perotti, min.75), Salah (Ricci, min. 64), Dzeko (Totti, min. 64), El Shaarawy (Iturbe, min. 64).
SCORE: 0-1, min. 29, Dzeko. 1-1, min. 45, Ojo. 1-2, min. 62, Salah.
REFEREE: Yellow cards: Ojo (min. 35), Juan Jesus (min. 57), Paredes (min. 84).
INCIDENTS: Pre-season friendly between Premier League side Liverpool and Serie A's AS Roma at the Busch Stadium, St. Louis.

Liverpool concluded their pre-season tour of the United States with an underwhelming 2-1 defeat to AS Roma in St. Louis on Tuesday.

Edin Dzeko fired the Italians ahead after 29 minutes with a long-range drive finding the bottom corner, but Sheyi Ojo's header restored parity on the brink of half-time.

Amidst a largely forgetful second-half, Mohamed Salah's equaliser - taking advantage of miscommunication between half-time substitutes Simon Mignolet and Andre Wisdom - resigned the Reds to their second defeat of pre-season.

Klopp names exciting forward-thinking starting eleven

Both sides named strong starting teams, with Jürgen Klopp's attack-heavy line-up pairing Georginio Wijnaldum and the returning Emre Can in a midfield pivot. 

Supporting lone striker Daniel Sturridge, Sheyi Ojo joined Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino to comprise a strong front four - while between the sticks Alex Manninger goalkeeper made his first appearance for the club.

But Klopp was unable to call upon a number of players, with Divock Origi and Marko Grujic both left out. The Belgian striker was not selected as a precaution because of a minor groin injury while Grujic is still recovering from a concussion. Centre-back Joel Matip, who has not played a single game in the States, also missed out due to foot pain.

Klopp's opposite Luciano Spalletti named just as strong a side, with Radja Nainggolan, Kevin Strootman, former Manchester City frontman Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah - once a Liverpool target before he joined Chelsea - the most notable starters.

Such a glittering cast inevitably meant an engaging encounter from the off at the Busch Stadium, Manninger forced into a strong save after just five minutes to dive low and deny Stephan El Shaarawy.

Roma continued to probe for an early opener as Dzeko poked over the crossbar from a few yards out before curling just wide of the far post with his left foot after getting the better of Dejan Lovren.

After surviving spells of pressure, Liverpool gradually began to assert themselves on the game. An excellent flowing team move saw Mane send Sturridge through on goal, only for goalkeeper Alisson to stretch well and thwart the striker's lofted attempt.

Sturridge had a number of good chances to get on the scoresheet. (Picture: This is Anfield/Propaganda Photo)
Sturridge had a number of good chances to get on the scoresheet. (Picture: This is Anfield/Propaganda Photo)

Ojo had the ball in the back of the net after 16 minutes, only for the referee to notice Wijnaldum's handball in bringing down the cross of James Milner, playing in an unorthodox left-back position.

Both sides continually threatened for the breakthrough, with an abundance of eye-catching build-up play, but real chances were hard to come by despite the attacking talents on show.

Dzeko fires Roma ahead out of the blue

But out of relatively nothing, it was Dzeko who finally opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark - the towering striker firing low into the bottom corner from the edge of the area after being afforded time and space by Lovren.

Sturridge had the opportunity to fire a quick response for the Reds, meeting Emre Can's diagonal cross into the back post, but the Englishman's side-footed volley was parried by Alisson.

It was Roma who looked the more likely of finding the game's next goal as their movement continually caused problems to Liverpool's back-four, but Klopp's side deservedly drew level on the cusp of half-time.

Milner's deep corner kick found Lovren in the box and his header back across came to an unmarked Ojo. The teenage winger only needed to apply the finishing touch from close-range to even the score and did just that to make it 1-1.

Ojo stoops to score for Liverpool on the brink of half-time. (Picture: Getty Images)
Ojo stoops to score for Liverpool on the brink of half-time. (Picture: Getty Images)

Ojo's equaliser followed by 10 half-time changes

Half-time allowed the opportunity to freshen things up, Klopp opting to withdraw everyone except Wijnaldum in central midfield. Among his changes, Kevin Stewart dropped into centre-back alongside Andre Wisdom and Trent Alexander-Arnold slotting in at right-back to form a new-look defence.

Having only beaten AC Milan just two days earlier in Santa Clara, captain Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Danny Ings and Adam Lallana were among the other arrivals for a much-changed eleven for the second 45.

Though Roma retained the same side, Liverpool's mass substitutions meant the second-half was a slow burner to begin with.

There was little meaningful action before Roma once again restored their lead as Salah bundled in shortly after the hour mark. Substitute goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had denied Dzeko's emphatic header from point-blank range, only for Salah to react quickest to put his side ahead for a second time.

Salah's goal the only action of poor second period

That meant Liverpool had conceded twice for the first time in pre-season, this the seventh of their nine warm-up fixtures, but a raft of subs on Roma's behalf killed off any momentum and led to a quiet affair.

Cameron Brannagan's introduction, replacing Wijnaldum with 20 minutes remaining, could not do much to distract from the standard pre-season fayre.

Liverpool continued to struggle to forge opportunities, Moreno's dinked ball over the top to Lallana hinting at a move before the sturdy Kostas Manolas cut the pass out.

Salah fires past Mignolet to restore Roma's lead. (Picture: Liverpool FC)
Salah fires past Mignolet to restore Roma's lead. (Picture: Liverpool FC)

A promising counter-attack a few minutes later petered out to nothing after Coutinho's disappointing lay-off gave away possession inside the area.

Half-chances - and a drinks break due to the humidity - continued to come and go but Liverpool couldn't pull themselves level as Klopp was forced to bring off Alberto Moreno in place of Connor Randall because of a hamstring injury.

A strong stop from Mignolet, denying Roma legend Francesco Totti on the turn, kept the Reds in the game late on but they couldn't find an equaliser to rescue a draw - Alisson springing well to deny Ings' header in their best chance to make it 2-2.

Liverpool return to England later in the day where they will continue their pre-season preparations back at their Melwood training ground before friendlies against Barcelona and Mainz close out their schedule.

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