RECAP | Liverpool 3-4 Hertha Berlin: Van Dijk and Gomez return in action-packed friendly defeat

JIM NICHOL-TURNER and DANIEL MOXON provided live updates of a thoroughly entertaining pre-season encounter in Austria, which marked the long-awaited returns of two Liverpool fan favourites.

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The result mattered not one bit. This was the night we saw Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez kick a football in a Liverpool shirt for the first time since their respective horror injuries last season.

It was a slow start for the whole Liverpool team, which fell two goal behind in the first half.

Santiago Ascacíbar was at the far post to finish from a deep cross and put Hertha Berlin into the lead, but was caught by Caoimhín Kelleher in the process and could not continue.

It didn’t slow the Germans, who found a second through Suat Serdar as he rifled a superb strike beyond the Reds goalkeeper from what seemed like an impossible angle.


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The Reds were level at the break, though, as they stepped up their pressing intensity to force two goals after winning the ball high up the pitch.

First it was Kostas Tsimikas who pounced on goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow’s error. The Greek ran to the byline and crossed to Sadio Mané, whose first strike was blocked but he made no mistake with the rebound.

And then Naby Keita pressed and won the ball, before slipping it in to Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian produced an audacious back heel to set up Takumi Minamino for a cool finish.

Despite a fast start after the break, substitutions and the introduction of a swathe of youngsters disrupted Liverpool’s rhythm and Berlin forward Stevan Jovetic, also off the bench, pounced twice to seal the game for the Bundesliga side.

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rifled in a venomous volley with three minutes to go, but the fourth would not come before the referee called time on proceedings at the Tivoli Stadion.

The highlight was no doubt the introductions of van Dijk and Gomez, who received a raucous reception from the 11,000 fans in the stadium and were cheered every time they touched the ball.

It was the last friendly of Liverpool’s Austrian training camp, with their next outing set to be in Evian, France, for two 60-minute games against Bologna.

Then, on Sunday, August 8, Athletic Club Bilbao visit an Anfield packed with fans for the first time since March 2020, before Osasuna the following day and the Premier League opener against Norwich City on August 14.

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