Football

Milner injury a major worry

Converted left back's injury takes shine off win over Barcelona

PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY

LIVERPOOL 4
(Sadio Mane 15, Divock Origi 48, Javier 
Mascherano 47-og, Marko Grujic 90+3)

BARCELONA 0

Daniel Sturridge and James Milner have given Juergen Klopp new injury worries to take the shine off Liverpool's 4-0 friendly win over Barcelona yesterday morning (Singapore time).

There are once again question marks over Sturridge's fitness ahead of the Premier League opener at Arsenal this Sunday, after the England striker was missing from the starting line-up at Wembley through injury.

And manager Klopp was dealt another blow when Milner, who was playing in Liverpool's problem left-back position, limped off moments before half-time.

Liverpool explained Sturridge's absence was down to a "minor hip injury", but Klopp conceded Milner was a major worry.

"It is not too good, it's something to do with his heel," said the Reds boss. "He will have a scan and then we will know more."

Sadio Mane and Divock Origi did at least soften those blows as Liverpool roared to a surprisingly easy victory over the Spanish giants.

Luis Suarez was facing his old club for the first time but the Uruguayan was kept quiet apart from one volley which was saved by Simon Mignolet, while Lionel Messi clipped a post in the first half.

Liverpool led through Mane's first goal in a Reds shirt after a slick 15th-minute move involving Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino.

Klopp introduced Jordan Henderson, Origi and Kevin Stewart at the break, and their impact was instant.

Just a minute had gone when Origi darted down the right and crossed for Henderson, who bundled the ball home with the help of former Red Javier Mascherano, who got the final touch for an own goal.

And 60 seconds later, Stewart, who began last season on loan with Swindon, robbed Spain star Sergio Busquets before playing in Origi to roll home the third goal.

Another substitute, Serbian midfielder Marko Grujic, grabbed a superb fourth with a looping header in stoppage time to cap a commanding Liverpool display.

"Of course I am happy with the result," added Klopp. "The game was good to learn a lot of things about us. If we'd have lost, life would have gone on. It's a friendly.

"But it was Barca and lots can happen if they start playing. When you win 4-0, you have to use it."

It may only have been a friendly, but it was hardly an ideal result for Barcelona, who kick their own season off in the Spanish Super Cup against Sevilla this weekend.

"It definitely wasn't our best day," said Barca coach Luis Enrique.

"We made a number of errors. After the first goal, we had chances, but then we let in two quick goals and that was the match.

"But as a spectacle, for the fans and the stadium, we have to look at the positive side of things. It was nice to see the affection the Liverpool fans have for Luis, and it was a shame he couldn't score."

- PA Sport.

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