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Match Report: PNE 1 Liverpool 2

19 July 2014

Liverpool mouted a second half comeback to narrowly defeat North End in an entertaining pre-season clash at Deepdale.

Goals in the last 16 minutes from substitutes Suso and Kristophe Peterson tur4ned things around for Brendan Rodgers' Champions League outfit after Josh Brownhill had given North End a deserved half-time lead with the last touch of the opening period.

The Lilywhites took the lead with the final action of the first half; Brownhill calmly slotting home from close range after Joe Garner’s acrobatic volley had been blocked by the visitors Australian keeper.

It had been nothing more than Simon Grayson’s side deserved after an excellent first half, played at a high tempo with good intensity.

The manager, who returned to the touchline after his minor knee operation, again chose two separate teams for each half and the one lining up from kick-off, which saw home debuts for Jamie Jones and Calum Woods, were at it from the off.

Previous season top scorer Joe Garner had the first of what totalled ten shots in the opening period after a good period of build-up play, eventually finding the No.14 on the edge of the ‘D’, Jones at full stretch in front of the packed away end to turn the ball behind.

The North End pressure continued and Neil Kilkenny saw shot from 15 yards deflected onto roof of net, but referee Jeremy Simpson missed the fact it was a corner!

With 18 minutes on the clock Josh Brownhill had an effort from 30 yards which Jones had to palm wide left at full stretch and from Gallagher’s resulting corner Alan Browne had great chance to score from ten yards out, only to head wide right.

The visitors started to gain a little possession and just after the half’s mid-point a Philippe Coutinho corner was met by Reds’ skipper Martin Skrtel, but this was blocked and cleared by Brownhill doing his work at the opposite end.

Just before the half mark Liverpool had their first shot on target and it came from debutant and summer capture Rickie Lambert, but it was straight at Everton fan and new North End keeper Jamie Jones.

Three minutes later Garner was threaded through after Coutinho had given the ball away and, the man who scored one of the best goals Deepdale has seen in his last run out, ran through and shot from 20 yards, but it was again pushed away by Jones.

Straight up the other end Jordan Ibe – who had come on for another of Brendan Rodgers’ new signings, Emre Can – had the first really good chance for the Reds; Coutinho passing into the box, but the pacy winger blazed over the bar.

In the final minute of the opening half some great interchange in the midfield saw Kilkenny find Browne, who in turn slipped Brownhill into the box, but his shot was blocked by Wisdom.

However, from the resulting corner they took a deserved lead. A great corner from Will Hayhurst was flicked on at the front post off a Liverpool head and Joe Garner acrobatically fired it goalwards. Brad Jones saved at point blank range, only for Josh Brownhill to calmly fire the ball past the stranded keeper to give the Lilywhites the lead with the final touch of the period.

The second half saw a continuation of the 4-3-3 in operation in the first half, which meant a rare run out for Jack King in midfield, joining Keith Keane and former Liverpool man and PNE skipper John Welsh in the middle of the park.

After six substitutions on 64 minutes by the visitors Jordan Ibe had a chance to race down the left and fired a shot that deflected off Scott Wiseman and out for the first of a brace of corners in quick succession, but without threatening Thorsten Stuckmann’s goal.

Liverpool drew level with 16 minutes left. A driving run by Ibe created spacein the right hand corner of the box for second half substitute Suso who curled left footed into the top left hand corner from the right hand corner of the box giving Stuckmann no chance.

And they were leveljust three minutes later. The ball was given away in the middle of the park and once again the pace of Ibe got him to the byline where he pulled the ball back for Kristoph Peterson to fire home, via a deflection, from ten yards out.

Thorsten Stuckmann needed to be at his acrobatic best to deny Ibe with a cross-cum-shot with five minutes left on the clock, but the score remained the same with both sides having enjoyed a positive high tempo run out in the early stages of their 2014/15 preparations.

PNE first half line-up: Jones, Woods, Clarke (c), Wright, Buchanan, Kilkenny, Brownhill, Browne, Hayhurst, Gallagher, Garner.

PNE second half line-up: Stuckmann, Wiseman, King, Huntington (Byrom, 78), B Davies, Humphrey, Welsh (c), Keane, Laird, K Davies (Hugill, 78), Little. Subs not used: James, Anderton.

Liverpool line-up: Jones, Lambert (Suso, 46), Coutinho, Lucas, Can (Ibe, 23), Allen, Borini, Kelly (Robinson, 46 (Enrique, 71)), Skrtel (c), Flanagan, Wisdom. Subs:  L Jones, Coates, Coady, Adjorjan (Phillips, 83), Rossiter, Peterson, Stewart – all after 64 mins.

Attendance: 17,488 (Away fans 4,950)

Referee: Mr J Simpson

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