Dubai: Liverpool were looking to ramp up their mid-season fitness drive against Lyon in the Dubai Super Cup and they made a blistering start at the Al Maktoum Stadium by racing ahead after just 35 seconds.
Fabio Carvalho put the Reds in front with a simple tap in from five yards out after good work by Mohammed Salah who received a rousing reception by the Liverpool fans every time he touched the ball.
Lyon had lost their opener in the tournament against Arsenal last week 3-0 and they looked disjointed as they struggled to cope with Liverpool’s pressure. Coach Laurent Blanc, who took over in October, stood helpless on the touchline as his side struggled with Liverpool’s pressing game.
Jurgen Klopp’s side, who are preparing to return to Premier League action on Boxing Day after a six-week hiatus due to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, looked bright and played with energy and drive and overwhelmed their French opponents. The Ligue 1 side were pinned back for large periods of the first half as Roberto Firminho and James Milner – who was captaining the side – combined well down the right with Salah finding plenty of space between the lines.
The Egyptian international then had a glorious chance to double the advantage when Liverpool were awarded a penalty but his weak effort was saved by Lopes.
But Lyon could not live with Liverpool’s intensity and Andy Robertson went close to adding a second. Klopp had fielded a strong side which boasted Thiago Alcantara in midfield and Joel Matip at the back and he will have been pleased with the work rate of his side who will face Man City in the last 16 of the League Cup on December 22nd and then Aston Villa in the Premier League four days later.
However against the run of play a defensive mix up at the back presented Alexadre Lacazette an open goal and the former Arsenal striker tucked away to level the score much to the annoyance of Klopp as the half time whistle blew.
Off the post
On the hour mark Klopp made several substitutions one of which saw Salah removed and he received a standing ovation for his night’s work but Liverpool immediately fell behind after good work by Cherki to set up Barcola who drove home from 12 yards. Barcola then rattled the post from a similar position with 15 minutes remaining and Lacazette was unable to put the rebound away. But with 5 minutes left on the clock the French outfit got the third goal that their second half display deserved with Lacazette smashing home from 10 yards.
It finished 3-1 to Lyon who collected three much-needed points after their lacklustre showing against Arsenal in the first match and then, due to the unique format of the Dubai Super Cup, the match went to a penalty shootout with a point on offer for the winners. And it was Lyon who won 5-3 to collect a total of four points.
Liverpool’s next match in the tournament will be on Friday night against Serie A champions AC Milan.