Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he is ready “to write a new chapter” and move on from their Champions League victory after the club concluded their pre-season US tour with a 2-2 draw against Sporting Lisbon.
Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum scored for the European champions in a friendly bookended by Sporting goals from Bruno Fernandes and Wendel.
Liverpool have been without at least four of their first-choice XI in the US and Klopp is happy to be returning to England.
“It was an intense week, three games in a short period. Maybe we did too much,” he said.
“But now nobody should talk to me too often about the Champions League trophy, that is now finished. Now we can write a new chapter.
“From a sports point of view I am happy to go back to England.”
Mignolet recovers from error
On the coolest night of the tour Klopp named his strongest starting XI which saw Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain flank Origi in attack.
For the third time in as many games Liverpool conceded first, Simon Mignolet making a dreadful error which allowed a powerful Fernandes strike to go right through him.
It was a poor moment from the Belgian goalkeeper, but he went on to have a strong game, saving well from Luciano Vietto and Raphinha.
Origi grabbed his second goal of the three-match tour at the end of Liverpool’s best move to equalise, slamming in the rebound after Jordan Henderson’s header was saved, before Wijnaldum scored via a deflection from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pass.
The excellent Fernandes then laid on the equaliser for Wendel after the break as both sides made a host of changes which stemmed the flow of the game.
“Bruno is a sensational player but that shot will not often be a goal – Simon knows that,” said Klopp.
“It was a goalie mistake, it happens. We reacted well and scored two good goals.
“That was a proper pre-season game, a lot of mistakes because of the intensity.
“We have to work on everything but we had good moments.”
Where does Bruno Fernandes’ future lie?
Sporting captain Fernandes has been linked with a move to the Premier League all summer, after scoring 32 goals and registering 17 assists in all competitions last season – and he showed just why.
Playing from the left of midfield he was involved in everything, pinging passes from deep, knitting neat patterns of play together and shooting from distance.
His first effort flew through Mignolet before Fabinho twice got in his way, fouling him before he could pull the trigger and making a block.
Fernandes showed his creative side throughout, playing a brilliant lob over the Liverpool defence to Luiz Phellype and then chipping a fine ball to former Reds defender Tiago Ilori who headed wide.
Sporting are no strangers to losing players to the Premier League such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Rui Patricio, Eric Dier, Marcos Rojo and Islam Slimani, and coach Marcel Keizer admitted Fernandes’ future is unclear.
“Bruno is a very good player who is important for us. Everybody would like him to stay,” he said.
“The situation is that he is here but we don’t know what the future will bring.
“You ask the wrong guy! I am just the coach. When clubs want Bruno they don’t call me. We know he plays very well, we know that clubs like him so we have to see what happens.
“The job of the coach is to realise that some players will go before the end of the window. Every player can go, and we can also buy players.”
Next up for Liverpool is a game against Napoli at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield StAudium on Sunday, before facing Lyon in Geneva on Wednesday and finally the Community Shield against Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday, 4 August.
Subs: Lonergan, Atherton, Lovren, Gomez, Lallana, Brewster, Kent, LeWIS, Phillips, Jones, Hoever, Duncan, Woodburn, Wilson, Van den Berg
Sporting Lisbon: Ribeiro, Ilori (Luis), Neto (Coates), Mathieu (Eduardo), Borja (Correia), Belloli (Cabral), Doumbia, Wendel, Fernandes (Braganca), Vietto (Cabral), Phellype (Dost)
Subs: Coates, Eduardo, Plata, Dost, Mendes, Correia, Braganca, Quaresma, Cabral, Maximiano