Belfast Telegraph

James Milner and Danny Ings strike early to boost Brendan Rodgers

By Robert Jones

Summer signings James Milner and Danny Ings scored as Liverpool beat Adelaide United 2-0 on their pre-season tour.

Milner, who also netted in the 2-1 win over Brisbane last week, diverted Jordon Ibe's low cross home after 68 minutes at the Adelaide Oval.

The home side had few chances but Tarek Elrich's 20-yard shot skimmed a post.

And Ings sealed Liverpool's win with his first goal for the club - slotting home after collecting a pass from fellow new signing Nathaniel Clyne.

New full-backs Clyne and Joe Gomez both caught the eye while Milner once again demonstrated what an asset he will be to the Reds' midfield.

Three games into pre-season and boss Brendan Rodgers' plan for 2015/16 is already clear - it's 4-3-3.

And the personnel he recruited this summer were bought with that in mind.

Christian Benteke, who should be confirmed as a Liverpool player once he has completed his medical today, will play through the middle with the likes of Adam Lallana, Jordon Ibe and Roberto Firmino competing for the roles either side.

Rodgers hopes the imminent arrival of Benteke will instantly boost his side's firepower.

Rodgers made the Belgian his primary target after watching Liverpool score just 52 times in the Premier League last season - down from 101 the previous campaign when Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge almost fired them to the title. On Sunday, Liverpool concluded negotiations on a payment structure which will see them pay £16million up front and the remainder of his £32.5million release clause over the length of his contract.

"It was just clear we needed to score more goals," said Rodgers.

"We were down on our goals. Overall it is the balance we need to improve offensively and defensively and the players that will contribute to both."

The capture of Benteke is seen as a show of support for the manager from owners Fenway Sports Group after a robust end-of-season review of a sixth-placed finish resulted in the sacking of assistant manager Colin Pascoe and first team coach Mike Marsh's contract not being renewed.

England Under-19 manager Sean O'Driscoll, former midfielder Gary McAllister and academy coach Pepijn Lijnders have been added to the backroom staff while there has been significant recruitment on the playing side.

Brazil international Firmino, who will become the club's second-most expensive signing after arriving in a £29million deal from Hoffenheim, will be at the club's Melwood training ground tomorrow to begin preparations for the new season.

Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling is expected to make his Manchester City debut against Roma today.

Manuel Pellegrini confirmed the £49million summer signing from Liverpool is in line to feature in the International Champions Cup match in Melbourne. The Chilean added that other returning internationals such as Joe Hart, David Silva and Edin Dzeko could also be involved.

Speaking at a press conference in Australia, he said: "They arrived late, because they were with internationals, just worked five days with us, but I think most will be involved, maybe not the whole game but some minutes.

"I think Raheem worked with Liverpool for three days and so he will play some minutes."

Belfast Telegraph


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