De Futebol

Liverpool defeated Bayern Munich 3-0 to advance to the finals of Audi Cup.

The Guardians Andy Hunter wrote:” Daniel Sturridge has given Liverpool a pre-season injury scare after suffering a thigh problem while scoring the final goal in a convincing 3-0 defeat of Bayern Munich.

The injury-prone Liverpool striker chipped an exquisite finish over Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich in the 83rd minute of the Audi Cup game at the Allianz Arena. In doing so Sturridge, a 67th minute substitute for Jürgen Klopp’s team, sustained a thigh injury that forced his own substitution with four minutes remaining. The England international will have further tests before the full extent of the problem and any lay-off is known.

“I can’t say [the extent] but he hurt his thigh,” said Klopp after the win that set up a final against Atlético Madrid on Wednesday. “He has prepared really well and I just hope it’s only a small injury and he can play again soon. His goal was really great and he had another chance before that. You could see how fast he is. It is a shame and I just hope it is nothing serious.”

Sturridge later downplayed the injury, insisting he “will be OK”. “I think it’s just a bit of fatigue. I’m feeling the best I’ve felt for a while,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the season and hopefully we can have some success this season as well.”

Any time on the sidelines would represent a significant setback to Sturridge who, despite doubts over his long-term Liverpool future at the end of last season, has impressed Klopp this summer with his fitness and application. The striker had spoken only recently about his sharpness after being sidelined by a hip injury last season and losing his starting role in the Liverpool team behind Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho. The competition for forward places in Klopp’s side has intensified following the club record signing of Mohamed Salah from Roma this summer, and Liverpool’s attacking prowess was evident as they beat Bayern comfortably at the Allianz Arena.

Mané, who is working his way back to full fitness having undergone knee surgery in April, opened the scoring against Carlo Ancelotti’s team and was instrumental in Liverpool’s second, a close-range header from Salah. Bayern enjoyed plenty of possession but could not cope with their opponents’ pace and penetration on the counter attack.

The Bundesliga champions face their first competitive match of the season on Saturday – the German Supercup Final against Klopp’s old club Borussia Dortmund – and their preparations have been far from ideal. Bayern have lost to Arsenal, Milan, Internazionale and now Liverpool in pre-season. Robert Lewandowski’s obvious displeasure at the poor quality service he received and an anonymous display from summer recruit James Rodriguez, stationed wide on the right, showed Ancelotti has several problems to address ahead of the new season. Not that Klopp got carried away with Liverpool’s most impressive result of the summer so far.

“Nearly everything was good but we are still in our preparations, we haven’t played enough football so far, and Bayern enjoyed too much possession tonight,” the Liverpool manager said. “We gave the ball to Bayern too much and we had to run around too much but at times my team showed how good they can play football. The third goal was great. In attack we were really good. In the first half we were very dangerous on the counter, the pressing was very good.”

Out-of-favour Alberto Moreno, who has been linked with a move away from Liverpool this summer, produced a productive display at left back. Klopp suggested the Spanish defender would have a future at Anfield if he displayed that form on a more consistent basis.

Klopp said: “He would play if he played like he did today, yes. It was a really good game by Alberto. Every second he was playing better, that’s why we kept playing him. He looked really fit although he had a little problem with his thigh but we had a test with him this morning and he was OK. The players decide themselves how many games they play.”

In the other Audi Cup semi-final Atlético came from a goal behind to beat Napoli 2-1 thanks to strikes from Fernando Torres and Luciano Vietto. Diego Simeone’s team also had Diego Godín sent off for two bookable offences, the second of which sparked furious exchanges between the opposing benches. “I hope things will calm down for tomorrow as we want to play a bit,” said Klopp.