Liverpool began their preparations for the new Premier League season with a 4-0 friendly win over Preston North End 4-0 on Saturday.
The match at Deepdale was held to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly – who also spent 16 years at Preston as a player – which comes in September.
And Brendan Rodgers’ side were presented with the Shankly Shield by the Scot’s granddaughter, Karen Gill, at the full-time whistle following a resounding victory.
Liverpool featured new boys Simon Mignolet and Kolo Toure in their line-up, with fellow signings Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas making the bench. Preston included Scott Laird, who played for the first time since breaking his leg in November.
The visitors were in complete control right from the opening stages and their superiority was shown in the scoreline as Philippe Coutinho’s penalty and a low 20-yard effort from Jordon Ibe made it 2-0 at half-time.
Raheem Sterling and Aspas – who both entered the fray at the break – then sealed the game with goals three and four in the second period.
The breakthrough came after just 12 minutes when Coutinho was brought down by ex-Liverpool man John Welsh in the box. The Brazil international picked himself up and dispatched the penalty to the right of the goalkeeper.
Mignolet’s first real test in a Liverpool shirt came when he was forced into a low smart save from a fierce Laird strike.
But they doubled their advantage in the 36th minute when 17-year-old Jordon Ibe cut in from the left-hand side and hit a firm right-footed strike from 20-yards.
Liverpool made 10 changes at the break, with Dani Pacheco going close just after the re-start and winger Sterling causing problems with his electric pace.
And it was the latter who made it 3-0 in the 64th minute, as he latched onto a through ball from Aspas. The 18-year-old then showed good composure to round the goalkeeper and slide the ball into the empty net.
Aspas would then grab a goal for himself with a terrific left-foot bending effort from 20-yards as Liverpool completed a comfortable win.
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