Mohamed Salah marks his Liverpool debut with a goal, but Brighton’s main man Anthony Knockaert is injured as the pre-season schedule gathers pace.
Elsewhere, a Dwight Gayle double does the trick for Newcastle United, and Jonathan Walters opens his account for Burnley.
Here’s the run-down on last night’s action.
Wigan Athletic 1 Liverpool 1
Mohamed Salah scored on his Liverpool debut as more members of the Reds’ potent midfield were given their first pre-season outing at Wigan Athletic.
The summer signing from Roma, who has already tempted 11.4% of Fantasy Premier League managers to invest in him, struck on the stroke of half-time when he converted a Roberto Firmino pass.
Manager Jurgen Klopp fielded Salah, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in an attacking first-half team set up in a 4-3-3, with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet also handed his first start as the Reds upped their preparations for the new campaign.
Liverpool’s shape was difficult to assess, with Klopp clearly allowing for fluidity in his formation. Georginio Wijnaldum appeared to take up the number six role as a deep lying midfielder, with Ben Woodburn and Lallana also dropping alongside him at times. Roberto Firmino played as the central attacker, although he swapped with Salah throughout the first period.
A completely different side took to the pitch of a second half that even Klopp was forced to admit was ‘a little bit boring, to be honest’.
Of rather more interest to Fantasy managers were local reports that Liverpool, as well as upping their bid for RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, are in advanced talks with Hull City over the signing of left-back Andy Robertson.
Should Robertson make the move, the 10.5%-owned James Milner’s place at left-back will no longer be assured, particularly as Klopp will have to rotate his squad to cope with the demands of Champions League football. Milner would, however, be expected to retain a starting role initially.
Liverpool XI First half: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Flanagan; Wijnaldum, Lallana, Woodburn; Salah, Coutinho, Firmino.
Liverpool XI Second half: Karius; Gomez, Stewart, Lovren, Milner; Henderson, Grujic, Chirivella; Solanke, Sturridge, Origi.
Brighton And Hove Albion 2 Fortuna Dusseldorf 0
Star man Anthony Knockaert lasted only ten minutes of Brighton’s first pre-season match.
The 8.5%-owned midfielder limped off after receiving treatment to an injury sustained in a heavy tackle and later left the ground on crutches, his leg encased in a protective boot.
Hughton confirmed post-match that the Frenchman had suffered an ankle injury.
“It’s too early to tell at the moment. He’s a little bit sore and got some swelling on his ankle. We’ve had incidents in the past with Anthony where we thought it was going to be bad, but he’s always made good recoveries. We hope it’s the same with this one, but we certainly won’t know anything about the injury for another couple of days.”
Should Knockaert be out for a lengthy spell, it will be a bitter blow for manager Chris Hughton, who will have to start the Seagulls’ top-flight campaign without the Championship player of the year.
The injury overshadowed a 2-0 win for Brighton, with two late goals in as many minutes from Jamie Murphy and Tomer Hemed securing the victory.
Scots winger Murphy cut inside to open the scoring in the 77th minute before Hemed doubled the lead, the Israeli striker scoring from an Oliver Norwood cross.
Hughton used a 4-4-1-1 formation throughout, handing new signing Markus Suttner his first start at left-back, while defender Connor Goldson made his first appearance since heart surgery in the second-half team.
Fellow new boy Mat Ryan didn’t figure – the Australian keeper has been given extra time to recover from his participation in the Confederations Cup.
Brighton XI First half: Maenpaa; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner; Knockaert (LuaLua 10), Stephens, Kayal, March; Gross; Murray.
Brighton XI Second half: Maenpaa; Rosenior, Goldson, Huenemeier, Bong; Murphy, Sidwell, Norwood, Skalak; Towell; Hemed.
Shamrock Rovers 0 Burnley 4
All three of Burnley’s summer signings started the match in Dublin, with veteran Jonathan Walters marking his debut with an early goal.
The Republic of Ireland international scored after just nine minutes, having been put through by fellow new boy Jack Cork, in a team that also featured former Leeds United full-back Charlie Taylor.
Walters was then substituted after just 33 minutes, although to date there has been no explanation as to why, as Burnley had to wait for three second-half goals to confirm their superiority.
Ashley Barnes made it two, curling home after collecting a Matthew Lowton long ball, before Robbie Brady hit the third following good work by Stephen Ward.
Sam Vokes, the 6.0-priced striker who finished last year in fine form on the way to a ten-goal season haul, rounded off the scoring, albeit in fortuitous fashion.
The Welsh international attempted to duck out of the way of a Jeff Hendrick half-volley, only for the ball to hit him on the back and go in off the bar.
Burnley XI First half: Heaton; Darikwa, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Defour, Cork; O’Neill, Gudmundsson, Walters (Agyei 34); Gray.
Burnley XI Second half: Pope; Lowton, Anderson, K Long, Ward; Ulvestad (Agyei 78), Westwood, Hendrick, Brady; Vokes, Barnes (C Long 85).
Heart of Midlothian 1 Newcastle 2
Dwight Gayle started pre-season where he left off in the Championship, grabbing both goals in a fine first-half display at Tynecastle.
The striker was the Magpies’ top scorer last season, hitting 23 goals from 26 starts, and his brace will have pleased the 11.8% of Fantasy managers who have currently made him their cut-price third forward.
New signing Florian Lejeune was given a run-out in defence for the second half by coach Rafa Benitez, but it was a returning midfielder who caught the eye.
Siem De Jong was back at the club following a loan spell with PSV Eindhoven, and he picked out Gayle with a fine pass for the first goal, part of a fine performance that suggested the Dutchman has a point to prove to Benitez.
De Jong played the No 10 role in a 4-4-1-1 formation from Benitez.
Jonjo Shelvey provided the assist for the Magpies’ second, picking out Gayle with his corner kick.
Matt Ritchie, who played a key role in leading Newcastle to the Championship title, played no part as he continues to recover from a groin operation back in April, while defender DeAndre Yedlin did not feature following his international exertions for the USA.
Newcastle XI First half: Elliot; Clark, Lascelles, Mbemba, Haïdara; Aarons, Shelvey; Diamé, Atsu, De Jong; Gayle.
Newcastle XI Second half: Elliot; Lejeune, Dummett, Mbemba (Hanley 62), Haïdara (Colback 62); Gamez, Shelvey; Diamé (Armstrong 62), Perez, De Jong; Mitrovic.
A reminder that all the friendly results and key Scout Notes are being captured here, in our Pre-Season Guide.