Liverpool finish pre-season with win over Torino
LOS ANGELES, Aug 8, (AFP): Gareth Bale is serving notice that he is ready to shine without Cristiano Ronaldo, factoring in both goals as Real Madrid wrapped up their US tour with a 2-1 win over Roma on Tuesday.
Bale and Marco Asensio scored for Real Madrid who put on a strong performance especially in the first half of the International Champions Cup friendly at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Real Madrid is hoping Bale is ready to fully evolve into the player they signed for a world record fee in 2013.
The 33-year-old Ronaldo ended a nine-year spell at Real Madrid by recently signing with Italian champions Juventus.
“We’re scoring goals and we’re winning matches, so we’re doing well,” Bale said. “We have to keep improving and we’re really looking forward to starting the new season.”
Asensio, with his third goal of the preseason, opened the scoring just two minutes into the contest. Bale delivered a brilliant pass to the foot of Asensio and he found the back of the net.
Real Madrid struck again in the 15th minute as Bale would score this time, taking an equally superb pass from Dani Carvajal. Bale walked in and beat goalkeeper Robin Olsen to make it 2-0.
Real Madrid wasn’t nearly as dominant in the second half as most of their starting squad were subbed off.
Kevin Strootman made it interesting by scoring in the 83rd minute for Roma.
Strootman was left wide open off a throw-in and headed pass and all he had to do was hammer it past the startled Real Madrid goalkeeper.
Roberto Firmino starred as Liverpool rounded off an impressive pre-season with a comfortable 3-1 win over Italians Torino at Anfield on Tuesday.
Despite opening their Premier League campaign against West Ham on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp named a strong team and was rewarded by seeing key players get valuable game time.
Brazil forward Firmino played the first half, putting Liverpool ahead before setting up midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum for the second goal.
Italy international Andrea Belotti pulled one back for the visitors with a powerful header, but after Klopp made a raft of substitutions, Daniel Sturridge nodded in a Xherdan Shaqiri cross to score for the third friendly in a row.
New goalkeeper Alisson started for Liverpool, before Loris Karius was given a rousing reception when he replaced the Brazilian in the second half, just over two months after suffering concussion and making two dreadful errors in the Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid.
Elsewhere, Chelsea played out a 0-0 draw with Lyon at Stamford Bridge, before veteran goalkeeper Rob Green saved a spot-kick as they won 5-4 on penalties.
Eden Hazard, who has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, returned for Maurizio Sarri’s men after missing the weekend Community Shield loss to Manchester City and scored the decisive penalty.