Liverpool draw a blank at Bury

Pre-season friendly
Bury 0 Liverpool 0

THE signs are promising for Bury ahead of their new campaign - at least defensively.

The Shakers' opening pre-season games had, so far, seen them ship 10 goals, away at Rangers and at home to Huddersfield Town.

Yet here they managed to keep one of the top clubs in Europe at bay, including former England striker Daniel Sturridge and Belgian international forward Divock Origi.

Bury conceded 71 goals last season on their way to relegation to League Two, which was the third-highest in the division.

And what didn't help was the turnover of players they used at the back.

But Ryan Lowe's men have been boosted by the return from injury of Irish centre-half Eoghan O'Connell, as well as Adam Thompson, who is back at Gigg Lane after a loan spell at Bradford City.

Add to that exciting young right-back Ryan Cooney and left-back Callum McFadzean, who is expected to sign for the club soon, and their defensive unit is certainly improved.

Bury, who started with new signing, striker Gold Omotayo, were on the back foot in the opening stages.

Sturridge nearly gave Liverpool the lead in the seventh minute after he latched on to a Sheyi Ojo pass, but Bury goalkeeper Joe Murphy did well to block it after racing off his line.

Then Sturridge turned provider as he crossed the ball in for Ono, only for Thompson to clear the ball and head it over the crossbar.

Fabinho, Liverpool's £43.7 million buy from Monaco, was dominating the centre of the park and put in a few tasty challenges, despite the fact it was a pre-season friendly.

Northern Irishman Thompson was at it again minutes later when he blocked a shot from the six-yard line, before O'Connell stopped Ojo's curling effort.

Bury almost took the lead on the half-hour mark.

Alberto Moreno's dreadful back pass was read by Omotayo and he took the ball around Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius, but his first touch was too heavy and the ball went behind for a goal kick.

There was nearly 7,000 fans at Gigg Lane - and more than 5,000 of them had made the trip down the M62 from Merseyside.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp changed his whole side for the second-half, with the exception of Karius.

The visitors were again on the front foot, with Andy Robertson's cross to Joe Gomez cleared behind by Thompson.

Chris Dagnall then nearly gave Bury the lead when he was put through by Stephen Dawson, only for Karius to block his effort, with Cooney then dragging the follow-up effort wide.

The action quickly switched to the other end and Ben Woodburn's shot from 12-yards was destined for the top corner before Bury goalkeeper Joe Murphy got a hand to it and diverted the ball around the post.

Then Naby Keita wriggled free from four Bury defenders and found youngster Rafa Camacho, but his effort went inches wide of Murphy's post.

Bury had the ball in the back of the Liverpool net in the 75th minute.

Jordan Archer, who signed from Chester during the week, converted Harry Bunn's free-kick, but the referee deemed his effort to be offside.

The search for the opener continued into injury time when youngster Nathan Phillips' shot just went wide of the post after he linked up well with Keita.

But Bury held firm and will hope to do the same on Wednesday when they meet Liverpool's crosstown rivals Everton at Gigg Lane.

Liverpool will travel to Blackburn Rovers the following night, before heading off on their pre-season tour of America.

Lowe said: "The performance was very good and we had worked on our defensive shape.

"I was pleased with the way they worked and their mentality, and managing against Jürgen Klopp will live with me for ever."

Klopp said: "Nil-nil isn't a big problem, but I would have liked a win.

"Smarter decisions in some situations would have got us a win."

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