Digital Football Journalist
Liverpool 2-2 Sporting: Bruno Fernandes nets in impressive performance
Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum on target for Jurgen Klopp's side
Last Updated: 25/07/19 11:00am
Bruno Fernandes excelled with a goal and an assist as Liverpool ended their US tour with a 2-2 draw with Sporting.
The Portuguese midfielder, who has been linked with Manchester United, scored a fortuitous opener inside five minutes at Yankee Stadium when his routine effort from 25 yards was misjudged by Simon Mignolet and deflected in.
Liverpool responded well and Divock Origi poked in when Jordan Henderson's header was saved (20) and they took a half-time lead when Georginio Wijnaldum's effort struck Luis Neto on its way past Renan Ribeiro a minute before the break.
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Sporting got back on level terms nine minutes into the second half when Fernandes sold Trent Alexander-Arnold with a lovely turn before feeding Wendel to slot in the equaliser.
Despite forcing a number of saves out of Mignolet as the game wore on, the Portuguese side could not find a winner.
Starting XI: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Fabinho; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi, Wijnaldum.
How Liverpool ended their US tour
Mignolet gaffed with just four minutes on the clock when Fernandes' well-struck but saveable effort from distance struck his arm and deflected into the bottom corner.
Liverpool picked themselves up and levelled when Wijnaldum kept a long ball into the box alive, crossed for Henderson and Origi mopped up once his captain's header had been saved.
Sporting wasted two fine chances to restore their lead when Wendell saw a fine 20-yard effort clatter off the post and moments later Ilori somehow turned a pinpoint cross wide from six yards.
Liverpool then punished some hesitant defending when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross-field ball was misjudged by Ilori who missed it entirely, giving Wijnaldum space to turn inside and beat Ribeiro with the help of a deflection off Neto.
There was still time for more at both ends and only Fernandes' sensational sprint and block stopped Wijnaldum adding a second before half-time. At the other end, Mignolet redeemed his early error with a wonderful double save from two close-range Luciano Vietto efforts.
After half-time, an even game swung in Sporting's favour and they twice came close to levelling before finally doing so when Fernandes found Alexander-Arnold out of position on the Liverpool right. When the defender caught up with him, he turned him with some impressive trickery before squaring for Wendel, who took a touch and fired into the far corner.
Liverpool may have edged back ahead had Virgil van Dijk, already denied by a save earlier in the game, not headed against the woodwork from an Alexander-Arnold corner soon after. Most of the half belonged to Sporting who nearly went in front when Rafinha and Cabral found themselves two-on-two, and the former forced a sprawling save from Mignolet.
There was little evidence of Klopp's flowing football in the latter stages as a number of Liverpool changes killed their already inconsistent rhythm, and in the end a draw proved a result they would probably be happy with.
How did Fernandes play?
If this was an audition against a top Premier League side with Manchester United ready to try to bring him to Old Trafford, Fernandes got the part.
He was excellent with and without the ball, had a touch of fortune about his opener but made his own luck with his athletic performance. He always wanted the ball and generally moved it on into a more dangerous area and even sprinted back to block Wijnaldum from doubling his tally in first-half injury time with a wonderful block.
The 24-year-old played a little deeper than he has at times for Sporting, in what was often a box-to-box role rather than at 10, but he looked versatile and just as confident and capable when he was further forward.
How will Liverpool judge their trip Stateside?
This was the last of three games Liverpool played during their brief US tour, and the first they have not lost. It's only pre-season but just as they had against Dortmund and Sevilla, they looked very open defensively, in stark contrast to their Premier League campaign last season.
There was some food for thought for Jurgen Klopp with Wijnaldum impressing on the left of a front three, although when Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri return he will surely return to being a last-resort in that position.
Elsewhere, Origi looked promising leading the line and still enjoying the confidence that scoring in a Champions League final must bring, netting for the second game in a row.
Overall, while Liverpool still look some way off in terms of their tactical preparation, their first-team squad have remained fit and played three high-level games while Stateside, and that can only help their cause.
After arriving back in the UK, Liverpool play host to Napoli at Edinburgh's Murrayfield on Sunday at 5pm.