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Thursday 08 August 2013

Friendlies review: Six out of six for Liverpool

Reds complete 4-1 win over Valerenga; Chelsea beaten 3-1 by Ronaldo-inspired Real Madrid

  • Iago Aspas was on target for Liverpool against Valerenga

  • Ramires equalises for Chelsea against Real Madrid at Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens

  • Madrid's Ronaldo (left) curls a free-kick over the Chelsea wall and past Petr Cech

  • Chelsea were well supported on their United States tour

Valerenga 1-4 Liverpool

Liverpool extended their pre-season winning streak to six matches on Wednesday evening as they recorded a comfortable victory over Valerenga at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo.

Playing in front of the club's principal owner, John Henry, the Reds maintained their formidable close-season form thanks to goals by Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Martin Kelly and Raheem Sterling.

Brendan Rodgers, who made nine changes from the side which started Steven Gerrard's testimonial at the weekend, fielded an XI that was without injured striker Luis Suarez (foot) but they started brightly with Jordan Henderson, Aspas and Stewart Downing going close before Alberto struck a 31st-minute volley past Gudmund Taksdal Kongshavn.

Although the Norwegian side responded through Giancarlo Gonzalez's header four minutes later, the visitors extended their lead before half-time as Aspas pounced on Downing's centre.

On 54 minutes Liverpool were firmly in control as Kelly prodded in from close range, and within 60 seconds Kole Toure almost had his first goal for his new club, only for his powerful header to cannon back off the bar. Fabio Borini followed suit with a 20-yard effort that also struck the woodwork before Sterling ensured a sixth straight success for the Merseysiders.

Match report

Real Madrid 3-1 Chelsea

Chelsea suffered their first defeat of their pre-season tour as they lost the inaugural Guinness International Champions Cup final to Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho gave Frank Lampard his first start following an Achilles injury as the Portuguese manager sought to overcome the side he left in the summer but two goals by Cristiano Ronaldo, after Ramires had cancelled out Marcelo's opening goal, put paid to the Blues' challenge.

Marcelo made the breakthrough early on when he eluded the attentions of Ramires to race on to Luka Modric's through-ball and beat Petr Cech, but Chelsea responded instantly. Ramires made amends by latching on to a fine one-touch build-up involving Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku to lift the ball deftly over Iker Casillas.

Real hit back through Ronaldo's 30-yard free-kick that left Cech with no chance. The UEFA Europa League holders were almost level when Ramires put Hazard through seven minutes into the second half, only for Casillas to save the Belgium international's shot with his legs. Ronaldo put the match beyond doubt five minutes later when he headed in Isco's cross.

Match report

Midtjylland 0-1 Sunderland

Sunderland completed their pre-season preparations with a narrow win over Midtjylland.

Adam Johnson's early finish proved the difference between the two sides as the Black Cats saw off an in-form Midtjylland side who are top of the Danish Superliga. The winger's goal was the game's best moment as Paolo Di Canio made three changes to the side who were narrowly defeated by Manchester City in the Barclays Asia Trophy final, drafting in Keiren Westwood, Carlos Cuellar and Valentin Roberge.

The hosts threatened first when Marco Larsen forced a save from Westwood, but Sunderland soon took control with a fine finish from Johnson on six minutes. The England winger, lurking on the edge of the penalty area, received a neat back-heel from Jozy Altidore before sending a left-footed shot inside goalkeeper Jonas Lossl's far post.

Johnson's strike settled the game down, but Sunderland were thankful to Westwood for a series of saves, while at the other end Stephane Sessegnon came close to making it 2-0 seven minutes from time when he concluded a mazy run with a shot that crashed off the crossbar.

Match report

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