Some sparkling attacking play in the first half saw the Reds canter to 3-0 at the break through goals to Rafael Camacho, Sheyi Ojo and Adam Lallana, before two defensive errors, including another shocking mistake by Loris Karius, saw the hosts claw themselves back to 3-2 in the second half through goals to Jonny Smith and Amadou Soukouna – and almost equalise in the final moments.
As pleased as Jurgen Klopp will have been by the first 45 minutes, he will be at least the equal in fury at the shoddy second half. Same old Liverpool.
Here are our ratings for both Liverpool XIs – one in each half – used on the day.
I don't like being a twat to a Liverpool player, but just get it done. Bring in Schmeichel or someone. It's obvious we can't begin the campaign with Karius as no.1. Mindbogglingly obvious. Wish the lad well but it's not going to work with us.— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) July 10, 2018
FIRST HALF (4-1-2-3)
Danny Ward – 7: called on to make a super save on 33 minutes from Norwood, and then pushed away the resulting corner, did all he could to impress and surely must be given an opportunity ahead of the befuddled Karius.
Rafael Camacho – 9: played at right wing back though he is usually a midfielder, he finished his goal superbly and showed exceptional pace on occasion, set up a great chance for Lallana, the former Portugal Under 17 star is a real live wire and at just 18 has great potential.
Nat Phillips – 7: formed a solid central defence with Klavan and got forward well on two occasions to put headers on target, calm and confident 21-year-old, looks very promising.
Ragnar Klavan – 6: nearly shown up for pace once, didn’t have a lot to do at the back and so was rarely threatened, not as impressive as either Camacho or Phillips however getting forward.
Andrew Robertson – 7: good early chance missed, pin point cross for Solanke’s chance, formed excellent partnership with Kent and Lallana, was rarely threatened at the back and got forward well – as usual
Fabinho – 7: worked hard as a screen in front of the back four, combined well with Keita and pushed forward on occasion when the chance came, linked well between backs and forwards, busy game.
Naby Keita – 7: was closed down quickly early and lost possession once, not as dominant as against Chester, starting to develop a partnership with Fabinho, came into the game more as the half went by with some lovely touches.
Ryan Kent – 8: set up superb early chance for Robertson, worked very well on the left with Lallana, a constant menace to the Tranmere defence, impressive performance.
Adam Lallana – 7: got involved right from the start, linked well with Robertson and Kent down the left, finished his goal well with a strong left foot finish, grew into the game as the half progressed.
Dominic Solanke – 5: missed a simple chance set up by Robertson and another simple header from Lallana, gets in good positions and links well but looks less and less a Liverpool player, not a good enough source of goals.
Sheyi Ojo – 9: goal and an assist, did brilliantly to hold on to the ball on the right and set up Camacho for the opener, found space on the left to just send one by the right upright, then scored on the right soon after, only blemish missing a straight forward header late on. Gets better and better.
SECOND HALF – (4-1-2-3)
Loris Karius – 4: poor clearance almost presented Tranmere with a rare sight of goal, then fumbled a straight-forward free kick to present Smith with his goal, should have done better with the second, nightmare of the Champions League continues. Surely Klopp go not go into the season with the gaff-prone German as his No1.
Nathaniel Clyne – 6: Nice one-two with Wilson but scuffed the resulting chance, gave away the questionable free kick that led to Smith’s goal, a great ball in that Wilson and Origi both failed to convert.
Joe Gomez – 6: got forward often and had two good chances he could not convert, some poor defending to let Smith in for a chance that he did not convert.
Pedro Chirivella – 7: playing in the unfamiliar role of centre back but handled it comfortably except for one glaring error, worked hard when needed, nice interception to break down a promising Tranmere break, bad mix up with Milner to give the second goal to Amadou Soukouna.
Alberto Moreno – 6: was asked very few questions in defence and got down the left without ever delivering the telling pass, a middling game where he did nothing outstanding either good or bad.
James Milner – 7: Strong and controlled as the screen in front of the back four, nice distribution and linked well, will be disappointed about the mix-up with Chirivella that presented goal to Soukouna.
Ben Woodburn – 6: disappeared for much of the half as he did against Chester, Klopp is using him in a central midfield role which Woodburn does not seem to have warmed to, looks a shadow of the player who burst into the side so impressively last season, but grew into the role during the half and delivered some telling balls as the game wore on.
Curtis Jones- 8: 17-year-old Academy player has looked superb against Chester and again tonight, busy off the ball with some great movement, looks a great prospect, worked hard right to the end trying to find the fourth goal.
Harry Wilson- 7: Set up Clyne superbly with a lovely turn on the edge of the box and lively with and without the ball through the entire 45-minutes, classy youngster, missed two good chances late in the half which drags his ranking down
Divock Origi – 6: one good early run down the left but couldn’t make the best of the resulting chance, made up a good combination at times with Clyne down the right, worked hard and tried to get on the ball without doing a lot with it, lost his goal scoring touch
Daniel Sturridge – 7: has looked extremely sharp in pre-season, dropped back to play the false nine role usually played by Roberto Firmino, good distribution and silky on the ball, strong effort on 78 minutes from the left but well saved by the Tranmere keeper, needed to score to really cap a good afternoon.
The 21-year-old has consistently been the Under-23’s best player over the last two seasons and he enhanced his reputation further with an impressive five months at Sky Bet Championship Hull, scoring seven times in 13 matches.
Around a dozen clubs, including Celtic, have made enquiries about the Wales international, whom Press Association Sport understands is set to sign a new contract at Anfield, but Wilson wants to prove his worth to Jurgen Klopp in pre-season.
“The dream of mine is to play regularly for Liverpool’s first team,” he said.
“At the moment I am getting the chance to train at Melwood and get minutes in the friendlies and my aim is to impress the manager and stay here.
Curtis Jones’ ball to Harry Wilson was gravy... pic.twitter.com/nROFNESF8T— LFC Podcasting Couch (@PodcastingCouch) July 7, 2018
“If that’s not possible then we will weigh up the options and go from there.
“Everyone wants to start games. If that’s not the case and you’re on the bench then you need to be ready to come on and make an impact.”
Wilson, who scored twice in Saturday’s 2-0 friendly win at Chester, believes his spell at Hull provided the perfect grounding to make the step up to the first team.
“It was what I needed – a lot of minutes in a competitive league in the Championship,” he added. “What I achieved while I was at Hull has given me a lot of confidence coming back to Liverpool.
“I always had the belief in my myself but I wanted to show people that I could handle that step up to senior football.
“Maybe there were a few doubts from my first loan (at Crewe in 2016) about whether I could handle it.
“I was glad that I was able to go to Hull and prove those people wrong.”
Both the clubs are keen to replace their key players who departed only recently.
While Norwich midfielder James Maddison moved to Leicester, David Brooks left Sheffield United for Bournemouth and therefore both clubs are wanting to secure the services of the 18-year old on a temporarily.
Woodburn though, having started in Liverpool’s 7-0 win over Chester on Saturday, is expected to play in the next three friendlies against Tranmere, Bury and Blackburn.
And manager Jurgen Klopp wants to take his time before deciding what will be the perfect destination for the young Welshman for his growth as a player.
However, a decision on Woodburn’s loan move could be made before the Reds travel for their three-game tour of the US later this month.