Tranmere Rovers 0, Liverpool FC 6

LEAGUE Two Play-off winners Tranmere suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of European Champions Liverpool, as both sides kicked off their pre-season schedules in front of a packed Prenton Park.

Nathaniel Clyne, Rhian Brewster (2), Curtis Jones, Divock Origi and Bobby Duncan all found the net for the Reds, in this now annual curtain-raiser that is essentially a revenue-making exercise for newly-promoted Rovers.

Micky Mellon handed first starts to new recruits George Ray and Corey Blackett-Taylor, with Connor Jennings supporting Paul Mullin up top.

Liverpool had a host of big names missing from their squad, but there were starts for Simon Mignolet, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana, with Champions League Final goal-scorer Origi settling for a place on the bench.

The Reds took the lead in the sixth minute when Rhian Brewster found Clyne on the edge of the box who cannoned the ball into the top corner, with a blistering strike.

A mistake in the visitors' rear guard presented a chance for Mullin to equalise but Joe Gomez was able to get in a vital block to deny him.

Liverpool almost doubled their lead when Lallana and Yasser Larouci combined beautifully, but the latter could only fire his shot over the bar, aided by a touch from Scott Davies.

Larouci was denied again by Davies, diving to his left, as the European Champions continued to ask all the questions.

But Mignolet needed to be alert to prevent Blackett-Taylor from 20 yards out, with Rovers fans getting a first real glimpse of the winger's ability.

A Harry Wilson free kick hit the wall before Ryan Kent blazed over, as the Reds continued to toil.

They eventually doubled their lead seven minutes before the break when a shot across the box from Wilson was superbly headed home from close range by Brewster.

Rovers responded with a direct run through the middle from Blackett-Taylor, but he opted to take his strike early and it was comfortably dealt with by Mignolet.

Liverpool added a third just before half-time when Davies was only able to parry a shot from Milner, allowing Brewster to slam home his second on the rebound.

Tranmere made a whole host of changes at half time, while Liverpool replaced their entire starting XI.

New striker Stefan Payne wasn't included on the team sheet, but nevertheless, trotted out for the second half, partnering Ishmael Miller up front.

Liverpool netted a fourth on 53 minutes when Jones side-footed home a cross to the back post from Ben Woodburn.

Rovers' opportunities were, as you might expect, in limited supply, but when Miller drove into the penalty box his shot was saved by Vitezslav Jaros, to the annoyance of Payne who was wide open to his right.

That was quickly punished by Liverpool, as Origi collected a ball over the top on the hour mark and expertly converted a fifth goal without reply.

Tranmere were struggling to cope with the quick movement of their Premier League guests who added a sixth through young hopeful Bobby Duncan with the best part of 25 minutes still to play.

When Rovers finally did pull one back, via a low arrowed shot from substitute Danny Walker-Rice, it was cruelly chalked off for an offside flag.

One concern for Tranmere would be the sight of imposing centre back Manny Monthe hobbling off, but this was never an even contest, rendering the score line immaterial.

Of the new recruits, Blackett-Taylor was by far the most exciting on show and the Super White Army should quite rightly look forward to seeing more of him as pre-season moves forward.

Tranmere's assistant manager Mike Jackson said: "You don't want to lose any game, especially in your own ground and you get beat 6-0, we understand that, but you're playing against top opposition.

"We're disappointed but in the big scheme of things it’s about us getting minutes and players getting used to each other, with new players coming in.

"I've been involved in stuff like this pre-season before as a player and coaching. Sometimes you just have to move on from it, learn little bits from it and take it for what it is.

"I thought Corey Blackett-Taylor did really well. (Paul) Mullin's had a decent chance, but in these sorts of games you've got to take them when you can.

"We've got four positions across the top and we want them to be able to play in different positions.

"Regarding another striker coming in, you don't know, but we'll always be trying to get the best possible squad within our budget.


Match stats:

Tranmere starting XI: Davies, Ridehalgh, Ray, Monthe, Morris, Mullin, Jennings, Caprice, Perkins, Blackett-Taylor, Banks

Tranmere subs: Pilling, Woods, Nelson, Potter, Spellman, Walker-Rice, Miller, Ponticelli, Gilmour

Liverpool starting XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Milner, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Brewster, Kent, Phillips, Wilson, Larouci

Liverpool subs: Jaros, Fabinho, Origi, Matip, Lewis, Jones, Hoever, Duncan, Woodburn, Glatzel, Johnston

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)