•Sturridge opens the scoring as Liverpool dominate Dortmund in 4-0 win
•Lovren scores soon after from a corner on his first Anfield appearance
•Phillippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson complete rout in the second half
•Liverpool’s final pre-season game before Premier League begins next week
Liverpool concluded their preparations for the new campaign with a victory and performance that suggests life without Luis Suarez might not be so daunting.
Inspired by the craft and dancing feet of Philippe Coutinho, a player whom Brendan Rodgers refers to as his team’s “brain”, Liverpool flattened Borussia Dortmund 4-0 to show they are primed to burst out of the blocks when the real business begins next week.
Southampton will be the opposition in seven days’ time and new Saints boss Ronald Koeman, who was sat in the Anfield Directors’ Box with former Liverpool stalwart Sammy Lee, will have been given plenty to think about ahead of the opening game.
Flying starts became something of a Liverpool trademark last season, when they came within two points of winning the Barclays Premier League, and they showed that again here, as goals from Daniel Sturridge and new signing Dejan Lovren in the first 13 minutes effectively settled the game.
But Liverpool did not ease up against opponents who were behind them in their fitness programme and were missing several key players; after the break, they doubled their tally with strikes from Coutinho and Jordan Henderson.
While Rodgers will not get carried away by the scoreline against opponents they could face in the Champions League, there was much for the manager to be content with, not least the performance of £20million defender Lovren.
Commanding and dominant from the first whistle, he snapped into tackles and used the ball well, showing why Rodgers was so eager to make him the most expensive defender in Liverpool’s history at £20million.
The undisputed star of the show, however, was Coutinho, who provided the assist for the opening strike for Sturridge with a deft ball into a space that demanded Sturridge bear down on Dortmund keeper Mitchell Langerak and he made no mistake, finishing nonchalantly with his left foot.
One quickly became two and Lovren marked his debut in style, rising highest in the 13th minute to power in a header from Steven Gerrard’s precise corner; given how much Lovren wanted this move to happen, it was clear to see how much the goal meant to him.
There were more chances before the interval; Coutinho picked out Raheem Sterling with a gem of a pass but the England winger could not make it count, while Gerrard tested Langerak with a dipping free-kick that was ultimately pushed over the bar.