Aspas stars as Liverpool begin pre-season with big Preston win

Liverpool new boy Iago Aspas caught the eye as Brendan Rodgers’ side began their pre-season programme with a 4-0 win over Preston North End, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

Aspas scored one and created one of the comfortable victory, teeing up Raheem Sterling shortly after the hour mark and finding the net himself 10 minutes later. The newspaper claims it was an encouraging start for both Aspas and Rodgers – the former suggesting he can claim a regular place in the Reds’ first team, the latter because he is facing a dearth of strikers ahead of the new season.

Daniel Sturridge is unlikely to be fit for the start of the new season, the Telegraph notes, while Andy Carroll has joined West Ham on a permanent basis and Luis Suarez is angling for a move away from Anfield – possibly to Chelsea, Arsenal or Real Madrid. Aspas, a £7m signing from Celta Vigo, is likely to be charged with replacing the absent forwards.

The friendly between Liverpool and Preston, at Preston’s Deepdale ground, was held on what would have been the 100th birthday of Bill Shankly, who managed both clubs. The game played host to the first Liverpool appearances of not only Aspas but also goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, bought from Sunderland, former Manchester City defender Kolo Toure and midfielder Luis Alberto, drafted in from Sevilla.

Philippe Coutinho, from the penalty spot, and teenager Jordan Ibe, scored the game’s other two goals, both coming in the first-half.

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