Pál Dárdai sent the lads out to face the Reds in a 4-3-3 formation. New signing Stevan Jovetić started on the bench while Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp named attacking stars Mo Salah and Sadio Mané in the starting line-up. Former Bundesliga players Ibrahima Konaté, Joel Matip and Naby Keïta also started for the Reds.
Ascacíbar and Serdar fire Hertha ahead - Reds fight back
Hertha had the first chance of the game at the Tivoli Stadion in Innsbruck: Prince Boateng demanded the ball after Suat Serdar had pinched it from the opposition, but the midfielder’s effort missed the target (7’). Liverpool cranked up the pressure in the minutes that followed, with Salah forcing Alexander Schwolow into a save after 14 minutes. Just two minutes later, the ‘keeper pulled off another smart stop to keep out a header from Mané. In the 21st minute, Hertha struck: Marvin Plattenhardt lofted a free-kick towards the back stick where it was Santiago Ascacíbar who stretched out a leg to force it home. 1-0! The Argentine sadly had to leave the game as a precaution having collided with goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher. Hertha pressed on with another Plattenhardt cross glancing off the woodwork (27’). The next foray forward brought a second Hertha goal; Suat Serdar hammered the ball into the top corner after picking the ball up from Dodi Lukébakio (31’). Serdar’s glorious finish gave Hertha a two-goal lead, though that advantage unfortunately wouldn’t last. Klopp’s men struck back first through Mané (37’) and then through Minamino (42’). With that, an eventful half drew to a close with the score tied at 2-2.
Dream debut for Stefan Jovetić
The second half began with the Merseysiders well on top and looking to force home a third goal. Schwolow and his backline were called into action time and time again, but the lads were able to weather the storm without any damage. Head coach Dárdai handed a debut to Jovetić with an hour gone, replacing Boateng, while Klopp used the stoppage to make five changes. It didn’t take long for the Montenegrin to make his mark off the bench; Lukébakio sent a wonderful cross into the middle, where Jovetić split the defenders and headed the ball home (66’). Seven more changes followed for Hertha, while Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk celebrated his comeback after many months on the sidelines. Amid all the changes, Hertha continued to soak up Liverpool pressure. And then came the suckerpunch, with Stevan Jovetić leading the charge again; the substitute waltzed into the box on the counter before keeping his composure and firing home Hertha’s fourth goal (80’). The move was started by Hertha youngster Ruwen Werthmüller, who won the ball back before moving it on smartly. Liverpool refused to lie down, scoring a late consolation through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (88’). But it was just a consolation, and Hertha were able to celebrate a stunning 4-3 victory come the final whistle.
There’s not long to wait before Hertha’s next friendly. The Old Lady will take on Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal at 18:00 CEST on Friday.
Hertha BSC: Schwolow – Pekarík (68’ Klünter), Stark (C) (68’ Gechter), M. Dárdai (68’ Morgenstern), Plattenhardt (68’ Mittelstädt) – Serdar (46’ Dirkner), Ascacíbar (25’ Darida), Boateng (60’ Jovetić) – Lukébakio (68’ Zeefuik), Selke (68’ Werthmüller), Dilrosun (68’ Jastrzembski)
Liverpool FC: Kelleher (46’ Adrián) – Alexander-Arnold (60’ N. Williams), Konaté (46’ R. Williams, 68’ Gomez), Matip (46’ Philips, 68’ Van Dijk), Tsimikas (46’ Robertson) – Elliott (46’ Jones), Keïta (60’ Morton), Milner (C) (60’ Clarkson) – Salah (60’ Gordon), Minamino (46’ Oxlade-Chamberlain), Mané (60’ Diogo Jota)
Goals: 1-0 Ascacíbar (21’), 2-0 Serdar (31’), 2-1 Mané (37’), 2-2 Minamino (42’), 3-2 Jovetić (66’), 4-2 Jovetić (80’), 4-3 Oxlade-Chamberlain (88’)
Yellow cards: Selke – Konaté, Gomez
Referee: Daniel Pfister