Goals from James Milner and Ki-Jana Hoever gave Liverpool a win that looks more comfortable than it was. MK had chances to force themselves in front and then back into the game, but their finishing was less on-point than their pressing and that, in the end, was the difference between the teams.
MK started well, putting Liverpool under pressure all over the pitch and making a couple of serious chances that were missed by Conor McGrandles and Alex GIlbey. In between times, Elliott and Milner missed for Liverpool before, on 41 minutes, Milner’s shot was spilled and flapped into his own net by Stuart Moore.
The second half started slowly, but MK gradually upped the pressure and on 59 minutes Jordan Bowery's shot hit the post. Soon after, though, it was all over, Milner given far too long to pick a cross and Hoever thundering home a debut header.
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Both teams had more chances, Harvey Elliott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both hitting the woodwork and Bowery missing an extremely presentable header, but the final score was a fair reflection of both play and chances. Whoever they put on the pitch at the moment, Liverpool look ominous.

TALKING POINT

How will Keita come back? Liverpool went to a lot of trouble to sign Naby Keita, whose first season was extremely disappointing. He was improving when injury brought it to an early close, and he can be excused in any case given it was his first in England. But the onus is on him to deliver now, because his team still lack midfield guile and goals. Can he do it?

MAN OF THE MATCH

Harvey Elliott (Liverpool) Showed exactly why Jurgen Klopp was so eager to sign him, playing with skill, vision, power and bravery.

PLAYER RATINGS

MK Dons: Moore 5, Walsh 6, Poole 6, Williams 6, Brittain 5, Kasumu 5, McGrandles 5, Gilbey 6, Dickenson 5, Bowery 6, Nombe 7. Subs: Martin 6, Houghton 6, Boateng 6.
Liverpool: Kelleher 7, Hoever 7, Gomez 6, Lovren 6, Milner 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Lallana 6, Keita 5, Elliott 7, Brewster 6, Jones 7. Subs: Chirivella 6, Kane 6, Van den Berg 6.

KEY STAT

Ki-Jana Hoever is Liverpool's fourth-youngest competitive scorer at 17 years 250 days - behind Ben Woodburm, Michael Owen and Jordan Rossiter.

KEY MOMENTS

11’ - WHAT A MISS! Lovely from Nombe, dashing in behind at inside-right to rob Lovren and cutting into the box before losing the ball ... and winning it back, setting up McGrandles who, from eight yards and with the whole goal to aim at, swipes over the top!

12’ - ANOTHER HORRENDOUS MISS! Milner ploughs towards the by-line, turning Williams inside and out before sliding through legs to Elliott, alone and palely loitering at the far post! The keeper is elsewhere and there's no one on the line - all he has to do is hit the target, but instead he drags it from slightly behind him to crash against the bar!

25’ - I'll say it again because it's so again: MK are doing brilliantly off the ball to deny Liverpool time and space. So far, their wide players are struggling to get into the game ... but look at this! Elliott takes a pass with a glorious first touch that takes him inside Dickenson, and he then flights a fantastic ball over the defence for Milner at the far post! He should score, but stoops to head across Moore and wide, just.

41’ - OH DEAR! GOAL! MK Dons 0-1 Liverpool (Milner) Milner takes the ball on the left corner of the box and thrashes across a shot that moves slightly in the air but is straight at Moore ... who somehow spills it, unable to retrieve with a desperate dive and flap. Ouch!

59’ - Nice from Gilbey, curling in a cross that Martin flicks on ... AND THERE'S BOWERY! He stretches to shoot ... and the ball gently nestles against the base of the post before easing wide!


69’ - DEBUT GOAL! MK Dons 0-2 Liverpool (Hoever) Lallana slides Milner away down the left, and with no pressure on the ball, he stands up a cross that Hoever meets on the run, thunking a header past Moore. Game over.

75’ - Oxlade-Chamberlain picks up possession 25 yards out and lashes a shot perfectly straight that crashes against the bottom of the near post. He's been quiet tonight, but that's a reminder of his gamebreaking ability.

76’ - Boateng seizes on and up and under, skipping past Lallana before sticking in a perfect cross for Bowery ... who gets up well, only to head directly at Kelleher. Decent save, but he oughtn't to have smelled it.
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