On a day when two sides came together to rally behind the noble cause of a former player, it was the veteran star on the pitch, James Milner, who set the tone.
Bradford and Liverpool
put on a pre-season spectacle which was about so much more than simply football, with Stephen Darby watching on from the stands.
The former defender was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in September 2018, and was afforded a rousing reception on the pitch prior to this contest which aimed to raise both money and awareness for the cause via the Darby Rimmer Foundation.
Addressing both sets of supporters prior to the match, Darby was
welcomed by both sets of supporters
while his wife, England international Steph Houghton, watched on from the stands.
On his return to west Yorkshire, it was Milner who would break the deadlock in the contest, picking up the ball on the edge of the area from a quickly played corner, before dropping the shoulder and rasping an effort through a crowded area of bodies and into the back of the net.
Less than a minute later and the ever-faithful right boot of Milner had doubled the margin, this time from the penalty spot after winger Ryan Kent found himself hauled to the ground.
The sold-out Valley Parade bristled with noise, as both sets of supporters boomed out Stephen Darby's name to the tune of The Human League's 'Dont you want me', following a social media campaign by players past and present
After applying increasingly more pressure, Jurgen Klopp's side were rewarded with a third courtesy of the industrious Rhian Brewster – slotting in from a the most narrow of angles with the help of a deflection following Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's blocked attempt.
Completely revised teams after the half-time interval extracted a little tempo from the tie, with Klopp growing animated on the touchline as his side continually failed to find the final through-ball.
Bradford were granted a consolation in the closing stages, after Adam Lewis's rash challenge on Clayton Donaldson inside the area saw the referee pointing to the spot.
Up stepped Eoin Doyle and Simon Mignolet was sent the wrong way, despite the Belgian's best efforts of rattling his own crossbar in the build-up to hamper the concentration of his opponent.
Liverpool will now take to the United States for their pre-season tour, and will next feature in action against Klopp's former side Borussia Dortmund in Indiana on Saturday, July 20.