PNE defender on Red alert

Scott Laird tracks Jordan Henderson last summer
Scott Laird tracks Jordan Henderson last summer
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Preston North End left-back Scott Laird thinks he will be better prepared to cope with Liverpool this weekend than on their previous visit to Deepdale last summer.

The Lilywhites host Brendan Rodgers’ side in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.

In the corresponding game 12 months ago, Liverpool ran out 4-0 winners and PNE were left chasing shadows for long periods.

It was particularly tough for Laird , who had just come back from a long-term injury at the time.

But a year on, and boosted by Tuesday night’s goal against Chorley which he rates as the best of his career, Laird is looking forward to the opening home friendly.

“When we played Liverpool last summer it was my first game back after eight months out with the broken leg,” Laird told the Evening Post.

“I was marking Philippe Coutinho too, which was interesting – I still have nightmares about that!

“But this will be a great game to play in and is good preparation for us in terms of us getting our fitness and match sharpness.

“We know that Liverpool won’t have their World Cup players here but whatever side they put out will be strong.

“They will bring a lot of fans and the whole aura which Liverpool have about them makes it special. It is going to be a big test and is one we are looking forward to – pitting our wits against a top Premier League side.

“We all had a good 45 minutes at Chorley the other night to get ourselves up and running in terms of playing again.”

Laird was on target with North End’s first goal in their 3-2 win over the Magpies, his shot from 30 yards dragged them back into the contest after they had gone 2-0 down.

Joe Garner and Andy Little then got their names on the scoresheet.

Said Laird: “Neil Kilkenny played a short free-kick to me and I just thought, ‘Stuff it, I’ll have a shot’.

“I know I can kick the ball quite sweetly when I catch it right, and it was nice to see it fly into the top corner.

“I didn’t celebrate and just walked back to the centre.

“There was the joy of it being the best goal I have scored, mixed in with the fact we had been 2-0 down having not played too well.

“My focus was getting the ball back and trying to get another goal.

“It gave us a way back into the game and the boys in the second-half team did well to go on and win it.

“Chorley played really well – that was my third time there and every year they have got better and better.

“You can see why they won promotion last season and I’m sure they will be a force in the Conference North this time.

“We had the advantage of a bigger squad, which meant we could change the team at half-time, while Chorley had to change things as they were going along.

“In the second half we passed the ball better and dominated much of it.”

Admission to the Liverpool game is £15 for adults, £10 for ambassadors who have renewed this season, and £5 for concessions.