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Round-up of this weekend’s pre-season friendly action

The new Premier League season is almost upon us, and the top flight sides have been putting in their final pre-season preparations before the campaign kick-off.

Here’s a round-up of the weekend’s results.

Liverpool 2-1 Swindon Town
Christian Benteke struck a sensational volley on his Liverpool debut to help Brendan Rodgers’ Reds secure a 2-1 triumph over Swindon Town, capping off a successful pre-season tour for the Merseysiders this summer. They are 22/1 with Coral to lift their maiden Premier League crown this term.

Having recently sealed a big-money move from Aston Villa, all eyes were on Belgium international frontman Benteke, and he didn’t disappoint. Joining fellow new acquisition Roberto Firmino in making their first starts, and the deadly duo linked up well, as the Brazilian’s through ball almost ended in a Benteke opener.

Although, two minutes after half-time, Benteke made an instant impact, perfectly controlling a lofted pass from Joao Teixeira before rifling in his first goal for the club.

Benteke netted again moments later was judged to be offside, but Sheyi Ojo’s late strike edged Liverpool ahead for the win, following an earlier equaliser from Swindon’s Jonathan Obika.

Everton 2-1 Villarreal (Duncan Ferguson testimonial)
Wayne Rooney received a great reception from Everton fans at Goodison Park, as he came on as a substitute in former Toffees striker Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial clash against Spanish side Villarreal.

The Manchester United skipper came on for the final 15 minutes of the game, in front of 34k rapturous fans, while Ferguson himself was introduced after 83 minutes.

Everton were overcome 2-1, with Gerard Moreno tapping home from a Leo Baptistao pass, before Matias Nahuel doubled the Spaniard’s lead, though Browning was able to pull back a consolation late on.

West Brom 4-0 Bristol Rovers
Rickie Lambert made a dream start to life with West Bromwich Albion, as he struck on either side of half-time to help his new side clinch a 4-0 triumph over Bristol Rovers.

Making his debut only hours after completing his medical at The Hawthorns, the England striker netted a delightful double, adding to Crag Gardner and Victor Anichebe goals for a simple victory.

Nottingham Forest 3-3 Aston Villa
Scott Sinclair hit a hat-trick for Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa in an encounter with Nottingham Forest, but his side could only draw with the Championship club, after conceding two late goals.

Dexter Blackstock netted the hosts’ opener incredibly within 30 seconds of the start, but Sinclair struck his first of three to equalise from a Jordan Amavi cross on the left flank.

After the break, Sinclair was at his clinical best with another two strikes to complete his treble, but Forest hit back as Henri Lansbury and Kelvin Wilson both struck to ensure the spoils were shared.

Hannover 0-1 Sunderland
New Sunderland signing Jeremain Lens hit the winner as Dick Advocaat’s side impressively overcame Hannover with a narrow 1-0 victory in Germany.

Swansea City 0-0 Deportivo La Coruna
Garry Monk’s Swansea City held La Liga outfit Deportivo La Coruna to a goalless draw at the Liberty Stadium, in what was an easily forgettable pre-season friendly.

The Welsh club will sure to be involved in much more exciting encounters this season and Monk’s men are 16/1 to secure a top six finish in the Premier League.