Liverpool kicked off their pre-season tour of Hong Kong with a decisive 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, with goals coming from Dominic Solanke and Divock Origi.
The first half was a fairly even contest, with Mohamed Salah standing out from the rest. His pace and power when pushing forward on the ball had Jeffrey Schlupp running ragged. The Egyptian had a big part in almost everything that Liverpool did in the first half, setting up Roberto Firmino on 28 minutes, but the Brazilian’s shot was straight at Hennessey in the Palace goal. Salah once again showed his terrifying pace, knocking the ball past Damien Delaney and bursting past him with ease before crossing the ball into the box.
The best chance of the half fell for Daniel Sturridge, who took a chance from the edge of the area that was pushed back out by the keeper, Salah racing forward to try and meet the rebound but it was cleared away by the Palace defense.
By 50 minutes Liverpool had made 10 changes to the side that started the first half, with only Simon Mignolet surviving the substitutions. Coutinho was an integral part of the second half attack, creating numerous chances and curling an effort just over the bar on 53 minutes.
The breakthrough came on 60 minutes when Dominic Solanke recieved the ball on the edge of the area before turning and slamming the ball into the bottom corner of the Palace goal, the ex-Chelsea man’s first goal in a Liverpool shirt.
Marko Grujic had a great showing on the pitch, playing some nice passes and even smashing a shot just past the far post from around 30 yards out, however he was also booked for a poor foul on Wilfried Zaha, who had just beaten him for pace down the sideline.
A second goal soon followed, with Divock Origi pouncing on a fortunate rebound from a blocked Coutinho shot to hammer the ball home from 8 yards out.
The game then seemed to slow down a little bit, both sides seeming content with the run out that their squads had undertaken, but there was still time for someone to impress. Ryan Kent, the young winger returning from an impressive loan stint at Barnsley, where he won their young player of the year award was able to find some space to run at the defence and produced a shot that forced a very good save from the goalkeeper, giving Liverpool a corner.
At full time it finished 2-0 to the red men who go into the final of the Asia Cup against Leicester City on Saturday.
Jordan Henderson after the match spoke to the press after the match on his fitness and the squad altogether saying â??I feel better each game, we still have a few weeks of pre-season left so hopefully we can keep going.’ He continued â??As the manager keeps saying, it’s not just about the starters, but the whole squad. Thats the biggest thing as a team.’
Manager Jurgen Klopp also spoke to the press on the harsh conditions on tour and how he felt the game went stating â??This humidity is completely new for me; I’ve never coached in this. The trip was really extraordinary; I wouldn’t take my dog out in this weather usually.’ On the performance he said â??We are back today, against Wigan it wasn’t that good but today was good.’
Klopp then spoke about Salah stating â??He is faster than I thought, a nice player for us. We said last season we needed speed and we now have it.’ Klopp was also impressed by Ryan Kent, saying â??He played really well in the Championship last season, he’s a good individual player, very quick and good with both feet.’
The final of the Asia Trophy takes place on Saturday where Liverpool take on Leicester City, who beat West Brom in the earlier semi-final.
First half XI: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Matip, Moreno, Henderson, Lallana, Woodburn, Salah, Firmino, Sturridge
Second half XI: Mignolet, Flanagan, Lovren, Klavan, Milner, Wijnaldum, Grujic, Coutinho, Kent, Origi, Solanke