Liverpool comfortably beat Crystal Palace in Hong Kong and progress to the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy.
The game began with a buzz as the fans at the Hong Kong stadium were filled with expectation and although the game was nothing to write home about, there was enough skill on show for it to be a game worthy of watching.
In fact, if you’re a big fan of Mohamed Salah (who isn’t?), then you will be thrilled with the display from the Egyptian. Right from the off, the Reds’ record signing used his pace and agility to beat defenders and draw fouls.
The first half featured a backline of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Jöel Matip and Alberto Moreno and although many fans have been voicing their excitement about Alexander-Arnold in recent weeks, it was Gomez who caught the eye.
The young English defender looked as though he hasn’t missed months of football through injury and confidently dealt with the aerial threat of Christian Benteke.
Jordan Henderson dictated play well from deep as he looked to pick up from where he left off in the no.6 role. The Liverpool skipper used his fantastic passing range to switch play and, in general, keep things ticking over.
Another player who continues to make strides in his return to fitness is Daniel Sturridge. The Englishman is in the best physical condition he has been in years and looked sharper against Palace than he did against Wigan back in England.
Ben Woodburn, who started the game alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Henderson, looked as composed as a midfield veteran as he chose his moments perfectly. Despite being just 17 years old, Woodburn is brilliant at gauging when to pick a pass or take an extra touch.
The second half was more eventful than the first as both goals came after the interval including an absolute peach from Liverpool new boy Dominic Solanke.
The 20-year-old received the ball from Divock Origi’s cute flick and he made the most of the extra space afforded to him by the slick pass to set himself and fire accurately into the opposite corner to open the scoring in Hong Kong.
The U20 World Cup winner looked lively throughout but his goal spoke to his quality and if anyone needed clarification on why Liverpool signed him from Chelsea, that goal certainly will serve to do so.
Divock Origi soon doubled Liverpool’s lead with an opportunistic strike after the ball fell to him. Philippe Coutinho’s effort on goal was rebounded into his path and he coolly slotted home.
Liverpool play Leicester City on Saturday in the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy before they will return home.
Following that, the Reds will jet off to Germany for the Audi Cup which Sadio Mané will take part in as he returns to fitness.