Jack Hallows gives his thoughts on how the players performed during Liverpool’s first PL Asia Trophy fixture against Crystal Palace.
Liverpool took on Crystal Palace in Hong Kong on Wednesday night in the first of their two pre-season fixtures in Asia. Here’s how the players got on as the Reds ran out 2-0 winners:
Starting Line-Up/First Half XI
Simon Mignolet: 6.5 – Made one very good save off Anderson just past the half hour mark and other than a standard flap at a corner he performed well when called upon.
Alexander-Arnold: 6.5 – Looked very good going forward, driving in a handful of very good low crosses – one of which almost saw Sturridge open the scoring. Looked stretched on the back foot, however, and was given a torrid time by Zaha.
Gomez: 7 – Covered Alexander-Arnold well for the most part but also struggled against the skill and pace of Zaha. Needed a little more composure in possession.
Matip: 7.5 – The best of the back four in my opinion. His first touch was incredible, passing was calm and composed and he didn’t allow Benteke any space in which to operate.
Moreno: 6.5 – A quiet 45 minutes from the Spaniard which more often than not is a good thing. Didn’t over-commit himself going forward but wasn’t always too assured defensively.
Henderson: 8.5 – Superb performance from the skipper who was my vote for best player in the first half. His cross field switch-play and ability to pick out a teammate anywhere on the field is unrivalled in Liverpool’s squad and he gave a solid reminder of what we missed in the latter stages of last season.
Lallana: 7 – Struggled to implement his usual quick feet and silky turning on a pitch that looked like it had been attacked with a pick-axe in patches. Pressed well and got involved with some of the Reds’ more impressive passing moves.
Woodburn: 6.5 – Used the ball well in possession but found it tough against a physical Palace side who used his smaller stature to their advantage by knocking him about with ease. Played one superb through ball for Salah at one point that had me nodding in approval.
Salah: 8.5 – First touch was superb, movement was superb and his use of his main weapon – pace – was incredible.
The Egyptian’s end product was a little wayward on the night but his ability to chase down seemingly lost causes time and again, causing the Palace defence huge amounts of problems for the entirety of his time on the pitch was a joy to watch. All he was missing was a goal.
Firmino: 7 – Worked hard and tracked back often to help out Moreno on the left but found his attacking output limited by the extra defensive responsibilities.
Combined well with Sturridge and Salah, exhibiting some incredible first touches in the process but just couldn’t get into a scoring position.
Sturridge: 7.5 – One back heel from a Henderson long ball that set up a scoring chance for the Reds tells you all you need to know about his confidence.
The striker was on form against the Eagles and came the closest to opening the scoring with a pair of right footed efforts at either end of the half. Had another chance early in the second period but couldn’t get enough behind the shot. Please stay fit this season, Studge.
Substitutes/Second Half XI:
Flanagan/Lovren/Klavan/Milner (45′): 7 – All four were brought on at half time and honestly, I can’t really say enough about any of them individually due to the lack of threat that Palace provided.
All four defended well as a unit – even if Zaha did cause some issues – helped the Reds up the pitch as quickly as they could and most importantly, held Palace scoreless. Job well done.
Grujic (47′): 7 – Long ranged efforts – one of which was almost another stunning pre-season goal to add to his collection – a couple of cynical tackles and a few exceptional raking passes. Standard run out for the Serbian really.
Wijnaldum (47′): 7 – Fielded in the more reserved position in the midfield trio once again and didn’t really put a foot wrong. Kept possession ticking over and had one long range effort that could’ve caused trouble had he caught it slightly better.
Coutinho (47′): 7.5 – Another solid run out for the little Brazilian as he continues his switch from a left sided winger to a slightly deeper-lying playmaker. Some nice touches, an effort from distance that came close and played a large part in the second goal.
Origi (47′): 7 – Grabbed the Reds’ second when the ball deflected into his path after Coutinho’s initial shot was blocked. Also registered the assist for Solanke’s strike. Not a bad evening for the Belgian, even if he didn’t look to have hit top gear.
Solanke (49′): 8.5 – Another game, another exhibition of intelligent movement and smart feet from Liverpool’s new young striker. The former Chelsea youngster even got himself on the scoresheet with an absolute rocket of a shot from outside the area to put the Reds ahead around the hour mark.
— Read Liverpool (@ReadLiverpoolFC) July 19, 2017
Kent (49′): 7.5 – Looked lively throughout with his pace giving the Palace defenders just as many problems as Salah managed in the first 45. Had a late effort saved well by Hennessey.
Man of the Match: Jordan Henderson/Dominic Solanke
What did you think of the Reds performance in Hong Kong? Let me know down in the comments section below!