Liverpool will return from Hong Kong with the Premier League Asia Trophy following a high intensity week of pre-season preparation on the far side of the planet.
With victories over Crystal Palace (2-0) and Leicester City (2-1) fresh in our minds, here are five things that the FantasySports.co.uk team learned from Liverpool’s recent trip to Hong Kong.
1) Mo Salah plays on the right of a front three
Like you guys, we’ve watched plenty of highlight videos of Mo Salah at Roma last season, which showcased the Egyptian player’s contribution from the right hand side of the Italian club’s attack. With Sadio Mane occupying that position in Liverpool’s line up last season, there has been plenty of speculation as to whether the primarily left footed Salah would be used on Liverpool’s left wing, freeing Philip Coutinho for a more central midfield role.
Well the jury remains out on this topic as Mane has yet to return to fitness. But we do know Klopp has started Salah on the right wing in the player’s three pre-season appearances. If Klopp sees the player as an option on the left wing, then we believe he would have played him in that position in Asia. So we are left wondering what will happen when when Mane returns to fitness. Will he be moved to the left wing? Will he be moved to a more central #10 position? Hopefully we’ll get some answers to this question in Germany as Liverpool continue their pre-season preparations next week.
2) Trend Alexander-Arnold is ready for the first eleven
TAA made several positive contributions last season and he has taken the right back berth in Liverpool’s opening pre-season friendlies. Alexander-Arnold’s ability is without question, but what’s shone out over the last week is his improving physical condition. The player looks much more physically imposing and if he continues this rate of progression, Nat Clyne will have real competition to retain his jersey for the visit to Watford on the opening day of the season.
3) Dominic Solanke is the real deal
Very few Liverpool fans knew of Dominic Solanke before he signed for the Reds in June. That changed with his central role in the England team who recently won the under 20 World Cup, and his early performances in the red shirt.
The ex-Chelsea youngster scored his first goal in Liverpool’s two goal win over Crystal Palace in Hong Kong, but his goal aside, he’s looked a powerful addition in the centre of a front three, holding the ball up well, creating space for his team mates, while showing plenty of confidence on the ball. We can assume Solanke will play from the bench in the season ahead, and there’s no doubt he will have something different to offer when called upon.
4) Ryan Kent oozes class
As with Alexander-Arnold, Ryan Kent seems to have bulked up considerably this summer and he has looked a real handful when introduced on the right side of midfield in Liverpool’s pre-season games. The player is a powerful runner with the ball at his feet, in the mould of Gareth Bale – and he looks a real prospect for the future. That said, we’d expect to see Kent go out on loan again for the coming season, but Liverpool fans can look forward to seeing the youngster don a red shirt in future seasons.
5) Support like this deserves success
Wherever they went in Hong Kong, the Liverpool travelling party were inundated by huge crowds of passionate fans. There is no doubt that Liverpool continue to be one of the best supported sides worldwide and if the club can continue to monetise its fan base and invest in the playing squad, then we can continue to believe the club can return to the summit of the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp readily acknowledged the importance of Liverpool teams of the past to the level of support seen in Hong Kong, and he must hope that the likes of Phil Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana will be inspired to carve their own piece of Liverpool history in the season ahead.