Attacking duo linked up superbly together in the first-half to lead the Reds to a well-deserved piece of pre-season silverware
THE PA announcer in the Hong Kong Stadium managed to neatly sum up this year’s Premier League Asia Trophy with one mis-pronounced name.
As Leicester replaced Algerian striker Islam Slimani at half-time, the bemused local had a brave stab at his name and promptly informed us Islam “Silly-money”, was gone.
Not a chance where the Premier League is involved.
Moments earlier, Philippe Coutinho just about proved to the world why Barcelona’s £72million offer for him seems derisory in today’s bloated market-place where real ‘silly-money,’ is becoming the norm.
Coutinho scored a brilliant winner any Brazilian would have been proud of.
Taking a pass from his fellow countryman Firmino, Coutinho side-stepped Daniel Amartey then swept a majestic right-footer beyond Kasper Schmeichel which nestled halfway up the Dane’s net.
It was a stunning way to seal Liverpool’s success as they came from behind to lift the Asian Cup.
But it may take bigger prizes arriving on a regular basis if the Anfield club are to hang on to a true world class talent.
Earlier, Jurgen Klopp would not have been happy about the way his side conceded the opening goal. But boy the German must have enjoyed his team’s response to going behind.
Leicester soaked up some early Reds pressure then, in typical Foxes fashion, sprang forward to catch the lads from the Kop on the hop after 12 minutes.
Marc Albrighton’s sweeping pass sent Christian Fuchs clear on the left and when the overlapping Austrian sat up his cross to the back post slam Slimani soared above James Milner to power his header beyond Loris Karius from four yards.
Riyad Mahrez then danced his way past a posse of Liverpool defenders to gasps of delight from a 40,000 crowd – almost entirely made up of Liverpool fans – to remind everyone why the Foxes won’t consider anything south of £50million for their want-away winger.
Klopp fell foul of Premier ref Bobby Madley, who threatened to send him to the stand if he didn’t cool down – a near impossible task in the 28 degree heat, even though it was well past nine o’clock at night local time!
However the pumped-up German was all smiles 60 seconds later when £36.9m winger Mohamed Salah showed why he could be the scourge of Premier defences this season.
The summer-signing from Roma began the move himself, exchanging passes with Trent Alexander-Arnold then Philippe Coutinho, who repaid the favour with a delightful chip over Harry Maguire’s head.
Salah had instinctively continued his run beyond Fuchs and stole behind enemy lines to steer a pinpoint header beyond Schmeichel.
The Egyptian dubbed the Messi of the Pyramids milked the moment and has been a real hit in Hong Kong.
However even he had to stand to one side as the real darling of Liverpool’s Asian Red Army took centre stage as Philippe Coutinho reminded everyone just why he is wanted by Barcelona.
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