Darwin Nunez can thrive if given time, Harvey Elliott’s coming of age and Luis Diaz is ready to replace Sadio Mane…. FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED from Liverpool’s pre-season win over Crystal Palace
Liverpool continued their pre-season preparations with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at the Singapore National Stadium on Friday.
Jordan Henderson and Mohammed Salah were on target in their second match of their pre-season travels – having lost 4-0 to Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United in Bangkok on Tuesday.
Here, Sportsmail’s James Cohen looks at five things we learned from the encounter.
Liverpool picked up their first win of pre-season after a 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace
THE SALAH UNDERSTUDY
Having spent the 2020-21 season on loan with Blackburn Rovers in the Championship, many Liverpool fans hoped that Harvey Elliott was ready to make the step-up and be a part of their first-team plans last year. A horrific ankle injury in September ruined all of that.
The 19-year-old’s performance on Friday definitely supported the suggestion he’s now ready for first-team football, as he tore apart the Crystal Palace team from the right-hand side in the first-half – acting as the main architect of Jordan Henderson’s opener.
The winger collected a cross-field pass well before driving into the penalty area and picking out Henderson with a smart cut back to help break the deadlock.
With Elliott sharing the same position on the pitch as Reds’ talisman Mo Salah, the youngster will not expect to be in Jurgen Klopp’s starting eleven this year, but could become the perfect understudy for the Egyptian.
Harvey Elliott impressed spectators with his performance in the opening 45 minutes
NUNEZ NEEDS TIME
Darwin Nunez has stolen all the headlines in recent weeks. From his club-record move from Benfica to Anfield, to his debut for the Reds against Manchester United, there has been constant debate around Liverpool’s new No. 27.
A glaring miss against Erik ten Hag’s side on Tuesday left fans on social media wondering whether the Uruguayan was the right man to lead their attacking force – but instances in both pre-season games suggest that he just needs time to adjust.
After coming on in the second-half against Palace, Nunez looked eager and determined in his play as he made runs in behind and constantly challenged for the ball, and it seems like a matter of time before he opens his account for the Reds.
Darwin Nunez failed to open his account for his new club in their second pre-season match
DIAZ READY TO REPLACE MANE
Seeing Sadio Mane force a move to Bayern Munich was a devastating loss for Jurgen Klopp’s side, but not one that they weren’t prepared for.
Luis Diaz’s January arrival can be looked at as a pre-emptive move made by the club in case the Senegalese winger did try to leave – which quickly came to fruition this summer.
Though he didn’t do much to turn heads in his 45 minute stint at the Singapore National Stadium, the Colombian is likely to fill the boots of Mane and solidify himself in the attacking trio alongside Salah and Nunez.
Sadio Mane left Liverpool for Bayern Munich despite the success he achieved with the Reds
SALAH SET FOR NEW SEASON
Mo Salah reinstated himself as every Liverpool fan’s favourite player after penning a new long-term contract with the club this summer, following Mane’s dramatic departure.
The Egyptian has become the man to shoulder responsibility for the Merseyside club, and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon – after scoring within a couple minutes against Palace.
Having only been on the pitch for 60 seconds, Salah received the ball off Trent Alexander-Arnold before cutting in on his left foot and smashing an effort at goal – that was too powerful for Vicente Guaita to handle.
Liverpool fans can rest easy knowing the current FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Players’ Player of the Year looks set to pick up where he left off last season.
Mo Salah looks set to pick-up from where he left off last year – having scored against Palace
Average is a harsh word when playing against one the best football teams in recent history – but the Eagles left a lot to be desired after a tame performance in Singapore.
Patrick Viera’s side were starved of opportunities in the opening 45 minutes of the contest, and only real sight on goal came with Jordan Ayew’s second-half volley – which was blocked.
Though this wasn’t a fair benchmark to assess the Frenchman’s tactical decisions, Palace fans will be hoping for a improved performance when they take on Manchester United at the famed Melbourne Cricket Ground next Tuesday.
Palace were underwhelming – but that can be expected against a team as strong as Liverpool’s