A host of new Liverpool signings got their first chance to play in team colours under torrential Bangkok skies Tuesday as the Reds comfortably defeated the Thai All Stars 4-0 in a friendly.
The English Premier League side were visiting the Thai capital for the first stop on an end-of-season tour that will also take in Malaysia and Australia.
Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez and Danny Ings all made their debut appearance in the first half at the imposing Rajamangala stadium.
Success came within three minutes. A clever pass from Joao Carlos Teixeira found Lazar Markovic, who easily took the ball round the keeper and slotted it home.
Shortly before half time it was two as a Teixeira corner found Mamadou Sakho who flicked the ball into the far corner with a thumping header.
Kiatisuk Senamuang’s All Star team, made up of local premier league players, showed energy and determination but were easily outmatched in quality, rarely pestering the Liverpool defenders or goal line.
In contrast Thai keeper Warut Mekmusik was tested throughout, forced to make good saves against shots by Ings and Jordan Rossiter that looked like they were all but going into the back of the net.
The second half began with an entire team change by manager Brendan Rodgers — allowing Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner and Divock Origi to make their debuts — accompanied by driving monsoon rains that hampered visibility and soon turned much of the stadium’s running track into a virtual moat.
As fans and press scurried to the back of the stands to shelter, Liverpool kept on the attack, showing little sign of being bothered by the deluge.
In the 52nd minute captain Jordan Henderson picked out Adam Lallana with a cheeky rabona who thundered home the third goal of the night.
New man Origi must have thought he would never make it four with the ball hitting the woodwork twice and a yards out shot denied by a remarkable save from the Thai goalkeeper.
But the young Belgian was finally rewarded in the 86th minute with a header off a Henderson cross that careered into the Thai goal.
Conditions at the lightly filled 50,000 capacity Thai stadium were somewhat removed from Anfield, with the mercury hovering around 31 centigrade (89 fahrenheit) even once the heavens opened.
By the latter stages of the game any hopes for a clever passing game had evaporated with the ball regularly coming a halt in an increasingly waterlogged pitch.
English football commands a huge following in Thailand and it is not uncommon to see entire skyscrapers in Bangkok decked in advertising featuring stars from the premier league.
The kingdom has become a regular stopping off point for lucrative pre-season tours around Asia with Chelsea and Leicester both making trips to Thailand this summer.
Liverpool have now made five visits to the capital since 2001, winning four and drawing one.
The visitors are scheduled to leave Bangkok after the match for Malaysia.
The tour has been somewhat overshadowed by the absence of Raheem Sterling who had initially been named in the 30 man squad.
On arriving in Bangkok Monday, Rodgers confirmed the 20-year-old was leaving for a rival club, bringing to a close what has become this summer’s most acrimonious transfer.
British media say Sterling is off to Manchester City in a £49 million ($76 million, 68 million euro) deal. – Agence France-Presse