Liverpool 2-1 Leicester: Philippe Coutinho and Mo Salah on target as Reds lift Premier League Asia Trophy
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 22/07/17 7:58pm
Philippe Coutinho and Mo Salah were on target for Liverpool as they beat Leicester 2-1 to win the Premier League Asia Trophy on Saturday.
It was the Foxes who took an early lead in the Hong Kong showpiece as Islam Slimani (12) headed home, but new signing Salah (20) scored his second goal since arriving at Liverpool to equalise not long after.
Coutinho (44) scored the goal of the tournament to seal the victory with one minute of the first half to play, curling a stunning strike past Kasper Schmeichel and showing why he is a rumoured target for Barcelona.
It was Leicester who drew first blood, with Slimani nodding home in the 12th minute.
Christian Fuchs crossed a dangerous ball into the box after a fine pass from Marc Albrighton down the channel and the Algerian striker rose above James Milner to head into the net.
Eight minutes later, Liverpool were back in the game with a brilliantly worked goal. Salah slid the ball across the top of the box to Coutinho, who chipped the ball expertly over the top to the Egyptian winger as he made his way into the box and nodded past Schmeichel.
After his hand in Leicester's opening goal, Albrighton could have again put the Foxes ahead just after the half-hour mark as his long-range effort rippled the side of the net before Georginio Wijnaldum saw his fierce drive sent wide after a deflection off the leg of team-mate Joel Matip.
But the best goal was saved for last as Coutinho produced a spectacular effort in the 44th minute. Salah was once again involved as he linked up with Firmino, before the latter tapped the ball into the feet of his fellow Brazilian. Coutinho then let fly with the sweetest of strikes that curled past Schmeichel into the bottom corner to give the Reds a half-time lead.
As with most pre-season games, there was a glut of changes at the break and the second period began with a flurry of chances. Jamie Vardy could twice have got Leicester on level terms but was thwarted by the side of the net and goalkeeper Loris Karius respectively.
Marko Grujic - a half-time introduction - could have beaten the quality shown by Coutinho in the 51st minute with a well-hit overhead kick that just skimmed over the crossbar before Vardy was at it again as he burst into the box but Ragnar Klavan was there to get a tackle in and allow Karius to scoop up the ball.
With the changes coming thick and fast, the rest of the match lacked many clear-cut chances. Liverpool arguably shaded the efforts. Salah attempted to control a Daniel Sturridge cross at the goal mouth but saw the ball wriggle just out of his reach. The England striker tried his luck from the right of the box but Schmeichel saved his efforts.
Tom Lawrence whipped an inviting cross into the box from the right late on, but Leonardo Ulloa could not latch onto the end of it and Liverpool held out to lift the trophy.
Man of the match - Philippe Coutinho
The tricky Brazilian was in impressive form and it was not just his stunning goal that sees him take the man-of-the-match accolade.
His assist for Salah's opening goal was sublime and he continued to link up with the Egyptian and Roberto Firmino in attack to make chances for Liverpool even if the final product was not the best.
Although Jurgen Klopp is adamant Coutinho will not be going anywhere this summer, his performance will surely only strengthen the interest from Barcelona.
Liverpool will now travel back to Europe and head to Klopp's homeland of Germany for another friendly against Hertha Berlin on Saturday July 29.
Leicester are back on British shores for their next match as they head to Sky Bet League Two side Luton on Wednesday July 26.