Sunday 7 August 2016 15:25, UK
Liverpool warmed up for the start of the Premier League season by beating Barcelona 4-0 in the International Champions Cup on Saturday and manager Jurgen Klopp will have taken a number of positives from his side's electric display at Wembley.
The Reds brushed aside the La Liga champions with consummate ease in front of 89,845 fans at the home of football thanks to strikes from Sadio Mane, a Javier Mascherano own goal and substitutes Divock Origi and Marko Grujic.
However, while Klopp may have warned against reading too much into his team selection against Barca ahead of Liverpool's trip to take on Arsenal in their Premier League opener at the Emirates next weekend, their vibrant performance on a sun-drenched afternoon will certainly have given the German plenty to ponder heading of that Super Sunday clash.
So exactly what has Klopp learned from the victory against Barca and what were the main plus points for the Reds boss before his return trip to the capital?
Liverpool's defence has been a concern since Rafa Benitez left Anfield six years ago, with the Reds shipping a whopping 50 goals in the league last time around.
Klopp opted to field recent new signing Ragnar Klavan alongside Dejan Lovren at Wembley and the pair looked assured together at the heart of their backline.
Liverpool, who let both Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel leave the club this summer, also have experienced centre-back Joel Matip - whose arrival on Merseyside has so far been disrupted by injury - to call upon if needed next season.
However, if they can shut out the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, then that bodes well for the upcoming campaign.
Klopp forked out an eyebrow-raising £36m in order to lure Mane from Southampton in June, but already that is looking like a good investment.
The all-action Senegal international had enjoyed an impressive start to his albeit nascent Liverpool career in pre-season, without managing to find the back of the net, until Saturday that is.
"Sadio had a few chances in the last few games, which he did not convert, so it was good for him [to score]," Klopp acknowledged after the match.
Mane opened the scoring at Wembley after instantly killing Adam Lallana's pass with his first touch in the box, before confidently dispatching the ball high into the net past Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
And despite the sweltering conditions in London, the 24-year-old kept working tirelessly throughout - no more so than in the build-up to Liverpool's second goal, when he dispossessed Jeremy Mathieu - until being given a well-earned rest with 18 minutes to go.
Klopp confirmed after the match that James Milner was withdrawn just before half-time with a heel problem more as a precaution.
"Hopefully Milner is not too serious, it was a bruise, which was painful and he was limping for 35 minutes," he told Sky Sports.
And that will be a relief to the German, who had previously indicated that he intends to utilise the versatile midfielder as a makeshift left back going forward - as he also did on rare occasions last season - as doubts continue to grow over Alberto Moreno's defensive capabilities.
Liverpool fans' hearts must have sunk when they heard Daniel Sturridge was missing the Barcelona match with a hip injury, placing in doubt his involvement against the Gunners next Sunday.
However, after how well both Roberto Firmino, before being hooked on 73 minutes, and Origi, who played the entire second half, scoring Liverpool's third goal with a well-taken finish, performed in attack, the Reds faithful can look forward to the start of the new season in good heart.
And Liverpool's manager had no doubt after the match who his team's best player has been so far this summer.
"Firmino has been the man of pre-season for me as from the very first game he has been performing, even if he has not scored. What a worker!" enthused Klopp.
As often with a side coached by Klopp, much of the post-match focus was on Liverpool's unrelenting pressing game.
However, the man himself preferred to highlight his side's passing range after winning the ball back, something best demonstrated when substitute Kevin Stewart released Origi with an inch-perfect through pass for their third goal.
"It was not only the high pressing [that pleased me]," Klopp said, "but after winning balls it was the direction of some of our passes and Stewart's for Divock ['s goal]."
In fact, Stewart later supplied another defence-splitting ball to set Firmino clear of Barcelona's defence, only for the Brazilian to just miss the target.
However, if Liverpool can combine both winning back of the ball with yet more intuitive passing next season, then the club could very well be on for an exciting and goal-laden campaign on Merseyside.