Charlie Adam made his debut off the bench as Liverpool opened their pre-season campaign with a narrow victory over Guangdong Sunray Cave in China this afternoon.
Two goals in quick succession from Christian Poulsen and David Ngog midway through the first half put Kenny Dalglish's side in control and youngster Conor Coady grabbed a third in the second half after Guangdong had pulled one back.
When Andy Carroll netted five minutes from time, that looked to be that, but there was still time for the hosts to make it a tight finish with two well-taken goals.
The visitors dominated the early stages, with Ngog seeing his shot blocked by keeper Yu Yongzhe, and they took the lead in the 19th minute when Joe Cole's deep cross was tucked away by an unmarked Poulsen.
Less than three minutes later Liverpool doubled their lead through Ngog, who seized on Jonjo Shelvey's pass before sliding his shot under the keeper.
Dani Pacheco should have made it three but shot past the post from 10 yards out, and Guangdong slowly began to come into the match.
Peter Gulacsi just managed to prevent Mahama Awal's shot going through his legs and into the net, but the Reds keeper was beaten in first half injury time by a powerful header from Ricardo Steer.
Dalglish changed his entire team at half-time, sending on former Blackpool midfielder Adam plus the likes of Carroll, Dirk Kuyt and Alberto Aquilani.
Adam showed off his range of passing but Liverpool found themselves on the back foot for much of the second half and it was against the run of play when 18-year-old Coady drilled in their third in the 72nd minute.
Carroll had set up his young team-mate, and he then got on the scoresheet himself with a deflected finish from Maxi Rodriguez's pass.
Guangdong kept battling and got their reward with Lu Lin's lovely curling finish in the 90th minute, which was swiftly followed by another stylish effort from Yin Hongbo, who comprehensively beat Daniel Agger before firing into the corner, but Liverpool held on.
Dalglish was pleased with his debutants and picked out the display of highly-rated teenager Coady as a highlight.
He said in his post-match press conference: "It was good to see Conor Coady score his first goal and for Charlie to make his debut. To score four goals is obviously a bonus but it's only our first game and there's lots of work still to do.
"It was a really good work-out for us in very difficult conditions. We were disappointed to concede the goals at the end of both halves, but the main thing is that the lads got a run out and it's good that they all played 45 minutes without picking up any injuries."
Liverpool now move on to Malaysia and will face a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Dalglish praised the fans who packed the Tianhe stadium in Guangzhou, adding: "We've had a fantastic reception in China. It's nice to come here and let fans get closer to Liverpool Football Club.
"It's important to keep doing it in the future because you could see tonight how much it meant to everyone in the stadium.
"The support was fantastic. Now we are looking forward to seeing the welcome we get when we arrive in Malaysia in the early hours."Reuse content