Five years ago, Mohamed Salah was just completing a permanent switch to Roma, and marked it with a goal against Liverpool – the winner in a dramatic game in St Louis.
Looking back, Liverpool’s final friendly of their 2016 pre-season tour of the United States had a lot going on.
There was a debut outing for 39-year-old goalkeeper Alex Manninger, a goal for Sheyi Ojo, a red card for Lucas Leiva while he was on the sidelines and an appearance from Roma legend Francesco Totti, three months shy of his 40th birthday.
For Roma, there was a winning goal from Mohamed Salah, sparing the blushes of Alisson between the sticks and sealing a disappointing end to the tour for Liverpool.
After warmup victories over Tranmere, Fleetwood, Wigan and Huddersfield back in England, Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds headed across the Atlantic for three high-profile friendlies – including two in the International Champions Cup.
A 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in Pasadena was followed by a 2-0 victory over AC Milan in Santa Clara, with Mamadou Sakho sent home in the early days of the tour for disciplinary reasons.
Klopp named a strong side as Liverpool looked to round off the tour with another win in St Louis, with Manninger shielded by a back four of Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and left-back-in-training James Milner.
Emre Can and new signing Gini Wijnaldum made up the midfield, with Ojo joined by Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in support of lone striker Daniel Sturridge.
Alisson and Salah – on the brink of a permanent move from Chelsea – both started for Roma, with Kevin Strootman, Alessandro Florenzi and Edin Dzeko also among the starters for Luciano Spalletti.
The game began as an end-to-end contest, with neither goalkeeper truly tested, until Dzeko broke the deadlock in the 29th minute, fending off Lovren before firing home.
Lovren atoned for his error as he headed down a Milner corner to allow Ojo to send it beyond Alisson for an equaliser on the cusp of half-time, with Klopp then making 10 changes at the break.
Simon Mignolet, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andre Wisdom, Kevin Stewart, Alberto Moreno, Jordan Henderson, Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings all came off the bench, with Wijnaldum the only player to keep his place.
The changes brought a disjointed display from the Reds and it was Salah who capitalised on a mixup between Mignolet and Wisdom to stab home and secure a friendly win for Roma.
There was trouble off the field, too, as Lucas was shown a red card despite not even playing after throwing a water bottle onto the pitch in protest at a strong challenge.
Totti came on for the closing 30 minutes for his final appearance against Liverpool, with Klopp disappointing in his side’s performance after the game, saying “hopefully this will be the last game like this for 500 years!”
Salah only spent one further season with Roma after his €15 million move from Chelsea, joining Liverpool for a then club-record £36.9 million in 2017 – followed a year later by Alisson.
That friendly in St Louis was the second time Salah had played against the Reds in his career – having come off the bench in Chelsea‘s 2-0 win at Anfield in 2014 – and the hope is that it will also have been his last.
Heading into his fifth season as a Liverpool player, the Egyptian has scored 125 goals and set up another 43 in 203 appearances for the club.
But five years on from that friendly in Missouri, he may well be reminding the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Mane and best friend Lovren of the time he scored the winner against Liverpool.
Liverpool 1-2 Roma
Pre-Season Friendly, Busch Stadium
August 1, 2016
Goals: Ojo 45+1′; Dzeko 29′, Salah 62′
Liverpool: Manninger (Mignolet 46′); Clyne (Alexander-Arnold 46′), Lovren (Wisdom 46′), Klavan (Stewart 46′), Milner (Moreno 46′, Randall 82′); Can (Henderson 46′), Wijnaldum (Brannagan 70′); Mane (Markovic 46′), Firmino (Lallana 46′), Ojo (Coutinho 46′); Sturridge (Ings 46′)
Subs not used: George, Benteke