Luis Suarez was the key player as Liverpool moved smoothly into the final qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday with a 3-0 win over Gomel of Belarus.
The Uruguyan created first-half goals for Fabio Borini and skipper Steven Gerrard as the east European visitors proved no match for the Merseyside giants. Glen Johnson added another after half-time.
It was a positive way for Brendan Rodgers to mark his first home game in charge, particularly with his first signing Borini capping a useful performance by grabbing a precious goal on his home debut, thrashing home a first-time shot from 10m.
More significant tests are to come and the presence of Reds’ former assistant-manager Steve Clarke was a reminder that the first Premier League game against West Brom is only nine days away.
However, this win should at least settle some of the nerves which have started to grow amid speculation that Daniel Agger and Andy Carroll might end up joining the summer exodus from a club that expects much better than last season’s eighth-place finish.
The other British side in action on the night, Scotland’s Dundee United, were thrashed 5-0 at Dynamo Moscow losing by a hefty 7-2 on aggregate.
Italian giants Inter were given a fright when they lost 2-0 at home to Hajduk Split of Croatia, but having won the first leg away 3-0, they scraped through 3-2 on aggregate.
Other top sides to make it through were Olympique de Marseille of France, who defeated Turkey’s Eskisehirspor 3-0, and Twente of the Netherlands, who swept past Mlada Boleslav of the Czech Republic 4-0 on aggregate on the back of two 2-0 wins.