By Phil Thomas

Daniel Craig jetted over from Los Angeles to watch his beloved Reds crash to Roma in a sold-out pre-season friendly where tickets changed hands for an astonishing $1,500.

Liverpool 1 Roma 2

Yet Reds chief Brendan Rodgers was still delighted at the way his team performed, against an Italian side four games further down the road towards match fitness.

Rodgers was still without his England contingent and new hitman Fabio Borini, all watching from the sidelines, as they crashed to a team packed with stars like Francisco Totti and Bojan Krkic.

And after pushing them close, the Kop boss insisted: “I was really pleased with the performance. There were a lot of positives and a lot of young players getting a lot of good experience.

“It was a dream for some of those young lads who played, up against players like Totti, and I was very, very pleased.

“It puts us well down the road towards being prepared for the beginning of the season.”

Rodgers had every right to be optimistic as well, even if owners John W Henry and Tom Werner couldn’t see their boys get the first win of their North American tour, at the home of the Boston Red Sox baseball outfit where they are also supremos.

Not that it was ever going to be of serious importance just yet. That only becomes the case next Thursday, when their Europa League campaign gets underway with a qualifier, likely to be in the back of the Belarus beyond.

But you’d never have guessed it from the atmosphere at Fenway Park, almost as iconic to USA sport as Anfield is over in England.

The majority were, as you’d expect, Liverpool fans as well – although ironically it was an American who put the boot in on their heroes, when Yank international Michael Bradley put Roma ahead after good work from Erik Lamela on 62 minutes.

And eight minutes later the Reds again had no answer to Argentine Lamela’s trickery, and when Jones blocked his effort, Alessandro Florenzi smashed home the rebound.

At least the Reds gave the crowd something to cheer about 10 minutes from time when Charlie Adam found the corner after an excellent long ball from Jon Flanagan, and equally impressive lay-off from Dani Pacheco.

With no more than a couple of likely first-team starters in either Rodgers’ line-ups – the one he kicked off with was totally changed within the hour – it was never going to give too many clues as to what lies ahead for the Reds.

Yet there was still plenty of cause for optimism, such as another step towards a total comeback for Lucas Leiva, all but recovered from the damaged cruciate which wrecked last season.

Jonjo Shelvey – ironically the man who could find himself on loan at Swansea if Joe Allen comes the other way – also impressed in patches.

And youngster Ryan McLoughlin will never forget the night he first pulled on a red shirt and found himself marking Italian World Cup legend Totti.

Of course, things will be different when Rodgers has really got his feet under the table, his players know exactly what is required, and the likes of Steven Gerrard, Pepe Reina and Borini are out there in the thick of it.

So next up it is Spurs in Baltimore, before the Reds move on to the serious business of Europe.

Somehow you think the clash with a side sure to be a major rival for the Holy Grail of fourth place and a Champions League slot won’t be quite as laid back.

LIVERPOOL: Gulacsi (Jones); McLoughlin (Flanagan), Skrtel (Samma), Carragher (Agger), Enrique (Wilson); Shelvey (Adorjan), Spearing (Lucas), Aquilani (Adam); Cole (Suso), Eccleston (Morgan), Sterling (Pacheco).