Anthony Johnson felt Chester’s pre-season defeat against Liverpool had provided the sternest of examinations for the Blues new-look squad.

Chester - with nine debutants in their ranks - acquitted themselves well during the first-half, and were set to go into the break goalless against the Premier League giants prior to Harry Wilson’s brace on the stroke of half-time.

The Reds ran riot in the second-half as a team including James Milner, Daniel Sturridge, Andy Robertson and debutant Naby Keita bossed proceedings to claim a 7-0 win, but for Chester joint-managers Bernard Morley and Johnson, it was a hugely valuable experience for the National League North outfit.

"It’s only the sixth time we’re playing together, against a Liverpool first-team,” said Johnson, who confirmed Liverpool stars including Milner and Robertson had stayed behind to swap shirts with the Blues’ players post-match.

"We knew it was about the supporters more than anything. Mainly it was going to be an extension of the physical work we’ve been doing and for large periods we didn’t touch the ball.

"But I thought in the first half, how we looked out of possession and on the counter attack a couple of times, we looked really decent.

"I’m pleased with individual performances, but really upset that we conceded two sloppy goals at the back end, because they were both avoidable.

"Some of the play in the second half, we couldn’t get near them, but in the first half the two goals that we conceded were rubbish.

"Second half is a different kettle of fish, we had lads playing out of position. But what we wanted to do was try and reward the younger lads from last season who had had such a good season winning everything they had been involved in, playing against James Milner, Daniel Sturridge, Keita – that’s what we wanted.

“One or two were out of position but I thought their application and their desire, wanting to get on the ball when we had it, was fantastic, so I’m made up for them in the second half.

"We could’ve tried to keep it to 2-0, to sit on the edge of our box and defend, but we don’t want to do that.

“It didn’t feel like it was ever going to be a 7-0 in the first half. But there were some good individual performances.

“Grant Shenton pulled off some unbelievable saves in the first half, Jordan (Archer) was unlucky with his one-on-one, Jon Moran impressed me with his one-on-one defending against Origi and then Sturridge.

“We’ve just been absolutely hammered by Liverpool’s first-team squad, in a heat wave, but we’ve all loved it! Some of our lads have swapped shirts and we’ve got out of it what we wanted.”

Johnson confirmed midfielder Scott Burton, a summer arrival from Salford City, will captain the side this season, but admitted there were a host of ‘characters’ to choose from in the dressing room.

"Scott will be our captain this season but with characters like Gary Roberts, characters like Steve Howson, characters like Grant Shenton and Gary Stopforth, he would be the same player if he didn't have the captain's armband on.

“He’s proud. One of the reasons he wanted to come to the club was the fact he was going to be captain of this football club.

“There’s no big fanfare and it isn't an issue to anybody, but he will be a very proud player with the armband on."