Predicted Liverpool line-up to face Blackburn Rovers in pre-season friendly
Liverpool’s incredible 2017/18 season ended in disappointment following a Champions League final heartbreak against Real Madrid but the mighty Reds have announced their return among the European elites as they are now showing massive intent with an array of high-profile recruits.
Naby Keita and Fabinho are already participating in their pre-season fixtures while Xherdan Shaqiri is likely to join them in next week’s US tour. Moreover, the ongoing talks for long-term targets Alisson Becker and Nabil Fekir are implying their desperateness to claim title glory after missing it out narrowly on several occasions in the recent past.
The Reds had a blistering inception of their pre-season campaign with a 7-0 victory over non-league side Chester City but struggled versus city opponents Tranmere Rovers, grabbing a scrappy 3-2 win whereas they failed to hit the target against Bury FC, which ended scorelessly.
Jurgen Klopp has shuffled his options so far and has mostly fielded two different lineups in two halves. He will have one final fixture on Thursday night versus Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park before flying to America to take part in the high-profile International Champions Cup.
Although the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Simon Mignolet and Dejan Lovren will be joining late after their World Cup exploits, there have been three significant absentees in team training amidst speculations over their fitness and future.
In-demand youngster Harry Wilson has joined Championship heavyweights Derby County on a season-long loan while both Georginio Wijnaldum and Danny Ings have been linked to a move away due to uncertainty over playing time. However, the latter duo was working on regaining fitness and is likely to be involved.
Klopp should rotate his options and the first-half team may have Danny Ward in goal who, despite being the third-choice custodian the last term, is currently ahead of Loris Karius in the pecking order. Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk should be tried out as the central defensive pair, with Alberto Moreno and teenage sensation Rafael Camacho as full-back options.
Fabinho, James Milner and Adam Lallana should have a go in the middle of the park with the exciting Sheyi Ojo, Daniel Sturridge and Ryan Kent operating in the final third.
The second half, as it happened so far, should see an entirely different lineup fielded to face the Rovers, with Karius in goal and a back-four of Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan and Andrew Robertson might be seen protecting their vulnerable custodian.
Wijnaldum should be utilised in a No.6 role, where he performed with distinction towards the end of last season. High-profile teenage duo Curtis Jones and Ben Woodburn is expected to feature in the middle of the park.
Naby Keita should be handed more minutes to settle down. The underwhelming Dominic Solanke and Divock Origi should make the most of their chances to regain reputation.