Klopp to give Liverpool’s fringe players a chance in Stuttgart friendly
Less than four weeks on from the final game of a season they had waited 30 years for – and can't have envisioned once it arrived – Liverpool are back.
The Reds are in Austria at a hastily-arranged pre-season training camp that first had to be moved from Evian due to quarantine fears in France, and then granted an exemption for such is the moveable threat that we're still living through.
Liverpool have been allowed to remain at their camp in Salzburg without the threat of a 14-day quarantine when they return, something which would have seen them have to forfeit the Community Shield against Arsenal at Wembley next weekend.
So after much bike riding and a lot of running, Jurgen Klopp can now prepare for a couple of practice matches ahead of that meeting with Mikel Arteta's FA Cup winners.
The Reds will renew their friendly rivalry with Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday, but first comes newly-promoted Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart, and a chance for many across Klopp's squad to get some time on the pitch.
In goal, there could be a first appearance in a Liverpool shirt in two years for the previously forgotten Loris Karius, with the German back with the Reds ahead of what seems certain to be a move away.
Some exposure against a team from his homeland might help with that move, and it will be interesting to see how many minutes Klopp gives him given that there are three other goalkeepers are on the trip.
The Reds boss will want to get some match practice into No.1 Alisson, with Adrian still primed to be his backup and Caoimhin Kelleher lined up for a potential loan move this season.
In defence, there is no Trent Alexander-Arnold in Austria as he rests a minor injury, so Neco Williams can expect some game-time at right-back after he penned his new deal.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Ki-Jana Hoever, Sepp van den Berg, Nat Phillips – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Stuttgart – and youngster Billy Koumetio are all available in defence, while Klopp might also like to see Fabinho play at centre-back again as the pursuit of Thiago Alcantara remains.
New signing Kostas Tsimikas should make his first appearance in a red shirt at left-back, although first-choice Andy Robertson will be looking to show the new man why he's regarded so highly.
Joel Matip, like Jordan Henderson, is still recovering from an injury he picked up towards the end of last season and won't be risked even though the pair are on the trip.
James Milner, Naby Keita, Gini Wijnaldum and Curtis Jones should all get game-time in midfield, especially now that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been ruled out of the start of Liverpool's season with a knee injury.
Marko Grujic, another relatively forgotten figure like Karius, should also play despite Liverpool being hopeful of selling the Serbian to Hertha Berlin – where he has been on loan for the past two seasons – for around £20million.
Harry Wilson, who isn't on the trip, is also set to depart should Liverpool find the right fee for him, while Takumi Minamino, Harvey Elliott, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi will all be hopeful of featuring, although Shaqiri and Origi have sat out training in recent days.
Liverpool's famed front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have all trained well in Austria and are set to feature, and they've got competition in the form of Rhian Brewster as he returns from his successful loan spell at Swansea.
Brewster scored four goals in Liverpool's first three pre-season friendlies last summer and will be desperate to impress again.
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