Aaron Curry highlights a number of players who need to a have good pre-season ahead of an important season under Jürgen Klopp.
Jürgen Klopp has now been at the helm of Liverpool Football Club for little under 8 months, and has already guided the team to two cup finals. This was without the aid of any decent signings and of course, a pre-season. With the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea in a packed summer schedule, it is a time of change for everyone associated with the club.
In chronological order, Liverpool start off their pre-season tour with four domestic friendlies against Tranmere Rovers, Fleetwood Town, Wigan Athletic and Huddersfield Town. These matches are clearly the low-key encounters whereby younger talents will get a chance to shine. Overlapping with the end of the Euros, there is a chance that most senior players will be rested for a while.
Furthermore, the reds then take part in the annual International Champions Cup. Within this, we face huge names such as Chelsea, AC Milan, Roma and Barcelona. For this, Jürgen Klopp will more than likely be looking to decipher his starting XI for next season as we play much tougher opposition.
As seen in his time at Borrusia Dortmund, pre-season is a key time for Klopp as he implements his style of play to the point where it becomes second nature for the players. Fans can definitely expect the same at Liverpool.
In his first pre-season with the German giants he signed Mats Hummels on an initial loan deal (which became permanent) as he impressed at the heart of the defence. Klopp man-managed the centre-half until his ball playing skills and passion for the game were unparalleled. The likes of this can be seen in some Liverpool players, such as Divock Origi and Emre Can.
After only a short time at Liverpool, Klopp demonstrated his man-management abilities with chosen players. Divock Origi was the first. He told the Belgian youngster he should gain weight if he wanted to lead the Liverpool forward line. This would explain Origi’s rise to constant first team action in the closing stages of the campaign.
Origi stated that he was four kilos of muscle heavier, which is undeniable after comparing what he looked like when he arrived to now. Adding physicality to his game, it goes hand in hand with his pace; certainly making himself a nuisance to any defence. Finishing the season with 10 goals and 3 assists, he is sure to surpass this in future campaigns.
Another player who benefited from Klopp’s man-management was fan favourite, Emre Can. A combination of drastically improving his stamina, along with moving back into his true central defensive midfield role, have seen his performances ameliorate.
Emre Can is certainly one of my favourite players in the squad; however some people still have doubts over his vision and ability to play a range of accurate passes. Jürgen Klopp will undoubtedly look to rectify this in pre-season.
In addition to this, English talents Danny Ings and Joe Gomez, aged 23 and 19 respectively, may also be on Klopp’s radar as he looks to strengthen his squad. With both players yet to reach their age at which they will peak, there is plenty of time to improve their game over the pre-season period.
Many people are suggesting that both players will be vital moving into next season, as Gomez will ideally solve the left-back problem – whereas Ings will only strengthen the attack options at Klopp’s disposal. Ings has also been labelled as perfect for Klopp’s system, due to his ability to tirelessly chase the ball down for 90 minutes.
Over the summer, Klopp will be able to integrate his “heavy metal” gengenpressing style of football into all of the players, until it’s all they can think about. Along with this, his man-management of certain players will allow them to take the next step in their game.
Who knows, with no European football maybe we will see a repeat of the 2013/14 season – but hopefully finishing one place higher…
Featured Image – Sky Sports
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