Martin King explains why Liverpool’s tour of the United States is so important.
Liverpool’s pre-season campaign has so far offered a pleasing view at Jürgen Klopp’s squad. The Reds have played four games and won all of them convincingly and although they’ve often made it look easy, their tour to the United States will offer a much tougher test.
Klopp said, last week, that he doesn’t want his side to have an easy run of games in this period, insisting that he’d rather have them face all their problems now and learn from them in time for the new season. Liverpool will participate in the International Champions Cup, where they’ll face the likes of Chelsea on July 28, AC Milan on July 31 and AS Roma on August 2.
You need no reminding that those are three of Europe’s biggest clubs. They are sure to cause Liverpool more than a few problems on the pitch but it’ll be how the Reds react in the face of these problems that will tell Klopp and the world a lot about the squad’s readiness for the upcoming 2016/17 campaign.
A group of players who are sure to be in the spotlight more than any other in this period are the defenders. So far, Liverpool haven’t conceded a single goal, however, the side’s four games were against lower league sides who didn’t offer much of a threat in front of goal – which explains just why new ‘keeper Loris Karius has more often than not been a spectator in goal.
With attackers the likes of Eden Hazard, Michy Batshuayi, Carlos Bacca and the Roman god that is Francesco Totti potentially set to come up against the Reds, Klopp’s defenders will have a lot more questions posed at them and should they struggle to answer them definitively, they will surely have to face the loud, hot-headed side of the German, who will be on hand to get better from of his players.
One of those players, Dejan Lovren, explained how Liverpool are looking forward to using their time in the US wisely on Wednesday, after the side’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town, saying:
“It’s a tough time for us, the legs are tired but it’s good for us. So we are now looking forward to going to America and playing some tough games out there, so we will see where we are.
“We have less than a month before our first game [against Arsenal] so we have a lot of time to train hard – we are ready for that.”
After their tour of America, Liverpool will return to England where they’ll face Spanish giants FC Barcelona at the Wembley Stadium – another tough test – before kicking off their Premier League season at the Emirates. Jürgen Klopp should have an idea of his best eleven by that time but in order for that idea to come to mind, his side will need to have a successful US tour and in this case only, ‘success’ may even mean failure.