Jackson Widlic discusses three things we’ve learned from Liverpool’s tour of the United States.
After spending a couple weeks playing domestic friendlies, Liverpool went on tour to the United States ahead of the 2016/17 Premier League season and there have been many different factors to draw on to decide whether or not it has been a successful pre-season tour.
Klopp will be pleased with the defensive partnership formed between Lovren and Klavan, his new signings and his youth players after what has been a largely pleasing tour.
Can the defensive partnership between Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan be trusted?
Although it may have initially frightened some, the prospect of Lovren and Klavan partnering each other in central defense now seems like a viable option heading into the new season. Many were eager to see what Klavan could bring with the the Estonian veteran brought in on a cheap £4.2 million deal from Bundesliga side Augsburg with almost no expectations about how he’d fit into this new Liverpool side under Jürgen Klopp. Now, after watching Klavan play brilliant diagonal balls out of the defence, make smart challenges, and proving to be an aerial threat, there should be little doubt in any fan’s mind about how he and Lovren could work together this season, especially considering how solid they were on the whole, only having trained together as experience before they started together on the tour.
Are the standout players in the pre season tour due for an exciting Premier League campaign?
One point that Klopp stressed to get across in many of his interviews and pressers was that he wanted to see who could step up in this Liverpool side on this tour and impress. Three players particularly stood out throughout both matches: new signing Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, and Divock Origi.
Mané has fans confident that he’ll justify his hefty price tag after two stunning performances against Chelsea and AC Milan, proving to be a much needed catalyst in Liverpool’s attack. Lightning pace and good linkup play makes Mané brilliant on the counter, which he demonstrated numerous times.
Firmino on the other hand proved that he will once again be looking to be a star player for Liverpool’s upcoming season, as some flashes of brilliant skill, linkup, and a neat finish against AC Milan showed that he is ready to get back down for business.
Finally, a fantastic showing for Origi against AC Milan showed the fans how far he has come over the international break, having only trained with the Reds a couple times before getting a game, in which he netted a brilliant goal, controlling a ball over the top from Alberto Moreno, standing up his man and showing some surprising levels of composure and skill, which he usually didn’t present before, to open up space and curl an effort into the far post.
Expect all three to have breakout campaigns for the Reds.
What does the future hold for the Liverpool youth?
Quite possibly the most interesting aspect of pre-season tours is getting to see how the youth fare against the likes of big European sides, such as Chelsea and AC Milan. And, as expected, fans got a mixed bag of who excited and who didn’t quite impress.
Klopp brought along the likes of Sheyi Ojo, Cameron Brannagan, Shamal George, Connor Randall, Ovie Ejaria and Trent Alexander-Arnold along with him to America, hoping that each will take their chance to prove that they deserve first team football.
In conclusion, fans should completely agree that the standouts included Ojo and Ejaria, both showing signs of maturity beyond their years in the single game that each featured in, whilst the likes of Brannagan, Alexander-Arnold, and Grujić more or less meeting the status quo.
On the other hand, Connor Randall didn’t particularly show many signs of the positives that he could potentially present in this Liverpool side, as many can agree that although it was hard to notice him in the game, it should be inferred that not much was offered from the young Scouser in terms of the ability to change a game. No fantastic tackles, no bursting runs forward, no threaded passes, which may be acceptable in some circumstances, as he did his job well overall. However, in this case, he should be a tad disappointed that he didn’t show enough to Klopp nor the fans on how he can affect a match.