5 players to watch out for when Liverpool play Wigan

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Ben Woodburn celebrates his goal against Tranmere with his teammates at Prenton Park.
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Jack Hallows believes that you should be keeping a close eye on these five players when Liverpool take on Wigan tonight. 

I was thoroughly impressed – and pleasantly surprised – with how well our lads played against Tranmere, to be honest with you.

Last season’s clash at Prenton Park was a rather dull affair, finishing 1-0 to the Reds courtesy of a late Danny Ings winner.

This year, however, with more first team stars available from the get-go, the Reds were far more authoritative as they ran out 4-0 winners on the night and it really could’ve been more.

Their next match takes place tonight away at Wigan and I already know who I’m going to be keeping an extra close eye on.

Marko Grujić

First up, Marko Grujić.

The big Serbian was superb against Tranmere, using his height and physicality to help him dominate the midfield battle and displaying a seriously impressive passing range.

Of course, it goes without saying that his absolute worldie of a goal was the main highlight of the 21-year-old’s evening as he continued his incredible knack of scoring in pre-season.

The 2017/18 campaign could be a vital one for the big midfielder as he looks to stake a claim on a first-team place.

The Serbian would be adding extra height, physicality and dominance to the Reds’ midfield – without sacrificing too much creativity or goal threat it seems – and I’ll be watching him keenly to see if he maintains his performance levels from Wednesday’s game.

Dominic Solanke

Looked bright against Tranmere, exhibiting quick feet, smart positioning and impressive game intelligence for a 19-year old.

While he didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet, he did come close as he carved out two solid opportunities in the second half for himself – the first one resulting in Liverpool’s third goal as his left-footed strike was parried into Chirivella’s path and the Spaniard tucked home.

I’m fully aware that Solanke probably won’t see huge amounts of first team action this season, especially if all of Ings, Sturridge and Origi remain at the club.

However, if he does continue to impress in pre-season it’ll be nice to see we’ve got another exciting youth talent at the club who can help shape the squad in the future.

Mohamed Salah

The Reds record signing was forced to miss the game against Tranmere as he finalised his work permit details but the Egyptian is expected to make his Reds bow against Wigan tonight if all goes to plan.

The flying winger was absolutely awesome for Roma last season, scoring 19 goals in all competitions and assisting 12 and is expected to inject some much-needed pace, creativity and goal threat into the Reds starting XI.

He’s only new to the club, so it’ll likely be a while before we really start to see the best of him as he acclimatises to new surrounding and new teammates but that isn’t stopping me from getting seriously excited over the thought of watching him play tonight.

Ryan Kent

Another winger I’m looking forward to getting another look at is Ryan Kent.

Kent was superb against Tranmere and his performance on the Reds left wing, full of energy and willingness to run at defenders the entire match, really highlighted just how poor Lazar Markovic was on the opposite side.

The young winger has a gifted left foot and his crossing, dribbling and pace were all on full show in the Reds opening pre-season friendly.

When I saw him in the post-season match in Sydney he really underwhelmed me, so I’m hoping to see the Ryan Kent I saw two days ago, not the one I saw back in May.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Finally, as much as we’ve all had a really good look at Trent over the last 12 months or so, I just can’t get enough of this lad. The young right-back/midfielder is fast growing into a player whose age belies his ability and just gets better every time I see him don a Liverpool shirt.

Picked in the Reds stronger first half XI over Nathaniel Clyne on Wednesday, the 18-year old was given the vote of confidence from his manager and it wouldn’t surprise me to see ‘TAA’ really give Clyne a run for his money as competition for the Reds starting right-back berth.

He’s still raw in a lot of aspects but his ability to beat a man and drive to the byline, cross the ball into dangerous areas effortlessly and his surprising bursts of pace are all hugely beneficial to the Reds when he plays. Can’t wait to see a lot more of him.

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