Liverpool effectively played with two teams in their 3-0 win v Stuttgart on Saturday. They have the look of a complete and world-class squad.
Liverpool comfortably beat Stuttgart 3-0 on Saturday in their first pre-season fixture. The Reds are now underway and have just one more friendly ahead of the Community Shield next Saturday.
And so the Stuttgart win gave us our first real look at Liverpool for the 2020/21 season – albeit not the complete squad. Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Trent Alexander-Arnold weren’t there because of injuries.
Yet Liverpool still managed to show off a remarkable squad, thanks to how Jurgen Klopp went about the game.
The Reds’ boss played two different teams in each half, as he usually does in early pre-season games. But this was arguably the first time that Liverpool looked ‘complete’.
Alisson, Neco Williams, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino.
This is very close to Liverpool’s best XI. You’d certainly have Alexander-Arnold in at right-back and Jordan Henderson in midfield over Jones. Then it’s a debate between Keita and Wijnaldum – possibly leaning the Dutchman’s way.
Regardless, we expect to see this exact XI lineup in the Premier League this season. The teenagers aside, everyone is a European and English champion – they’re all elite players.
Adrian, Ki-Jana Hoever, Nat Phillips, Sepp van den Berg, Kostas Tsimikas, Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner, Marko Grujic, Harvey Elliott, Takumi Minamino, Rhian Brewster.
This is the one that really shows off the squad depth. Because this isn’t just Liverpool’s ‘second’ team but a weakened one. The first-team absences took players from this one and all of its ‘weak links’ are solved quickly.
For instance, the defence lacks experience. Tsimikas is far and away the most experienced and he’s only been around for a couple of weeks. But If Matip was fit, he’d come in. Then if Alexander-Arnold was available, Williams would drop down into right-back here. Suddenly there’s a lot more proven talent in the back four.
The midfield lacks attacking prowess? Well, if Henderson was about, either Jones or Keita could drop down into this team. Oxlade-Chamberlain would be there, too – possibly even taking a role in the front-three to add experience.
Divock Origi is an option for that attack, too.
And so a fully-fit second-team quickly looks comfortable of playing in the Premier League. And that’s without a single first XI player. There’s no question, then, that the teams against Stuttgart show Liverpool are pretty much complete.
They have cover and quality in every position heading into the new season. That’s a new luxury – which is quite a remarkable thing to say about the world champions.