Jurgen Klopp has delighted fans by announcing both Andy Robertson and Diogo Jota will feature during Thursday’s pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin.
This announcement follows the excellent news that Virgil van Dijk’s return to first-team action is also imminent, as he beats the odds in his long awaited comeback.
Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com, Klopp said:
“They (Robertson and Jota) will have minutes, that’s the plan. They obviously trained completely normal all the time now and we try to involve them.”
In the last friendly against Mainz, Klopp opted to field a separate XI for each half, however he has indicated that will change on Thursday.
He explained: “Some of them are ready for 60 minutes, it will be hard for them definitely but it means then others play 30 minutes and stuff like this, or even maybe 20 minutes and these kind of things.
“We try. Pre-season is about trying, it’s a proper, proper challenge to make all these individuals to bring them in the best possible physical shape and make us more ready or stronger as a team. Unfortunately, football is not like cycling, so you don’t miss it completely but the pedals and stuff like this just go away so quick that’s incredible. So we have to work on that again, that’s what we do.”
Things to look out for
Kostas Tsimikas has really stood out so far in pre-season. The 25-year-old Greek full-back experienced only six minutes during last season’s entire Premier League campaign. In that regard it would have been hard to consider him an option to replace the ever-present Andy Robertson.
However, Tsimikas has come back refreshed and ready for the season. We have already touched on why his emergence could be vital next season and, with Robertson’s return on Thursday, we will have our first indication about how much of a role he could play.
Harvey Elliot has similarly made the most of the early pre-season action without many of Liverpool’s first-team squad.
The 18-year-old rejoined the team following last season’s loan to Blackburn and has excited fans by a potential shift from the wing to the number 10 position, or maybe even deeper.
Klopp experimented last season with the front four of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota. We have also seen Jota moved inside mirroring a traditional number nine role.
Thursday could hint at Klopp’s preparations for next season and whether he foresees circumstances whereby Jota, Elliot, Firmino, Mane and Salah all feature together.