Liverpool continued their pre-season with a friendly against Hertha BSC on Thursday. Here are five things we learned from the game.
The big news – Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are back. The duo made the bench for this one before appearing in the second half.
This is the dream scenario. Neither have featured in 2021 and there’s a fairly desperate need to get them fit before the start of the season. Having them back playing with three friendlies to go is fantastic news, then.
We still think Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate may start the season. Van Dijk and Gomez aren’t far off competing for places, though.
Honestly, we’re just thrilled they’re back. Liverpool need to be careful with them but all is going to plan so far.
We’re getting excited about Kostas Tsimikas and what he could bring next season. We barely saw him across 2020/21, of course, but he’s playing wonderfully well in pre-season.
He continued that here, too. Liverpool’s first goal was all down to Tsimikas bursting past a defender to win the ball before getting his head up and picking out Sadio Mane in the middle.
Liverpool’s no.10 finished (with his second bite) and the Reds were back in the game.
Naby gets involved
And if we’re going to praise Tsimikas, we’ve got to mention Naby Keita. The Guinean gets criticism for his off-the-ball work but he nailed it here.
In truth, Keita didn’t have the best half but Liverpool’s equaliser came about after some brilliant pressing. Keita won the ball back in the middle and then found Mohamed Salah’s run in behind.
The Egyptian produced a fantastic backheel for Takumi Minamino to finish.
Keita, though, did the graft to make it all happen. It’s part of his game that’s been missing over the last few seasons. Hopefully, then, this is a sign that he’s improving.
The intensity in the second half was fantastic and by far the best of pre-season so far. Liverpool just couldn’t actually make it count for anything against Hertha.
Part of that was Jurgen Klopp consistently making substitutions and putting in young players – the Reds didn’t have the quality they needed. But the pressing and work-rate was fantastic from everyone involved.
With three friendlies to go, this was great to see. Keep improving game to game and Liverpool will be raring to go come opening day.
Gordon goes again
A special mention for Kaide Gordon. He’s been one of the brightest parts about pre-season and looks like a potential star.
He was incredibly lively here, too. Gordon could have scored a couple on another day but he just kept getting involved.
It’s a wonderful trait to see in a 16-year-old. Gordon doesn’t show nerves, it is willing to fight, and wants to be in the action. You love to see it.