Liverpool will end their pre-season tour with a match against newly promoted Bundesliga side Darmstadt on Monday at 18:30 BST. The match will be broadcasted live on LFC TV and will take place in the Deepdale stadium in Preston due to the owing construction work going on at Anfield.
They are the 4th German opposition that Klopp’s men will face in this pre-season and a good result is expected with the Premier League just around the corner. To sum it up, it has been sort of a mixed pre-season for the Reds with the lack of depth being hauntingly visible. The departures of club captain Jordan Henderson and long-term serving number 6 Fabinho have left the club with a massive hole in the middle.
Liverpool’s pursuit of Romeo Lavia has also been very much unsuccessful up to this point with 2 of their bids being rejected but the Reds are hopeful to make the signing with a third bid on its way but it doesn’t look like Klopp will get to see Lavia play in his team during the pre-season.
There is also huge concern about the defence with Virgil Van Dijk being the only centre-back with decent performances in the pre-season. Konate and Matip have been vastly underwhelming and this might be a huge problem going into the season. Though Quansah has been impressive whenever he has been on the pitch, Klopp isn’t a big fan of starting young and inexperienced defenders in league matches unless there has been some sort of an injury crisis
The midfield looks very thin with Bajcetic and Thiago being the only two defensive midfielders – Thiago being extremely injury prone and Bajcetic still very much inexperienced.
High expectations are there from Scouser Curtis Jones who didn’t have a good outing against Bayern where he was deployed as a number 6 but can be crucial if played in the right position.
New signings Mac Allister and Szoboszlai also look promising but it would be hard for Klopp to implement both of them together into the starting lineup without a proper Number 6.
The Attack seems to be the only saving grace with Liverpool scoring at least 3 or more goals in their last pre-season matches. Salah looks to shift into a much more creative role whereas Jota and Gakpo have been the star of the show so far with Gakpo playing in the “Firmino” role and Jota taking all of his chances.
Nunez and Diaz have also looked sharp but their consistency would be the key in the long season that is about to come. One more positive aspect is the rise of Ben Doak who has always looked to pose a threat and would be a player to watch in this upcoming season.
Darmstadt’s Bundesliga Return: Hopes and Challenges for Manager Torsten Lieberknecht
Darmstadt have only won once in their last 5 matches scoring only 1 goal and conceding 7. This will be their third tenure overall in the Bundesliga but if historical evidence is anything to go they are again expected to, with all due respect, get relegated by the end of the season.
Manager Torsten Lieberknecht will be looking for a good outing on Monday and a match against the English giants would be a great warm-up before their Bundesliga season starts.
Bajcetic and Thiago are expected to sit this one out too and with no signs of Lavia so far this is how Liverpool might name their Starting XI:
Alisson, Trent, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson, Jones, Szoboszlai, Gakpo, Jota, Nunez, Salah.
The second half can see the likes of Kellher, Gomez, Quansah, Konate, Tsimikas, Clark, Mac Allister, Elliot and Diaz make an appearance.
The defensive part of Liverpool has been very poor this season with the Reds keeping only one clean sheet in this pre-season. It remains to be seen whether improvements have been made or not in the defensive side of their game. Though Allison and Kelleher have conceded a few goals, they have been rarely at fault for them.