Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool play the final game of their pre-season preparations when they host a talented Borussia Dortmund side on Sunday (12.15pm kick off).
Liverpool make a long awaited return to Anfield for the first time since May 11th, where they’ll face one more dress rehearsal fixture before the real thing kicks off seven days later against Southampton. The Reds enjoyed an entertaining and relatively successful pre-season schedule that certainly provided the squad with what they needed heading into the new campaign.
Sunday’s game against Dortmund will provide a stern test for Rodgers’ men, who will be looking to use the fixture to blow out any remaining cobwebs before the season commences.
The match could also see Rodgers pick what he hopes to be his starting team on the opening day of the season, as Liverpool look to step up their intensity with just days left to prepare for the most demanding campaign the club has faced in five seasons.
It will be the first time the two clubs have met for any type of fixture since October 2001, where Liverpool, under the guidance of Gerard Houllier recorded a comfortable 2-0 win in the group stage of the Champions League at Anfield. A goal in each half from Vladimir Smicer and Stephen Wright that day was enough to hand Liverpool a comfortable win in Group B.
Adam Lallana is a known absentee for the Reds and he’s definitely unavailable for the match. Fellow newcomer Lazar Markovic is also set to miss the game after he sat out the clubs’ open day training session at Anfield on Friday morning, which also saw Jon Flanagan, Daniel Agger and Fabio Borini uninvolved with speculation over the latter two players’ future continuing to rumble on.
— Phil Kirkbride (@philkecho) August 8, 2014
Sturridge trained today and will be available for Dortmund. Lallana, Markovic, Flanagan, Agger weren’t in training.
— Kop 305 (@Kop305) August 8, 2014
There was better news over Daniel Sturridge however, who did take part in training and is reported as being fit for Sunday’s showcase game and the prolific striker could be joined in attack by the ever-blossoming Raheem Sterling and Brazilian magican, Philippe Coutinho.
Dejan Lovren is set to receive the first minutes of his Liverpool career in the friendly clash after he was frustratingly denied the chance to join up with the rest of the squad on the USA tour due to problems with his work visa.
The Croatian was reportedly lined up in a potential starting back four, partnered alongside Martin Skrtel with Glen Johnson and excited new arrival Javier Manquillo lining up as the full-backs.
Enjoying training for the first time at Anfield, magnificent stadium with so much history. How lucky I am for beeing here.
— Javier Manquillo (@javiermanquillo) August 8, 2014
After a period of turmoil, Dortmun – transformed by the charismatic Jurgen Klopp – have enjoyed success in recent seasons, claiming a historic double win in 2011-12 and winning the DFL Supercup in 2013 – but BVB just missed out on Champions League glory in the same season after slipping to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of rivals Bayern Munich at Wembley.
Like Liverpool, Dortmund will be looking to improve on last season’s 2nd placed finished and pre-season preparations that are well underway have gone swimmingly to date with six wins and a draw from seven friendly matches – including a 10-0 win over Swiss side Rapperswill.
— Sandra Goldschmidt (@SanBorussia) August 5, 2014
Similarly, Sunday’s game represents their last friendly fixture before Klopp’s men take on Bayern Munich in the German Supercup, which will be played 10 days before their opening fixture of the league season when they’ll face Bayer Levekusen.
Dortmund’s squad continues to boast talent everywhere you look, from commanding and stylish defender Mats Hummels in the back four to much coveted forward player Marco Reus in attack.
Dortmund have sold over 1000 tickets for their end, and ours are sold out. Should be good.
— Kop 305 (@Kop305) August 8, 2014
Former Liverpool loanee Nuri Sahin is likely to make a return to Anfield and one time heavily linked transfer target Henrik Mkhitaryan along with exciting new £14.6million singing Ciro Immobile, who finished last season as top scorer in the Italian Serie A, could both feature in the game.
The two clubs carry a number of well-documented similarities – including both proudly singing You’ll Never Walk Alone before matches – and the away fans will undoubtedly be welcomed at Anfield on Sunday, having previously displayed banners showing their support for the justice campaign that continues to be courageously fought.
RESPECT FOR THIS GESTURE. At the weekend we welcome the Fans of Borussia Dortmund. WELCOME. pic.twitter.com/huGmb9Dg2K
— TheOfficialLFCStory (@LFCHistoryShow) August 6, 2014