Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool face Swindon Town on Sunday in their last warm-up clash ahead of next weekend’s much anticipated season opener against Stoke City.
Swindon Town vs. Liverpool
Sunday, 2nd August 2015; 4pm
Liverpool head to League One side Swindon for the final friendly clash of their pre-season schedule as the Reds finish off their preparations for the new season.
The match against the Football League side is the second of a rare double header this weekend for Rodgers’ squad, who strolled to a routine 2-0 win against HJK Helsinki under 24 hours ago.
Another strong looking Reds squad is likely to travel to Wiltshire for Sunday afternoon, and it’s the last chance for the remainder of the group to impress Rodgers against Mark Cooper’s side, ahead of next week’s opener.
Liverpool have won four and drawn one of five warm-up clashes this season so far and will want to end the pre-season campaign unbeaten – something which will help build confidence ahead of the big kick-off.
NEWS: Sunday’s friendly against Liverpool has now SOLD OUT.
— Swindon Town FC (@Official_STFC) July 30, 2015
Cooper’s side have endured a testing pre-season schedule, having come up against Premier League opposition three times already.
The Robins have lost all three clashes against their top flight opposition though, suffering a 4-0 defeat against Everton, a 2-0 loss at the hands of Aston Villa and another heavy defeat, this time by a 4-1 score-line against West Brom last weekend.
Sunday’s clash against the Reds will also be the last friendly fixture in anticipation for the looming campaign for the Robins, who like Liverpool, will be hopeful of ending their season warm-up schedule in positive fashion.
The trip to the County Ground will be Liverpool’s first since August 1993, when the Reds romped to a 5-0 thrashing in the Premier League, thanks to goals from Neil Ruddock, Ronnie Whelan, Mike Marsh and a brace from Steve McManaman.
Cooper’s young squad boasts a number of Liverpool links, with the most recent coming with his loan captures of Reds youngsters Kevin Stewart and Jordan Williams, who could line up to face their Anfield teammates.
The loaned duo could be joined in the Town starting XI by ex-Liverpool academy ‘keeper Tyrell Belford and central midfielder Anton Rodgers, son of the Liverpool manager.
The Robins’ boss likes to utilise a 3-5-2 shape – the formation that took his side to a Wembley play-off final last season – and Swindon could line up in that set-up for the clash.
Team News & Starting XI
Brendan Rodgers chose to split his squad across the two games; a wise move which allows first team options the chance to enjoy a large amount of action.
However, the majority of those expected to form the Reds starting XI played in the 2-0 win in Helsinki, meaning those playing in this fixture have the chance to stake their claim for a starting shirt and provide food for thought for the Reds boss.
Liverpool look set to take a strong looking group to the County Ground, with Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and Alberto Moreno all options to play in defence.
Lucas Leiva, Joe Allen and Emre Can were all left out of the trip to Finland so could form a midfield three, and a strong looking Reds attack could see Lazar Markovic joined by new arrivals Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke who are set to make their first Reds outings.
Rodgers confirms that Benteke and Firmino will play some part in the game v Swindon tomorrow. #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) August 1, 2015
The rest of the squad for the match is likely to be made up of younger members of the first team squad and U21 players, with Tiago Ilori, Joao Carlos Teixeira, Jordan Rossiter, Harry Wilson and Sheyi Ojo all possible candidates to take part.
However, despite also being left at Melwood, frozen out trio Jose Enrique, Fabio Borini and Mario Balotelli, who have been training away from the squad as they’re shown clearly they have no future at Anfield, will be left out of involvement again.
Rodgers lined his side up in his preferred 4-3-3 formation for the second half of Saturday’s win, and the Reds boss is likely to do the same in Wiltshire to keep preparations for the looming start consistent throughout the squad.
With the personnel at Rodgers’ disposal for the clash, within a 4-3-3 shape, the Reds starting XI could look something like this come kick-off time tomorrow:
The final friendly clash of the 2015/16 schedule will be shown live on LFC TV, with kick-off coming at 4pm.