Liverpool’s second pre-season friendly sees the Reds travel to Lancashire to take on Fleetwood Town on Wednesday night.
Fleetwood Town vs. Liverpool
Wednesday 13th July 2016, 7:00pm (BST)
Live on LFCTV
After opening the pre-season campaign with a 1-0 win against Tranmere Rovers, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds continue preparations against the Cod Army at Highbury Stadium.
A tougher test awaits Liverpool against the League One outfit, and Klopp’s squad will look for another productive run-out against the quality that Steven Pressley’s side will provide.
Highbury Stadium & Previous Meetings
— Fleetwood Town FC (@ftfc) 16 April 2016
Liverpool’s trip to Highbury, the lesser-known spiritual home of the Cod Army, will be a first.
Home to Fleetwood since 1939, several renovations now see the neat venue hold just under 5,400 fans, of which 2,672 can be seated—making this the smallest ground the Reds play at this summer.
Though this is the first trip to Fleetwood’s home patch, the game will be the second fixture in history between the clubs.
That one previous meeting came back in August 2003, when Gerard Houllier’s Reds met the then-North West Counties League side for a friendly that the Liverpool boss promised the Fleetwood owner’s son on a flight from Paris.
True to his word, the Frenchman and a strong Liverpool squad arrived at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road for their final warmup game, which helped raise around £20,000 for Fleetwood.
A one-sided contest played out as expected as Houllier’s men ran out 6-1 winners, with goals from El Hadji Diouf, Bruno Cheyrou, Anthony Le Tallec, John Welsh and a brace from Milan Baros sealing victory.
Wednesday’s game is close to a sellout, which will include 1,600 Kopites having cleared the away allocation for Liverpool fans.
The travelling Reds will be housed in the usual areas for visiting supporters—the Percy Ronson Terrace for just over 800 standing fans, and a section of the impressive seated Parkside Stand.
Klopp is set to utilise another strong squad as players attempt to build fitness at this early stage.
The group could be strengthened further too, with Klopp potentially able to welcome more players to the fold.
Returning to Melwood after Copa America activity, Philippe Coutinho could make his first appearance of pre-season, while Mamadou Sakho could make a welcome comeback after being cleared of anti-drug charges on Friday.
New signing Marko Grujic, who was unable to play at Tranmere, could come in for his Reds bow and experienced goalkeeper Alex Manninger, who is training with Klopp’s squad ahead of a possible move, may also take part.
The likes of Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, Jon Flanagan, Lucas and Roberto Firmino will all feature again, while Andre Wisdom and Lazar Markovic will look to take advantage of another chance to impress Klopp.
Klopp is likely to include numerous youngsters again at Highbury and impressive duo Ovie Ejaria and Trent Alexander-Arnold will hope to be involved, alongside the likes of Ryan Kent, Cameron Brannagan and Pedro Chirivella.
Klopp could field separate teams in each half once again to allow as many of those involved as possible the chance for valuable minutes.
— Fleetwood Town FC (@ftfc) July 4, 2016
Reformed for a second time in 1997, Fleetwood are enjoying the most successful period in their history.
Driven by ambitious chairman Andy Pilley, the Cod Army have enjoyed a rapid rise to reach the third tier of the English game, claiming a remarkable six promotions in nine seasons.
The club are now operating at their highest-ever level in League One, where they have consolidated for two seasons, taking a breather from a blistering climb.
Former Scotland defender Steven Pressley is the man in charge, with the manager, like Klopp, preparing for his first full season at the helm having taken over in October.
Pressley will be looking to ensure it’s a more comfortable season having seen his side finish just two places above the relegation zone in 2015/16, and he has bolstered his ranks with nine additions in attempt to ensure that materialises.
No less than three goalkeepers have arrived at Highbury, in Matty Urwin, Chris Neal and Alex Cairns, while three defenders, Michael Duckworth, Cian Bolger and Ashley Eastham, have also joined the club.
Midfielder Elliot Osbourne has signed, as has winger Dion Charles, while striking options have been boosted by Ashley Nadesan’s arrival from non-league Horley Town—as Fleetwood search for another Jamie Vardy—as well as that of ex-Wycombe target man Aaron Holloway.
Fleetwood’s Northern Ireland Euro 2016 right-back Connor McLaughlin, brother of Liverpool’s recently released defender Ryan, could feature against the Reds, while former Liverpool youth-teamer and FA Youth Cup winner Jimmy Ryan could play against his old club.
Town captain Nathan Pond is the only player to remain from the first meeting between the clubs 13 years ago and he could lead his side out again.
Wednesday will see a second run-out for the Reds, but it will be Fleetwood’s first pre-season outing, having chosen to save themselves for the “blockbuster” friendly.
Tickets are now on general sale and can be purchased from Fleetwood’s ticket office, by calling 01253 775080 (Ext. 1), with prices ranging from £1 for under-5s to £23.50 for adults.
Furthermore, tickets can be purchased from Fleetwood’s online store here.
All of Liverpool’s pre-season games will be shown live on LFCTV, and you can follow This is Anfield’s live coverage throughout the night.