Liverpool’s pre-season is about to get underway and there is plenty we will be looking out for during the summer.
The Reds return to Melwood on Monday as they prepare for nine upcoming friendlies before the Premier League season begins.
Positivity should be in the air after such a memorable campaign last time around, despite the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.
New signings will be on show, youngsters will be looking to impress and others will also feel they can shine while those at the World Cup are still away.
Here are five things we would like to see from Liverpool in pre-season.
A Refreshed Karius
Loris Karius‘ season ended in the most heartbreaking fashion, with his two howlers essentially costing Liverpool the Champions League.
There were knee-jerk calls to sell him immediately while others have more understandably demanded an upgrade to be brought in.
It looks as though the German will definitely stay, but whether or not he starts the season as No. 1 could depend on his performances this summer.
Hopefully, the 25-year-old will return to Melwood in a refreshed state, having had a break to help get over his miserable night in Kyiv.
An early mistake in one of the first friendlies would feel a bit disastrous, only intensifying the need for a new first-choice ‘keeper.
Jurgen Klopp rates his compatriot, though, and hopefully that faith will pay off in the long run.
Joe Gomez at Centre-Back
Joe Gomez was born to be a centre-back, despite impressing as a right-back at times last season.
The 21-year-old should feature prominently in pre-season having recovered from ankle surgery, and Dejan Lovren‘s World Cup participation could allow him more time to shine centrally.
If reports are to be believed, Klopp is not interested on spending big on a centre-back in the transfer window—though Newcastle‘s Jamaal Lascelles has been linked—so is he considering using Gomez in that role from now on?
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Nathaniel Clyne are good right-back options, and given Gomez’s potential in his natural position it would be great to see him tested there.
He remains raw, but there is no reason why he cannot mature into a top-class centre-back—let’s not forget that he would have made England’s World Cup squad were it not for injury.
Keita & Fabinho Bossing the Midfield
Liverpool’s midfield was in need of an extra dimension ahead of next season, so the Reds moved swiftly and signed Naby Keita and Fabinho.
The brilliance that these two players possess cannot be underestimated and they have the ability to turn Liverpool into legitimate title challengers.
Seeing the pair dovetail in the middle of the park is going to be one of the most thrilling aspects of pre-season, starting with the clash with Chester on July 7.
They will take a while to get used to Klopp’s style and their new team-mates, but by the time the Reds’ Premier League opener against West Ham arrives they should be ready to explode.
Keita in particular is one of the most exciting purchases at Anfield in many years.
Woodburn & Wilson Looking Good
Ben Woodburn and Harry Wilson are two young players with so much ability, but their Liverpool futures appear uncertain.
Such is the depth that Klopp is building in his squad it is hard to see where much playing time will come from for the pair in 2018/19.
That being said, the Liverpool manager will pick players on merit rather than reputation, so a productive pre-season could make a huge difference.
Wilson looks the more likely of the two to be retained past the summer, following an impressive loan spell at Hull City between January and May.
Woodburn has gone backwards a little in the last 12 months and it may be that a temporary move elsewhere benefits him more.
The Welsh duo will get plenty of chances to prove their worth to Klopp, with key attackers not returning until later, following their World Cup commitments.
Origi Providing Food for Thought
This time two years ago it was easy to envisage Divock Origi being a 23-year-old starter for Liverpool tearing the Premier League up.
He has been a big disappointment since those heady days of late 2015/16, however, with a poor spell at Wolfsburg last season further clouding his future.
Origi will be part of pre-season and it acts as a last opportunity to show Klopp that he should be retained.
There are some who feel the Belgian still represents a better option than Dominic Solanke, with the young Englishman possibly benefiting from a loan move.
If Origi can come back and look the part, he might just about be able to sway Klopp’s thought process.