Liverpool round off their four-game run of domestic friendlies by taking on Championship side Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Thursday night.
Blackburn Rovers vs. Liverpool
Thursday, July 19, 2018 – 7.45pm (BST)
Pre-Season Friendly (4)
The Reds’ preparation continues as they make another short trip to lower-league opposition, looking to improve on a 0-0 draw at Bury last time out.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side struggled for fluency at Gigg Lane, but with six more friendlies to play and a host of key names missing the manager won’t be concerned.
Fitness and chemistry within the Liverpool squad is the key issue in the opening weeks of pre-season, and a meeting with Tony Mowbray’s Rovers will provide another test.
With places on the plane to North Carolina up for grabs, this midweek fixture could see some of Klopp’s fringe figures stepping up to fight for their future.
Here’s all you need to know about Liverpool’s final pre-season clash before their US tour.
Klopp will continue his rotational approach throughout the game, but the manager has an interesting decision to make between the sticks.
With Alisson yet to complete his world-record move to Anfield and Danny Ward omitted due to talks with Leicester City, Klopp is likely to start Loris Karius.
But a lack of other options could see one of Kamil Grabara or Caoimhin Kelleher given an opportunity to stake a claim as potential third choice for the upcoming campaign.
The Reds are still without both Georginio Wijnaldum and Danny Ings, with the pair missing team training on Tuesday due to fitness issues.
Wijnaldum has been passed fit to begin outside work, however, and could make his first appearance on the tour of the United States later this month.
Harry Wilson is the other absentee, having joined Derby County on a season-long loan, but fellow youngsters such as Nathaniel Phillips, Rafa Camacho, Curtis Jones and Ben Woodburn should be involved.
Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip are both training as usual after starting at Gigg Lane, while Daniel Sturridge is also fit after a minor concern ahead of that draw.
Previously a staple of the Premier League, Blackburn’s relegation in 2012 has been followed by six seasons in obscurity—including a sole campaign in League One last time out.
Promotion back to the second tier has revived hopes in Lancashire, however, and under former West Brom, Celtic and Middlesbrough manager Mowbray their fortunes are vastly improved.
Rovers have struggled so far in the transfer market, however, with Mowbray admitting the World Cup has limited their ability to loan youngsters from Premier League sides.
But the likes of Charlie Mulgrew, Elliott Bennett and Craig Conway all featured in their 1-1 draw with Port Vale last time out, and David Raya and Danny Graham are both returning from injury.
The desire to impress their manager in the absence of new arrivals could see an invigorated Blackburn take to the field on Thursday, and Liverpool can expect stubborn opposition again.
Where is it? Nuttall Street, Blackburn, BB2 4JF
Liverpool are no strangers to Ewood Park, having visited Rovers’ historic ground on 74 occasions for competitive games, though their last trip came in 2015.
That saw Philippe Coutinho‘s solitary strike decide an FA Cup sixth-round replay, with only Alberto Moreno and Daniel Sturridge likely to feature again from Brendan Rodgers’ side that evening.
Rovers’ record at home last season brought 17 wins, seven draws and five losses, with Mowbray’s side undefeated in their final 11 games at Ewood in 2017/18.
TV & Live Blog Info
Blackburn Rovers vs. Liverpool will be broadcast live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO, with coverage getting underway at 6.45pm (BST) and kickoff an hour later at 7.45pm.
Chris Williams will be running the This is Anfield live blog, with all the latest from Ewood Park including team news, goals, opinion and analysis.