Liverpool’s pre-season steps up next week with two more friendly matches and Jurgen Klopp‘s squad should be boosted by four senior faces.
A real mix took part for the Reds’ first summer match, a 7-0 win over Chester FC on Saturday.
Seniors, non-internationals, youth players and fringe squad members back from loan spells all took part in the opening friendly.
As the summer goes on, though, competition for places will increase—and that will be the case over the next two games as Klopp looks to involve a quartet of senior players.
The Reds face Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday evening and Bury on Saturday afternoon, opponents both in League Two next term.
Neither are expected to play a part against Tranmere, though, with just one more full day of summer training available before that game.
Instead, it will be the Bury match where they both get their first taste of action, with Wijnaldum perhaps most keen to get involved given the increase in midfield competition this season.
The Tranmere game could see two other faces involved, however.
Joel Matip has been absent since March, having needed a thigh operation to cure an ongoing problem.
He has been in training since the rest of the squad returned, but will only resume full activities this coming week.
Given the length of time he has been absent for, he could also sit out one extra fixture while he rebuilds strength and fitness, though given the likely level of opponents, a late run-out may be a possibility.
One who should be involved in both games is Adam Lallana.
The midfielder missed the match at Chester through illness but is likely to return to action this week and play a part in both matches if he has fully recuperated.
After enduring an injury-plagued campaign last time around, forcing him to play a minimal role in Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final and miss the World Cup entirely, Lallana will be determined to play a more prominent part this coming season.
The imminent return to action of the quartet across the next week naturally means that other players will struggle to see as much game time or have the chance to impress.
Pedro Chirivella played centre-back against Chester but will now have two further seniors occupying that spot, as well as two more midfielders in his more natural central role.
Rafa Camacho, Ryan Kent or any of the four forwards who took part at Chester might also be indirectly affected by a reshuffling of positions or formations as Klopp seeks to give minutes to his returning senior players.