The lowdown on Liverpool’s four north-west pre-season opponents

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Liverpool’s busy pre-season campaign kicks off with four domestic fixtures against lower-league clubs around the north-west.

Jurgen Klopp won’t have his full squad available for the first few matches, with three games due to be played even before the World Cup final takes place.

Even so, a large group is available to the boss, including new signings who want to impress, youngsters hoping for a chance and a few who want to step up from last season’s disappointments.

So what will the Reds be up against in each game?

Here we detail what to look forward to against Chester, Tranmere Rovers, Bury and Blackburn Rovers over the next two weeks.

 

Chester, July 7

CHESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, April 3, 2017: Liverpool and Norwich City players stand for a minute's applause to remember former Liverpool player and coach Ronnie Moran before the Under-23 Premier League Cup Quarter-Final match at the Deva Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds’ first match is at Chester, a club formed in 2010 to replace the now-dissolved Chester City.

They play in the National League North, the sixth tier of English football’s pyramid, having been relegated from the National League last season.

Alex Bullions (@ABullionsSport) gives us the lowdown on the players and upcoming campaign.

Stadium: Deva Stadium, 5,300 capacity
Joint-Managers: Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley
Previous meetings: The Reds have never played Chester FC.

Liverpool did face Chester City competitively twice in the 1940s, and played them for the final time in a 2002 friendly, losing 1-0.

Key Player: “Scott Burton. A midfield general, he’s captain material at the club.

Moved with the joint-managers from Salford to Chester.”

Season Hopes: “The aims for this season have to be the play-offs.

“We’ve recently received a donation of £1m, although this will be spent on club infrastructure, with a small amount set aside, if need be, for the transfer fund.

“Hopefully this season will be a far cry from the last!”

 

Tranmere Rovers, July 11

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 12, 2017: A general view of Tranmere Rovers' Prenton Park stadium ahead of a preseason friendly match against Liverpool. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Birkenhead neighbours Tranmere will host the Reds on a Wednesday evening, right around the time two nations will come to a standstill with a World Cup semi-final being played.

Rovers will start the 2018/19 campaign as a Football League club for the first time in three years, having been promoted last term from the National League to League Two.

Player and season aim information comes via Tranmere fan and non-league football journalist Aidan Jones (@ajones_media).

Stadium: Prenton Park, 16,500 capacity
Manager: Micky Mellon
Previous meetings: There have been only four official matches between the teams, the most recent coming in the 2001 FA Cup, when the Reds won 4-2.

For the past two seasons, however, there have been summer friendlies. Liverpool won 4-0 last year with Milner, Grujic, Chirivella and Woodburn on the scoresheet.

Key Players: “It has to be James Norwood and Ollie Norburn, as they both link up well with each other and Norwood has an eye for goal.”

Season Hopes: “Keep up the momentum from the promotion last year and go again!

“It will be tough, but with three automatic promotion spaces plus the play-offs it gives us a very good chance of success, especially with the backing from the board the manager has.”

 

Bury, July 14

BURY, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 31, 2012: A general view of Gigg Lane before the Football League One match between Bury and Tranmere Rovers. (Pic by Vegard Grott/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s second weekend friendly of the summer comes at Bury.

The Shakers are coming to terms with being relegated from League One to League Two, having finished bottom of the third tier last term.

Views for the season ahead come from Bury fan and writer Rich Beedie (@richbeedie).

Stadium: Gigg Lane, 12,500 capacity
Manager: Ryan Lowe
Previous meetings: The two teams haven’t met in any competition or friendly since 1980, an FA Cup victory under Bob Paisley.

David Fairclough netted a brace off the bench that day to secure a 2-0 win.

Key Players: “Jermaine Beckford will be key, he was out most of last season and the feeling is had he stayed fit we might have had fighting chance to stay up.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 30, 2011: Everton's Jermaine Beckford in action against Birmingham City during a preseason friendly match at St Andrews. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The re-signed Nicky Adams may be key too; he has joined from Carlisle for what will be his third spell at the club, having originally come through Bury’s academy.”

Season Hopes: “Publicly, the talk will be of bouncing straight back up—but privately I think consolidation will be the name of the game.

“We spent big trying to get to the Championship last season and it backfired horribly.

“The board have already stated there will be a change of direction this year with many of our talented academy players to be given a chance.”

 

Blackburn Rovers, July 19

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 8, 2015: A general view of Blackburn Rovers' Ewood Park Stadium before the FA Cup 6th Round Quarter-Final Replay match against Liverpool. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Blackburn Rovers are a familiar name to all Premier League fans, but it’s been a while since they’ve been there.

The 1995 title-winners have been on a slow path down the league ladder, finally halted last year as they won promotion from League One back to the Championship.

Blackburn fan Ben (@wilko_brfc) gives us the lowdown on the key player and hopes for the season ahead.

Stadium: Ewood Park, 31,300 capacity
Manager: Tony Mowbray
Previous meetings: The Reds faced Blackburn as recently as 2015, with Rovers forcing an FA Cup replay after holding Brendan Rodgers’ side to a 0-0 draw at Anfield.

The Reds triumphed 1-0 in the replay thanks to Philippe Coutinho.

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 8, 2015: Blackburn Rovers supporters before the FA Cup 6th Round Quarter-Final Replay match against Liverpool at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Key Players: “The main cog in our machine is Bradley Dack. He made an instant impact last term and was vital in our mission to gain promotion.

“Another key player is the captain, Charlie Mulgrew. The centre-back is a born leader.”

Season Hopes: “Our key aim is to stay in the division after promotion.

“However, a mid-table finish would be a reasonable target as long as key players remain at the club.”

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