Liverpool begin pre-season with a short trip to Prenton Park as they take on Tranmere Rovers, with a host of youngsters and fringe figures getting a chance.
The Reds are back tonight as they travel to Birkenhead to kick off the first of seven friendlies ahead of 2019/20.
This is the third consecutive pre-season in which Liverpool have taken on Tranmere, with it proving a mutually beneficial fixture for the two clubs since Jurgen Klopp took over.
Less than two months on from the Champions League final, this is the first chance to see the European champions in action since that 2-0 victory in Madrid.
Expectations should be considerably lower, of course, with this marking a restart for Klopp’s side as they aim to challenge on seven fronts in the upcoming campaign.
So what can expect from Thursday night at Prenton Park?
It is set to be a mixed squad for this pre-season opener, with many of Klopp’s key players still on their post-season breaks or international duty.
One player who had not reported back even 24 hours before but is set to be involved is Simon Mignolet.
Among those are under-18s strikers Paul Glatzel and Bobby Duncan, whom Klopp has name-checked as likely to feature this summer, along with goalkeepers Vitezslav Jaros and Jakub Ojrzynski.
Likely Liverpool Squad vs. Tranmere
Goalkeepers: Mignolet, Jaros, Ojrzynski
Defenders: Matip, Gomez, Lovren, Van den Berg, Phillips, Johnston, Clyne, Hoever, Lewis, Arroyo, Larouci
Midfielders: Fabinho, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Jones, Woodburn, Ejaria
Forwards: Origi, Brewster, Glatzel, Duncan, Wilson, Kent
Tranmere head into pre-season on a high, after securing back-to-back promotions with victory in the League Two playoff final in May.
A 119th-minute goal from Connor Jennings secured a 1-0 victory over Newport County, which follows Rovers’ step up from the National League via the same route, 12 months previous.
Manager Micky Mellon has made seven signings so far this summer, as Calum Woods, George Ray, Darren Potter, Kieron Morris, Sid Nelson, Corey Blackett-Taylor and Stefan Payne all arrive on free transfers.
Ben Tollitt, Paddy Wharton, James Norwood, Cole Stockton, Steve McNulty and Jay Devine have all left, with silver-haired captain McNulty leaving with Mellon’s testimony that he “will go down as a Tranmere Rovers legend.”
McNulty came through the Liverpool academy, as did both Woods and Potter, with the latter making 17 appearances for the Reds under Rafa Benitez.
Norwood’s departure leaves a big void in attack, after he scored 32 goals in 2018/19, and Mellon will be hoping Jennings can make more of a mark after 13 of his own last time out.
Home to not just Tranmere but also the Liverpool FC Women and under-23s, Prenton Park is a 16,587-capacity stadium in Birkenhead with its own Kop end.
Tickets for this pre-season opener are sold out, ensuring a strong atmosphere for Liverpool’s first test of the summer.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Klopp described the game as the ‘John Achterberg Trophy’, and highlighted the opportunity with “a lot of kids” set to play:
“Tranmere we always follow a little bit, our U23s play there most of the time.
“We call it every time we play this game the ‘John Achterberg Trophy’!
“We are only five days in training, intense sessions, a lot of players are not here. A lot of kids will be involved, that’s clear.
“How it always is, it’s not about the result but it’s about the performance and all the boys starting or coming on on Thursday will wear a Liverpool shirt and they have to behave like that.
‘They have to do the things we want them to do because that’s part of our DNA.”
Liverpool’s pre-season opener will be shown live on LFCTV and LFCTV Go, with coverage beginning at 6.45pm and kickoff at 7.30pm (BST).
This Is Anfield’s Joanna Durkan will be providing coverage throughout the evening in our matchday liveblog, as we take a lighthearted look at a first exercise of the summer.
Stay tuned to This Is Anfield on Thursday for team news, updates and more ahead of kickoff.