Liverpool start their US pre-season tour against Borussia Dortmund in South Bend, where a host of senior faces are expected to make their return to the team.
The Reds’ pre-season has started on a winning note, having emerged as victors against both Tranmere and Bradford in the first two of seven scheduled friendlies this summer.
Jurgen Klopp’s side travelled to the United States midweek, where a meeting with his former side Borussia Dortmund now awaits for the second successive summer.
The fixture marks a step-up in preparations for the 2019/20 season and while the club’s young players will again be relied upon, there is an expectation that a host senior faces will feature for the first time this summer.
It’s an evening kickoff across the Atlantic on July 19, meaning those watching on in the UK will need to rise early on Saturday or power through the night to see Liverpool in action.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Reds’ first summer outing Stateside.
Liverpool named a 28-man squad for their three-stop tour of America which included an abundance of youth, who have made the most of their chance to impress so far, and a plethora of regular first-team members.
With the Reds’ pre-season still in the early stages, Klopp will be expected to field two different starting XIs against Dortmund as he continues to push his players towards full match fitness.
The quartet of Virgil van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold could all be handed their first appearance this summer after returning to Melwood last Saturday, while Andy Robertson could be held back after a minor procedure on his hand.
Their presence will significantly boost the number of senior faces in the team as they join James Milner, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Divock Origi.
Despite conflicting reports over his future at Anfield, Simon Mignolet will likely play the majority of the game after a spate of injuries to the goalkeeping ranks has left Klopp with only two youngsters, Daniel Atherton and Jakub Ojrzynski, as alternatives.
With the manager having voiced his desire for the team to “get a bit of rhythm” prior to the clash against Bradford, Rhian Brewster, Ryan Kent and Harry Wilson could all be fielded together once again as attacking stocks remain low.
Across the defensive line, Sepp van den Berg is again unlikely to make his debut having missed the first two games after failing to receive international clearance, while Adam Lewis and Yasser Larouci could see their contest for the left-back role continue should Robertson fail to play.
Likely Liverpool Squad vs. Dortmund
Goalkeepers: Mignolet, Atherton
Defenders: Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Phillips, Hoever, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Lewis, Larouci, Clyne
Midfielders: Henderson, Milner, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Woodburn, Jones
Forwards: Origi, Brewster, Duncan, Wilson, Kent
Borussia Dortmund kickstarted their pre-season off the back of a campaign which saw them come within two points of ending Bayern Munich’s stranglehold on the Bundesliga title.
The German outfit, led by Lucien Favre, failed to be defeated in their opening 15 league games of the 2018/19 season which saw them take top spot over Christmas for the first time in nine years, when Klopp was the man in charge.
Their season started to unravel in the later stages, however, as their inexperience started to show, paving the way for the Bavarian giants to power to the finish line.
Dortmund will be expected to be in the title race once more next season as they possess a squad littered with talent, both young and experienced.
While Christian Pulisic traded the Westfalenstadion for Stamford Bridge this summer, they have wasted little time in adding to their ranks as the likes of Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt, Nico Shulz and Mats Hummels have all made the move.
Favre favours the 4-2-3-1 formation and Marco Reus is the man to look out for, should he feature, having notched 21 goals and set up a further 13 in 36 appearances last term.
Jadon Sancho was also a key player who enjoyed a breakout campaign and he has already scored in pre-season for BVB.
Notre Dame Stadium
It will be a momentous occasion for the home of NCAA American football team Notre Dame Fighting Irish, as it will be the first time the stadium has hosted a football game in its 88-year history.
The Fighting Irish’s record at home last season was impressive, they won all six of their games at the 77,622-capacity stadium which usually sees its athletes ply their trade on an artificial surface.
But special arrangements have been made to install natural grass for the occasion – which will come as welcome news for both sides.
This is the second stadium to host a pre-season fixture between Liverpool and Dortmund in as many years, with the Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina having hosted the game which saw the German side emerge as 3-1 victors last year.
It will no doubt prove to be a memorable occasion for all involved as the Reds and Dortmund make history at one of the top sporting venues in America.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp was eager for the Reds’ first stern test of the summer and revealed that the youngsters will again take centre-stage as a number of senior players continue to work their way back:
“Excited about having the first proper test. A couple of boys came late and we have to see see how we use them tomorrow so it will probably be a rather young team facing a very good team.
“Let’s guess Borussia Dortmund change the 60-30 rhythm for the players then pretty much all the big guns will start tomorrow and that’ll be a tough game.
“But of course as always in football – even in a pre-season game, you play it and want to win it.
“Last year we tried the same, didn’t work out. It didn’t have a massive influence, but it is a pre-season game and you can learn, sometimes, more from a defeat.
“Nothing I’m really worried about but a few things to think about.”
The Reds’ first outing in the United States will be shown live on LFCTV and LFCTV Go, and coverage from Notre Dame Stadium will commence early on Saturday morning at 12.15am (BST) with kickoff following at 1.05am.
This Is Anfield’s Jack Lusby will be providing live updates in our matchday blog, and we are likely to see more senior figures take their place as Liverpool continue to build up to their season opener against Norwich in just over three weeks’ time.
Be sure to stay tuned to This Is Anfield on Friday for all the latest updates and team news prior to kickoff, with reports and analysis of the fixture to come following the final whistle.