While things are to look a little different than usual, there is still plenty to look forward to throughout Liverpool’s pre-season preparations.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side are back on the training pitches after spending just under three weeks away from the grind, starting their summer training programme in picturesque Austria.
The squad descended on the town of Saalfelden on Saturday after they had to swiftly alter their plans of heading to Evian following the UK government’s decision to add France to the list of countries requiring a 14-day isolation period.
With a condensed schedule between seasons and travel restrictions ensuring there is to be no regular tour commitments, this pre-season will shape up as significantly different from previous years.
While no behind-closed-door friendlies have been announced, Liverpool will contest the Community Shield at the end of the month.
And without further ado, here are five things we are excited to see from the Reds in pre-season.
Early Signs from the Newest Signing
Kostas Tsimikas was a flash signing for Liverpool after they swiftly moved on from Norwich‘s Jamal Lewis, putting pen to paper on the move on Monday and arriving for training on Saturday.
Cover in the left-back position had to be a priority this summer despite Andy Robertson‘s incredible levels of consistency, and the 24-year-old arrives with experience and the required attacking flair.
And it was a welcome sight to see the former Olympiakos man buddy up with Mohamed Salah early doors, as it is never easy to settle into a new team and environment.
While we will be restricted in terms of seeing him play throughout the summer, seeing him settle into life at Liverpool and working alongside Andy Robertson and Co. will be invaluable as he is likely set for a bedding-in period like most new signings.
But with four competitions lined up for next season, we are likely to see Tsimikas feature relatively regularly as games are set to come on an every of every three to four days.
Brewster to Stake his Claim
The 19-year-old duly impressed on loan with Swansea in the second half of last season, netting 11 goals in 22 appearances, where he eagerly showed off his range of finishing.
He has an endless amount of potential and has already vowed to fight for a spot in Liverpool’s team next season by first catching the eye in Austria.
Brewster has the opportunity to move ahead of Divock Origi in the pecking order having already exhibited the qualities required of a forward in Liverpool’s system, but the question will remain if he is capable of translating his success in the Championship to the Premier League.
And that is the question we hope to see answered throughout pre-season, where game time against Arsenal in the Community Shield, the only fixture confirmed this summer so far, could prove decisive.
He has a lot of supporters in his corner and with his ability in addition to the level of confidence in himself, it would be hard to knock his chances. This could be just the start for the teenager ahead of 2020/21.
A Few Surprises
The signing of Tsimikas was one which came from left-field and one or two more of them would certainly be welcome, including the name on everyone’s lips: Thiago.
The Bayern midfielder would be a quality addition to the side and while not in line with FSG’s famed transfer policy, the Reds are in unchartered waters as league champions and his addition would no doubt boost our chances of keeping hold of the trophy.
A centre-back and potentially another forward could pop up if there is a deal to be had, but this summer it will be interesting to keep an eye on a number of youngsters who could pop up.
In recent years, Brewster, Ki-Jana Hoever, Yasser Larouci, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones have caught the eye throughout the summer, with there usually a surprise name which crops up.
And it could be one of the likes of Leighton Clarkson, Jake Cain and Paul Glatzel with the Reds having voiced the need to “create our transfers internally.”
Either way, it will be interesting to see what the Reds and Klopp have up their sleeve for the summer and beyond.
Henderson’s Return to Fitness
The skipper sustained a knee injury against Brighton which ruled him out of the final four games of the season, but there were never fears it would disrupt his start to the new campaign.
He was, of course, still able to do the ‘Henderson Shuffle’ for the Premier League trophy lift and with almost six weeks having passed by since the point of injury, any and all sight of Henderson throughout the summer will be welcome.
There will be no rushing his return after coming out of an intense season and with another on the horizon, but his presence is vitally important to the side.
While there were other factors in play, the Reds dropped more points (8) in the eight league games Henderson missed throughout last season than in the 30 he featured in (7).
Early Piece of Silverware
It is by no means a major piece of silverware, let’s get that out of the way first.
However, it is always welcome to start a season with a shiny trophy, or in this case an overly sized shield.
Depending on which side of the result you find your team on it can be a glorified pre-season friendly which has absolutely no ramifications or it acts the ideal start to another season.
The latter would be preferred in this case, as would using the occasion to hand more game time to the likes of Jones, Elliott, Brewster and Tsimikas, or any other potential new signing.
It will take place on August 29, only a handful of days before international players depart prior to the new campaign and behind-closed-doors as it will no longer be used as a test event.